About Ben Barger

Benjamin “Ben” Barger is a world-class sailor, professional athlete, a 2008 US Olympian and medal hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in London. Using his sailing skills, Ben also is chairman of the ISAF Athletes Commission representing athlete’s views to the board of directors and the executive of the World Sailing Federation. He also manages At Home Technologies a Tampa Bay Area business that deploys audio, visual, security, lighting and wiring to residential and commercial applications. Ben will be blogging for Adecco as part of a special blog series, "A Tempting World", highlighting different roles within the workplace.

A Tempting World: Day 5 at Laser Spine Institute

Today I met with the patient I’ve been shadowing all week to find out how he has been feeling since his surgery.   I met him on the door way to the clinic where he was to meet with doctors again to debrief on the surgery.  He was absolutely beaming; he said for the first time in quite a long time that his foot was no longer numb!  Although he mentioned he had a little bit of pain from the small incision from the surgery, he said the pain he was used to having was gone!  We shared some laughs and I was so glad to hear he was doing well and I was glad I got to see him before he went in to meet with the doctors.   He is just one of the many success stories that LSI sees each and every day and I can attest to the level of care that Laser Spine Institute shows each patient that comes through their doors.

This week as Laser Spine Institute has been different than all other rotations I’ve done with “A Tempting World” and I am proud that have been able to spend a week with such an innovative company and with such passionate people.


A Tempting World: Day 4 at Laser Spine Institute

Today I spent time with the division of Laser Spine institute that works with patients post-surgery.  It was an eye-opening experience to learn how they followed up with all their patients.  Andrea Smith, Patient Support Specialist, let me listen in on a few calls as she talked with the patient concerns.  She personalized every step of her communication from the day after surgery, when Andrea writes a handwritten card, to following up with them, week 1, 2, 4 and 8.

Next, I met Maya Borofsky and listened in on a few calls that she made to follow up with her patients.  Some patients take 3 hours of time to make sure everything is in order, and some take 5 minutes.  It’s clear that all Maya wants to ensure is that the surgery and follow up care has been taken the utmost possible care.
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A Tempting World: Day 3 at Laser Spine Institute

On day 3 of “A Tempting World” with the Laser Spine Institute, I spent the morning with Brie Pusateri, Director of Scheduling, to learn about how she manages the department and the kinds of metrics they use to ensure that all the appointments for surgery are properly timed. I found it interesting how thorough they are in making sure they get all the patients’ information correct, from their medical history to their recent MRI results.

Just before lunch, I met up with the patient I’m following this week and sat with him as the Orthopedic Surgeon came in to review his findings. It was fascinating to see how he determined the prognosis, by reviewing step by step the MRI, which involved a few compressed discs that were pinching the nerves causing pain and numbness. The patient was very confident with the overview of the surgery scheduled for the next day and couldn’t wait for it all to be over.
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A Tempting World: Day 2 at Laser Spine Institute

Bright and early on my second day at Laser Spine Institute, I met with various patient coordinators to learn about their functions in handling new callers. It was clear from the outset that they are real “people- persons”, as in, they enjoy talking to people with back pain, learning about the patients and their symptoms.   Their main function is to handle the relationship and help screen callers with all the necessary paperwork and questions, to then determine whether they are a good candidate for surgery.  The team of patient coordinators speaks to patients, on average, five times before they then meet with the scheduler and then ultimately surgery.  The training for these patient coordinators is very thorough as they are the patients’ points of contact prior to their surgeries.  They are responsible for coordinating the MRI scans, listening to patient feedback and taking copious notes so that when the nurses and doctors finally reach them they are fully briefed and all expectations are met.
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A Tempting World: Introduction to Laser Spine Institute

Like many Olympic athletes, I grew up competing every day for almost all of my life.  Over time, the aches and pains I got from performing at such a high level has taken a toll on my body and makes me think twice about the long term consequence of being so competitive.  Luckily, I’ve not had any major career-ending injuries and today through my introduction to the Laser Spine Institute (LSI), I am realizing how imperative it is for individuals who have had major injuries that high quality care is available.

To say I learned a lot on my first day at LSI is quite an understatement.  I received a crash course on the spine and learned a great amount about this amazing company.  Since 2005, the LSI has gone through explosive growth, having performed more than 26,000 surgeries. I had no idea of the size of the operation, nor the stories behind their philosophy and culture. What’s even more surprising is how it’s an outpatient center, meaning it’s not a hospital.  It lets them specialize solely on spine surgery and LSI is proudly the leader in endoscopic spine surgery. I was impressed to find out that the recovery time is significantly reduced from that of conventional surgery, while the satisfaction is greatly increased.  LSI has expanded to over 500 employees and continues to grow daily.
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A Tempting World: Day 4 at SecurityPoint Media

On the last day, I finished my marketing project that compiled new data for the airports around the USA. They want to use these sales sheets in future presentations to clients.  I added another 30 airports to the list and provided a few new data fields so the team could better sell their products. I also merged it all to a master Excel spreadsheet so that in the future the data can be modified without having to do each one individually! I learned a lot about annual passenger numbers and the size and scope of every airport.  It became all too apparent that no two airports are identical.

To finish up the week, I went out for a late lunch with President & CEO Joseph Ambrefe to do a final debriefing. When I met him on the first day he really wanted to hear my view of my experience with his company. It says volumes about the CEO when they take time out of their busy schedule to meet with their employees. I talked about risks I saw in the organization, points of excitement and other areas of development, and how he is managing his fast growing team. We went back and forth with much discussion on what is the best way to sell the media for future growth. I not only learned a lot but I also felt like I contributed to the conversation by bringing a different perspective to the table.
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