Catching up with our first Intern: Austin Thornhill
It has been a year since we started laying the groundwork for our internship program here at Spine Consultants, LLC. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with our very first intern Austin Thornhill to see where he is now…and where he is headed.
– Michael Zorko | Social Media & Special Projects Coordinator
“Tell us a little bit about your journey to us, getting the internship.”
I lived in the Chicago area from Feb 2008 to Feb 2010 while I was involved
in volunteer work. During my time there I became acquainted with Michael Zorko.
In the Fall of 2010 I began my study of Healthcare Administration at Brigham
Young University Idaho. When I had informed Michael of my chosen field of study
he explained that there was an internship opportunity with Spine Consultants,
LLC. I jumped at the opportunity for the invaluable experience and for the fact
that I love Chicago. The description of the internship was exactly what I was
looking for. After finishing my Winter semester of school in April I made my way
from Rexburg, Idaho to Chicago.
“Tell us about the projects you worked on here at Spine Consultants.”
I had been given the opportunity to streamline a newly developed patient
record management process used and implemented by the Workers’
Compensation Department. Spine Consultants, LLC was in the process of “Going
Green” and there is a tremendous amount of paper product usage in the transfer
and storage of necessary medical records associated to the care of Worker’s
Compensation patients. This new record management process made all of these
records available to Dr. Butler in electronic form. This accomplished two
overarching goals, make more office space available, and make the transfer of
records more eco-friendly. Through this I became familiar with the process of
Worker’s Compensation claims and Independent Medical Evaluations (IME). I also
was given the opportunity to work with the patients one on one. I would room
patients, record vital signs in an EMR system, and order x-rays. I was particularly
grateful for this opportunity to interact with our patient population.
“Tell us what you learned.”
The most important thing I learned in my three months with Spine
Consultants, LLC was that for a physician to provide needed care to his or her
patients effectively, the office staff must work as an effective team behind the
scenes. The office staff of Spine Consultants, LLC demonstrate this very well.
During my internship, I would spend time with each department to understand the
ins and outs of all parts of the office. I learned that delivering care to patients can
sometimes be a complicated process but that it can be made more simple by a
“How has it helped you prepare for your current position?”
I truly believe that without the experience I gained with Spine
Consultants,LLC I would not have my current position at The BYU-Idaho Student
Health Center. Fortunately the same EMR system that is used at Spine
Consultants, LLC is used at the Student Health Center so I needed little training
with the software. Through my experience of rooming patients I learned how to
interact with those for whom we provide care. This is an absolutely vital skill to
have for anyone in the Healthcare Industry.
“Tell us what is in store for Austin Thornhill!”
I will receive my undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration in
December of 2013. I hope to be accepted to University of Minnesota’s MHA
(Masters in Healthcare Administration)program. From there my dream would be to
work for either Intermountain Healthcare in Utah or for the Mayo Clinic. One day I
hope to be working as either a Chief of Operations Officer or a Chief Executive
Officer of a hospital. I am very excited to see where my future will take me. I’m
sure it will be one crazy ride!