Dr. Jillian Scherer recently opened Whole Family Health Medical Clinic in Olney. She is dedicated to bringing the ways of old family medicine back to the southern Illinois.
Scherer grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and knew she wanted to be a doctor by the age of ten.
She said, “It was when my grandmother was in car accident. My mother was a nurse. I assisted her in providing care to grandma. I knew then that I wanted to be a doctor.”
Scherer attend Medical School at Loyola University in Chicago.
“I realized during med school that I loved pediatrics and obstetrics, and I loved the older population. I enjoyed taking care of a variety. With family medicine, I get the best of all worlds,” she said.
During medical school, Scherer met her husband, Mark Scherer of Olney.
“He knew he wanted to go back to live somewhere rural,” Scherer said.
Coincidentally, the couple found job opportunities in Richland County, Wisconsin before moving back to Richland County, Illinois.
In Wisconsin, Scherer worked in a traditional family medicine.
She saw 20 - 24 patients per day and spent two hours each day charting or doing paper work. The doctor was dissatisfied by the short amount of time she got to spend with her 2,100 patients.
The national average for doctors’ time spent with patients in a traditional medical setting is seven to ten minutes.
Scherer said, “How well can you take care of patients with diabetes and heart disease in seven to ten minutes? I didn’t get to ask how their disease affects them, how their medicines affect them, what’s going on in their lives that could be influencing their health. It didn’t really feel enjoyable or like I was taking care of people the way I knew I wanted to when I was ten.”
The doctor began looking for other ways to practice medicine. She discovered that some of her classmates found their love for medicine by working in direct primary care (DPC).
DPC is a type of primary care billing and payment arrangement made between patients and providers, without sending claims to insurance providers. Eliminating the need for insurance billing, primary health care can be offered directly to the patient at a much lower cost.
Scherer said, “My classmates talked about how they could spend sixty minutes with patients and see between six and eight patients a day. They had time to care, reach out by phone, email, text messaging and take really good care of patients.”
The doctor learned that instead of spending a short amount of time with 2,100 patients, she could care for six hundred patients through DPC and really get to know them. Scherer decided it was time to make a change in her career.
The DPC model appealed to Scherer who longed for the time availability to learn what was going on in the lives of her patients. She wanted to be in the know when life circumstances were causing unhealthful stress or medical non-compliance.
Scherer said, “DPC is also called relational medicine, meaning you have a relationship with that patient. I have time to find out that your mom is sick and your kid is in trouble.”
“I can follow-up to find out how medications are going. It really becomes finding out about people, what’s going on in their lives, how are you managing stress, how are you sleeping, and how to keep healthy people healthy.”
The doctor was also motivated to move to the DPC model for her own health and well-being. While working in traditional medicine, the time constraints were so great that making time for self-care was difficult. Scherer wanted to practice what she preaches in terms of living a healthy and balanced life. She knew it was time to make a change.
She said, “I was stressed out from the demands of the job. I had to have treadmill desk to get exercise in while working.”
She and Mark began searching for a new clinic location with the goal of locating near family.
On May 1, Scherer opened Whole Family Health, a DPC practice located in Olney. The doctor is accepting patients from throughout the region.
With the DPC model, patients pay a low monthly membership fee and receive all primary care and preventative services under that fee. There are no additional costs for additional doctor visits and most medications and blood work are available for less than $5.
Scherer says she is excited to bring old family medicine back to the area. She is hoping to deliver babies and care for them throughout life.
She said, “As a family physician you get to be part of their family. I will go to baptisms and 95th birthday parties. I’m there for good times and a lot of bad times.”
The tagline for Whole Family Medicine Health is “one doctor for your whole family.” Scherer has provided medical care for up to four generations at a time.
Caring for fewer patients provides the doctor with an opportunity to live a healthy and balanced life. The demands are high as she and Mark are parents to a five-year-old child and a ten-month-old infant.
The couple work together as a team to ensure they eat home cooked meals, exercise on their bikes, and go to bed at a set time.
Scherer said, “Sometimes patient calls can interrupt sleep, but not often.”
The doctor also sets aside time to quiet her mind each day to promote inner peace and balance. She is teaching her five-year-old son Daniel the importance of quieting the mind and taking deep breaths.
Scherer is easily adjusting to life in rural Illinois.
“As a physician, I like going out and seeing patients at the soccer game and seeing them at Wal-Mart and saying hi. I can live anywhere and be happy because I’ll make it my home no matter where I’m at.”
Whole Family Health Medical Clinic is accepting new patients and is located at 131 S Boone Street in Olney, IL.