Tag Archives: efficiency

Vantage Point: Change is Good

Technology has changed so much, even in the last decade. Sometimes it’s so much change it can be hard to keep up. It can be a love-hate relationship.

Sometimes the computer might not move as fast as we would like, but on the other hand, we now have the capability to see loved ones who are far away. Technology has also advanced so much when it comes to the medical field, which has helped us when it comes to communication with our provider’s office.

Thanks to this ever-changing technology, we can now reach out to our doctor’s office even before we step out of our home. So many different providers’ offices have programs available to reach out to them directly from the comfort of your home, using a computer or phone app. Thanks to this, we can schedule our appointments online and even ask questions to our doctor directly.

Also, when it comes to finding out test results, this is so much quicker than impatiently waiting for the phone or a letter in the mail. Now we can all log in, check our results, and see what is going on, sometimes within a couple of hours.

Not only do you have direct communication with your provider, but you can also see all of your history. You are able to see your past visits, scheduled appointments, billing balances, and more.

As change comes around, we as a society can get uncomfortable. However, having access to our own medical information, as well as our provider, can give us peace of mind. We can all reach out without hesitation. If we happen to forget when our next appointment is, it’s as easy as logging on and making sure we have the right date down. There is no need to sit on hold just to clarify your appointment.

Check with your current provider’s office to see if they have online access for you to stay up to date with all of your healthcare needs.


Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.

Sleep for the Whole Family

Long View: Take Time to Rest Easy, Don’t Skip Sleep

I know we all think about ways to carve out more time in our busy lives, and I’m sure we’d all like to be more efficient. Sometimes I think getting by on less sleep is the way to go, but after looking into it, there are some problems with that solution.

There are lots of reasons you might not get enough sleep—illness, stress, family commitments, and job issues. Bad sleep habits, like irregular schedules and eating too much before bed, can lead to insomnia whether or not you’re actually trying to skip sleep. The causes of a bad night’s sleep seem endless, and so do the effects. But your primary care doctor can get you started on the right path to better sleep.

I can’t close my eyes to the fact that my sleep habits aren’t always the best, but I try to maintain a regular schedule. Typically, I read a few pages from a book with a serene topic before I drift off. For a while, I was concerned about afternoon drowsiness until I was able to tie the symptoms to carb loading at lunch. I also took a medicine that had vivid dreams as a possible side effect. My dreams are vivid enough as is. The medicine made them unbearable, so my doctor and I decided we would take another path.

My friend Karen Stefaniak is our wellness program administrator here at Health Alliance. She shared her knowledge on sleep.

“Recent studies are linking reduced sleep duration—five hours or less—to weight gain,” Stefaniak says. “Not getting enough sleep affects the two hormones that tell us when to eat and when to stop eating. People who are sleep-deprived produce more ghrelin, the hormone that tells us when to eat, and less leptin, the hormone that tells us when to stop. Plus, when we don’t get enough sleep, our metabolism slows down, and we tend to crave high-carbohydrate foods that provide a quick energy boost.”

So are we actually helping ourselves at all by sleeping less? Probably not. It lowers our waking quality of life and increases our risk for accidents, and it even makes us want to eat more. I think I need to consider a good night’s sleep a necessity rather than a luxury. You can rest easy knowing I will pay more attention to my sleep habits going forward.


Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.