Only one year after opening the doors to her medical practice Advanced Health and Wellbeing, Dr. Margarita Ochoa-Maya found herself featured in New Hampshire Magazine as a readers’ choice in the publication’s Top Doctors of 2011 survey.
For Dr. Ochoa-Maya, who prides herself on fostering open, healthy doctor-patient relationships, being recognized by her patients was a humbling honor.
“It was a present they gave to me,” she said.
As an endocrinologist, Dr. Ochoa-Maya treats patients suffering from chronic endocrine disorders including diabetes, hormone imbalances, and thyroid disease. But at Advanced Health and Wellbeing in Manchester, N.H., the treatment doesn’t end at the diagnosis. Instead, Dr. Ochoa-Maya’s combination of traditional values with a contemporary approach allows her to discover the problem and then converse with her patients during hour-long appointments to identify lifestyle modifications that will assist with prevention.
“Medical treatment must be accompanied by behavioral change,” she said. If a person is diagnosed with high cholesterol for instance, he/she should not only depend on pharmaceuticals, but also should consult a nutritionist to work toward diet and exercise modifications, Dr. Ochoa-Maya explained.
In this way, Dr. Ochoa-Maya, who has been practicing medicine for 11 years, operates on the idea of treating the whole person, not just the illness. Conversing with her patients to help them understand the reasons behind the need for behavioral change, as opposed to simply telling them what to do, motivates them to actually make the change, she said.
Witnessing her patient communication and education efforts engage her clients is quite fulfilling for Dr. Ochoa-Maya. In fact, this collaborative relationship is what she enjoys most about her job.
“How to bring back that doctor-patient relationship is a challenge for most. I feel blessed to have it,” she said. “My patients are like my family, and I kind of feel like I’m part of their family too.”
Even after her patients leave the office, the lines of communication remain open with Dr. Ochoa-Maya. Her blog, Freedom to Heal, functions as a resource that her patients can access for articles about hormones and various health issues that may generate questions for them to review with Dr. Ochoa-Maya at their next visit.
Along with her blog, Dr. Ochoa-Maya also offers patients an online service called the “Patient Portal,” which allows them to ask questions and receive medical advice, request appointments and prescription renewals, assess their symptoms, pay their bills, and view a history of their previous visits online.
“It allows the patient to have a little more freedom and stay connected to the doctor,” Dr. Ochoa-Maya said.
With its innovative online services, Advanced Health and Wellbeing may be exactly what its name suggests now – advanced. But getting her own practice up and running was initially an unnerving experience for Dr. Ochoa-Maya.
“It takes a lot of courage to start a business in today’s society,” she said.
Not only did it take courage to start her practice, but Dr. Ochoa-Maya also needed various types of insurance before Advanced Health and Wellbeing could open its doors, so she turned to her insurance agent, Eaton & Berube’s David Stowe, for help securing the coverage she required.
“Mr. [David] Stowe is of extraordinary professionalism and knowledge,” she said. “I had no idea where to begin…It’s a complicated process and subject. He made it easy to understand, easy to grasp, and was just very easy to talk to. He pretty much grabbed my office and just made it legal,” she added, referring to the medical professional liability insurance, business owner’s policy, and workers’ compensation coverage he helped her procure.
Now that her practice is open and operating smoothly, running Advanced Health and Wellbeing may be Dr. Ochoa-Maya’s title on paper, but it is not her only occupation.
“I have a second job,” she said. “Family life is very important to me. Sometimes I call it my first job.”
Aside from caring for patients and spending time with her family, Dr. Ochoa-Maya enjoys blogging and public speaking, taking advantage of every opportunity she receives to give a lecture.
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