Week 2 Blog post:

 

  1.  a Brief Autobiography

I was born in the United Kingdom after my parents both emigrated there from India.  My father is a Civil Engineer, and my mother has a degree in Economics, but worked as a librarian and as an ESL teacher during her life.  We moved to Canada and to Richmond when I was 2 years old.  I was enrolled in the early French Immersion Programme in Elementary school from kindergarten and completed this up till Grade 12, along with some International Baccalaureate Certificates in Secondary School.  I then went to UBC, earning a degree in Integrated Sciences, as one of the first graduates of that program.  In my fourth year at UBC, I was exposed to some pathology courses, and greatly enjoyed learning about the anatomy, physiology and capabilities of the human body and the parasites which tried to subvert our native defenses.  I spent the next two years in taking the MCAT and applying for medical school, and to my surprise, the first place that accepted me as into the medical program was in Dublin, Ireland, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.  So I went off to Ireland for medical school.  After 5 years there, I stayed there for an extra year to work in a hospital, and then I returned to Canada with the idea to get into a residency for Family Medicine.  I matched the year after into a new residency up in Northern BC, in Dawson Creek.  I was there for 2 years training, then locum for a few months, before moving back down to Vancouver.  I have worked as a Family Physician in Burnaby for the last 4 years.  I have become interested in teaching, partly through my experiences in teaching medical students and residents, and partly in my experiences teaching people board games and ballroom dancing, which have been hobbies of mine since my early years at UBC, and I now hope to get into academic teaching in some form, sometime in the future.

2) My learning partner’s blog: trialofskyle.wordpress.com

3) Trends in Medicine

One of the biggest trends in medicine that I have observed over the past few years in practice is that of personal technology in medicine.  Whether this be as simple as the tendency to Google symptoms before coming into the office, or as complex as the modern use of tablets in hospitals, there are many areas where technology has entered the medical field, and continues to have an impact.

One of the earliest evidences of technology in personal/patient/consumer health care in BC was likely the initiation of the My E-health program from Lifelabs.  Patients could now look at their own blood results at home, along with a partial breakdown of the normal range levels for the various blood results.

This brings up one of the quotes in this particular article: “Patients are coming to our offices armed already with information or a diagnosis of what they think they have,” he says. “It is up to us as physicians to accept this new paradigm and become partners with patients.”

I somewhat agree with this statement that the new paradigm is to deal with patients armed with information already, and I am fully supportive of the idea that patients should have good access to information.  However, I do not agree with the idea that this new partnership is an equal one.  There are 2 points in particular where I will try to illustrate this.  Both “partners” in this endeavour have equal access to information, but this is where the partnership becomes unequal.  The inequality on the part of the patient lies with the thinking that 1) only the patient can describe adequately how the symptoms of a particular illness may be affecting them.  This includes the idea of the severity, the frequency and the impact on them psychosocially as well.  The inequality on the part of the physician exists due to the fact that although both members of this partnership can access the same information, 2) the physician has superior experience in interpreting the information and coming to a more definite conclusion.   Naturally, any human being can always be wrong, but in terms of the odds, the physician is at much lower odds of bring wrong, an therefore the physician’s responsibility should be to listen to the patient as much as possible when they are describing the issues (symptoms, impact, etc), while the patient’s responsibility should be to assume that the physician will have a superior opinion as to the cause of the issues.  That being said, a good physician will continually adjust to new information that the patient is bringing in, and should be reacting to any new information (such as treatment failures), accordingly.

Another quote that gives an example my points from the above discussion is here, from the same article:”Although “Dr. Google” is always on-call for the American public, the online medical advice being doled out is not always accurate. The same can be said of the more than 13,000 health and medical apps now available for mobile devices. A recent report in JAMA Dermatology, for example, found that that three out of four melanoma-diagnosing apps reviewed misclassified at least 30% of melanoma lesions.”

One trend which I am quite looking forward to in health care is that of the mobile app/watch/wristband/etc.  I believe that these devices have a great potential to be able to inform us of issues arising from our general health, but I do hope that the role of the family physician will always be considered an important one in society.

 

Reference

Peck, Andrea Downing (2013, March 10) 5 Tech Trends that will affect the way you practice medicine in 2013. Retrieved from: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/5-tech-trends-will-affect-way

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