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The idea of putting the doctor-patient relationship at the forefront of primary care medicine continues to be the focus at MDVIP, a national network of primary care physicians. Founded in 2000, MDVIP’s mission is to help primary care physicians “provide life-changing personalized preventive care so members can lead healthier and more vibrant lives.” With more than 1,000 primary care physicians across the country, MDVIP believes that “doctors should have time to get to know patients beyond their symptoms” and that “appointments should not come with time limits.”
This style of medicine was of particular interest to local physician Dr. Lara Hitchcock, head of Hitchcock Health Institute in Dr. Phillips. After spending more than two decades as a family medicine specialist in the area, she made the decision to transition her traditional practice to the MDVIP model in 2018, which has allowed her to offer a more proactive and individualized approach to patient care.
“It became apparent to me that in order to continue to focus on my patients beyond their immediate needs in a more intimate setting, I was going to always run behind the benchmark of seeing patients quickly,” Dr. Hitchcock says. “I became a family physician to have the ability to help patients with many of their problems, as well as to get to know them personally, and I found that a 10-15 minute appointment did not allow me to use my skills, much less focus on prevention as much as I would have liked.
“What I have noticed since becoming an MDVIP-affiliated physician, is that I am able to spend as much time with patients as needed for any of their needs—big and small—and offer advanced testing and regimens that are not available in traditional medical care,” she adds. “The resources and tools available to me as an MDVIP affiliate include being able to identify risk factors early, obtain in-depth test results leading to more knowledgeable conversations with specialists, as well as assistance with referrals to top medical institutions throughout the country for second opinions, specialized care and treatment that may not be available locally.”
As a leader in her field, Dr. Hitchcock also has many outstanding credentials to her name, including having achieved a fellowship in family medicine and being board certified by the American Board of Family Practice since 2001. She has completed the BaleDoneen preceptorship and is certified to assist patients in trying to avoid a number of serious health conditions. What’s more, as an Associate Professor of Medicine, Dr. Hitchcock teaches students at Orlando’s regional campus of the Florida State University College of Medicine.
It’s the culmination of a love affair with medicine Dr. Hitchcock first discovered as a teenager. “I found that I loved anatomy when I had the opportunity to do dissections in high school, and I also really enjoyed my interactions with my own family physician at the time. I thought it would be amazing to be in a profession where I could combine science with being able to help people.”
Now, as the head of her own practice, Dr. Hitchcock is proud to serve the community she calls home. In her personalized primary care practice, she offers the MDVIP Wellness Program Plus. As part of this program, advanced screenings and tests are performed, including lab draws in the office that are sent to Cleveland HeartLab to assess risk of stroke, heart attack, dementia and other conditions far earlier than would be possible through a standard insurance-covered physical.
“These are tests that are available and proven to make a difference in finding conditions early and potentially saving lives, but unfortunately, the delay in these tests being adopted by mainstream medicine is oftentimes substantial and a number of years away,” she says.
Because Dr. Hitchcock believes that all patients deserve a physician partner who has the time and resources to support their individual needs and goals, members in her practice also enjoy conveniences not typically available in most practices, such as unhurried visits, same- or next-days appointments and the ability to contact her 24/7. In addition to the unique services included in the MDVIP Wellness Program Plus, Hitchcock Health Institute also offers other services that include genetic testing for cancer, food-sensitivity analysis, weight-loss evaluation and aesthetic services, like Botox and skin tightening procedures.
And the doctor is quick to credit her highly skilled and dedicated staff with helping her create a welcoming environment that reinforces the practice’s patient-first approach.
“My team at Hitchcock Health Institute is second to none. Their dedication to patient care is something that is not typical in other medical offices. My staff members are smart, extremely competent and professional, and also very caring and compassionate. They are committed to making a difference in our patients’ health and lives,” Dr. Hitchcock says.
Being able to care for patients not only physically, but also emotionally is one of the more rewarding aspects of the profession for Dr. Hitchcock, and something she doesn’t take for granted.
“On a daily basis, I find it so incredible that I have the honor of caring for people with the time we need and the ever-expanding medical knowledge that one has as a physician in this day and age.”
Hitchcock Health Institute
7932 W. Sand Lake Road, Suite 201
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