History and progress intertwine for MyCarle devotee

Susan Houseworth uses MyCarle to help with her father's healthcareSusan Houseworth remembers playing on Linview Drive with other Carle doctors’ kids, trips with Carle families to Wisconsin and Colorado, and Christmas parties where every child in every Carle family received gifts from Santa.

Her father, Dr. John H. Houseworth, was Carle’s 33rd physician when the pulmonologist joined the practice in 1954. (Dr. Houseworth passed away May 31, 2017, several months after this story initially published.)

Today, a caregiver pioneer in a new era, Susan applauds the MyCarle online patient portal and the new outpatient palliative care program as she helps care for the generous and beloved doctor, now age 98.

“Wherever I am, I can check his upcoming appointments and coordinate his schedule. I can check his lab results and share them with his homecare nurse,” Susan said.

“Carle certainly has changed. It’s grown so much.”

Today, about 42 percent of Carle patients use MyCarle. To reach 50 percent by year’s end and then reach the goal of 65 percent or more by July 2017, Carle frontline staff—at outpatient locations and by phone at the Patient Care Contact Center—make sure people know the benefits of what many call an indispensable tool in today’s busy world.

“No matter how patients access our care, we know many have a lot going on in that moment. They are dealing with a flood of information coming at them, and oftentimes they don't want to be asked to sign up for something new,” said Jason Hirschi, Carle administrative fellow focused on MyCarle as a project.

“Our goal is to break through the impression of MyCarle just being another username and password to remember and show them the benefit of enrolling.”

Susan especially appreciates being able to keep track of her father’s prescriptions.

“He has so many medications, and he has for many years,” she said. “He has had lots of acute problems over the years, but he has always bounced back.”

Dr. John Houseworth plays bridge with his daughter and friendsIn fact, about a year ago, Dr. Houseworth’s health declined quickly, but he didn’t qualify for hospice care. That’s when Susan learned about palliative care, which focuses on improving patients’ quality of life with special attention to physical, social and spiritual problems related to serious but not fatal conditions.

“From that moment on, we saw improvement,” Susan said explaining how much she values Dr.
April Yasunaga coming to her father’s home.

“It’s a Godsend, especially this time of year when taking him out can be dangerous and difficult,” Susan said.

“She has been so attentive and responsive to all of our needs, and she is always incredibly respectful to my dad.”

Susan, who works in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois, knows her father’s healthy habits contributed to his long life. He often walked to work through Crystal Lake Park and was an avid golfer.

Susan also helped manage her mother’s care until Barbara Houseworth passed away in January 2015. Active in Carle’s Auxiliary, Barbara—“known for keeping way too many used books”—spearheaded used book sales for decades to support University of Illinois medical student’s emergency needs.

Susan and Dr. Houseworth’s regular bridge game with Dr. Henry Wolfe, who joined Carle in 1956, brings back other memories.

“Our Carle family was so important. We loved the friendships and the feeling of being a part of the whole organization. We had summer picnics and the annual Christmas parties, and everyone attended. The doctors did skits,” recalled Susan, who loved going on early-morning rounds with her father, and recalls how during those simpler times he always made it home for dinner.

“There were always kids running everywhere around the neighborhood. It was wonderful.”

If you have not done so, please sign up for MyCarle today. And for information about using MyCarle to help manage someone else’s healthcare, please speak with your provider at your next visit.