Where Ladies Come First

When it comes to healthcare, women often think about themselves last. Knowing this, Inova Medical Group recently opened the Inova Women’s Comprehensive Health Center in Tysons Corner, a health-focused multidisciplinary primary care practice.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for women to get checkups, annual screenings and everything else they need,” says Stephanie Akbari, MD, breast surgeon at the center.

Patients at the center can have most of their healthcare needs met in this one location. The center includes primary care physicians as well as specialists in gynecology, cardiology, breast care and bone health.

Not only is having primary care physicians and specialists all in one building convenient for patients, but it also offers doctors the opportunity to provide coordinated care and to collaborate on patients’ diagnosis, as well as discuss possible treatments. “The collaboration is really central to what we do,” says Eileen West, MD, primary care physician at the new center. “It makes it fun to go to work because two heads are better than one, and when you have people from different specialties, you can tackle a problem from multiple angles.”

Patricia Bannon, MD, OB-GYN at the new center, agreed, explaining how the coordinated care approach makes the patient experience better. “The environment [of collaboration in the new center] enhances patient care,” she says. “For example, if I see a woman for an annual exam and there is a breast tissue issue, I can streamline getting her into the breast care office. From the patient’s perspective, it’s ideal.”

Female-focused care is also part of the changing landscape of healthcare. For years, doctors made assumptions about women’s health based on studies of men. Kelly Epps, MD, cardiologist at the Inova Women’s Comprehensive Health Center, explains that this is particularly true when looking at cardiovascular health.

“One of the things that’s important for our cardiovascular program is managing a woman’s unique cardiovascular risks,” says Dr. Epps. “Women have unique risks that are based specifically on female conditions: some are related to pregnancy (such as eclampsia), history of breast cancer or treatment for breast cancer. These are risk factors that could cause cardiovascular problems down the line. We want a program where we can work with these patients on prevention, before they get these issues.”

Learn more about the Inova Women’s Comprehensive Health Center at inova.org/healthywoman.

Leave a Comment