At Desert Edge Medical, they know that primary care doctors who understand your whole health are invaluable

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Having a primary care physician who knows your lifestyle, individual needs and complete health history can be invaluable. It can be especially important when it comes to understanding the risks for preventing disease.

Dr. Kody Nilsson of Desert Edge Medical told St. George News that the ultimate worth of a family primary care doctor is to oversee all of the patient’s care, and having one you trust and can count on at any time is the best way to safeguard against illnesses.

A lot of people go to health care providers for specific reasons – to get their Ambien refilled, have a mammogram, monitor their blood pressure – but most interactions are short and only focus on the problem of the day. However, primary care doctors track a patient’s complete health over time, prevent minor issues from becoming major problems and build relationships with their patients that last long after they leave the office.

“I practice medicine because I actually care about helping people,” Nilsson said. “I’m not doing it for the paycheck. I do this because I enjoy getting to know people, and I enjoy helping them.”

Nilsson is the newest physician to join the team at Desert Edge Medical. He is a native of Monroe who was board-certified in family medicine at the University of Wyoming. He returned to Utah and joined the clinic in August 2019 and is currently accepting new patients of all ages.

Nilsson said what makes their office at Desert Edge Medical special is that it’s an independent clinic, where personalized and intimate care is the ultimate goal. Not beholden to the whims of a large corporation with administrators that dictate how the physicians schedule or what they do, the staff at Desert Edge Medical is able to make their own decisions and ensure that high-quality patient care is the only priority.

“I love being independent and being able to set our own rules for the clinic. I get to decide how my schedule is going to work,” he said. “I get to decide that I ‘m not going to see 37 patients a day because I’m in control.”

At Desert Edge Medical, they schedule longer appointments on purpose so they can actually spend time with a patient, but they also leave a few spots open during the day just in case someone needs to come in for same-day help.

The team at Desert Edge Medical, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Desert Edge Medical, St. George News

“We’re not numbers driven here. … We try and make it so our staff has time to get things done and has time to talk to the patients, which I think is different,” Nilsson said. “A lot of doctors will only do 15-minute appointments, and they try to see like 30 people a day. My hard max is around 18 a day. I will never schedule more than that.”

Nilsson said he wants his patients to trust that he knows what’s going on with them and understands the “big picture.”

“I really go over and discuss every aspect of their medical history with each patient. I don’t just have you fill out new patient paperwork, glance at it and then come up with a quick plan. … All new patients on my schedule are given 45-minute slots, so I’m going to take a good chunk of time to get to know the patient.”

Nilsson reviews patients’ charts every time and makes sure they’ve had diagnostics like a recent kidney function or lipids test. He makes sure their family history is up-to-date and checks to see if they need preventative testing done.

“Every visit is almost like a physical, at least when they see me,” he said.

Desert Edge is also a medication-assisted treatment clinic and can provide Suboxone treatment for opioid-dependence disorders, and both Nilsson and Desert Edge’s doctorate nurse practitioner Ryan Borrowman are certified to recommend licenses for medical marijuana for patients that meet the qualifying conditions.

Nilsson said they are always available for their patients and always have somebody on call. If it’s after hours and a patient needs assistance, they can call and leave a voicemail, and that message is immediately texted to whoever is on call.

“If it is a weekend – if it is at night and you’ve got UTI symptoms – you don’t need to go to urgent care, you can just give us a call. At urgent care you’re seeing someone that has never seen you and doesn’t have any of your history, and it’s more expensive than a regular office.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they began telehealth appointments and performing home visits for their patients with emergency needs, and they hope it is something they can continue in the future.

“If you’re already established, and we see there’s a need for being able to come into the home and see you, we will come out and do home visits,” Nilsson said, adding that in the last two months he has been out 15 times to see patients. “We just don’t want to write them off if they’re homebound. We still want to be able to give them care.”

Nilsson said being a primary care doctor doesn’t end with an appointment. He cares for all of his patients like his own family and welcomes anyone considering switching to a new doctor to give him a call for a new patient appointment.

Desert Edge Medical is located 1664 S. Dixie Downs Drive, Suite D102. Schedule an appointment today by calling 435-656-2995.

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Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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