Social media's leading physician voice, Kevin Pho, MD, shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from. 15 minutes a day. 7 days a week. Welcome to The Podcast by KevinMD.
Love is the strongest medicine
"We know this is true in our hearts and minds, but we also know it to be true in documentable terms. Studies have proven that strong, empathic engagement between doctors and their patients increases patients’ willingness to report symptoms and concerns. That in turn improves diagnostic accuracy. Empathy increases patient engagement and compliance. Some studies suggest it even improves survival rates. Connection is a powerful intangible—like family, or love, or hope. So how can a doctor bring connection into the room in the small, often intense increments of time we have with our patients? Often, it’s through surprising secret tools—things like laughter, empathy, and music.
There’s notable science to each. Laughter has been shown to reduce stress and improve immune function. Empathy strengthens patients’ ability to cope with difficult treatments and eases suffering during end-of-life care. And music—wow—studies show music can lower patient anxiety levels during invasive procedures, ease the nausea caused by chemotherapy, decrease pain perception, and inspire feelings of peace and spirituality. And that’s just the medical stuff. On a personal level, listening to and making music together creates a sense of shared experience and kinship. It fires up emotional receptors that otherwise remain dormant. It is an honest, authentic shortcut to connection."
Steven Eisenberg is a hematologist-oncologist and author of Love Is the Strongest Medicine: Notes from a Cancer Doctor on Connection, Creativity, and Compassion.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "Love is the strongest medicine." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/05/love-is-the-strongest-medicine.html)
Why doctors are such bad investors and how real estate can help
"How do we combat all these beliefs that can make doctors into bad investors? I have a few thoughts.
First of all, don’t panic. Most of us are indeed starting behind the eight-ball when it comes to wealth accumulation. But even with a shorter runway, physicians make enough money to make up for lost time. With a well-constructed financial plan, you can hit your goals, whatever they might be.
Second of all, be humble. Recognize that vast scientific knowledge doesn’t always translate into financial wizardry. Take the time to educate yourself in any area where you plan to invest. For example, I only started to accelerate my real estate investment after I took a formal real estate investing course.
Finally, take ownership. Realize that your financial future is your responsibility. Don’t offload all the details to an advisor without having a basic understanding of what is happening to your money.
Daniel Shin is a urologist who blogs at The Darwinian Doctor.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "Why doctors are such bad investors." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/04/why-doctors-are-such-bad-investors.html)
Health care leaders' roles in pandemic recovery: Caring for caregivers
"These are extraordinary times. Leaders have the opportunity to seize the day, to lean into this turning point in health care delivery, to drive organizational transformation, and to emerge from the devastation of the pandemic with an organization in which patients and clinicians thrive.
You simply have to ask yourself, are you willing to change? Are you willing to dive into the fray and adapt to save your clinicians with the same commitment that your clinicians have demonstrated throughout the pandemic?
If you are, your organization will succeed beyond what you think is possible."
Paul DeChant is a family physician and health care consultant.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "Caring for caregivers post-pandemic." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/05/caring-for-caregivers-post-pandemic.html)
Physicians need growth days
"We can move from being a reactor to creator. Creators think of the future and make it start happening today. Reactors are just dealing with the crisis at hand, not progressing, feeling stuck, feeling like life is unfair. Reactors are people-pleasing, reacting to everything said, constantly worrying about how to win the approval of others. That’s the trouble with people-pleasing: You are always reacting. We think we are making others happy, but we despise ourselves and resent others. We should start taking the time to please ourselves. It is only from this space that we can start helping others.
If you think this will be a waste, or you can’t take a break because there is work to do, your brain will find ways to prove this thought true. If you tell yourself this is stupid and a waste of time, then you will squander the day and prove yourself right. If you tell yourself they can’t live without out you (and your confidence depends on them wanting you), you will allow the interruptions. If you find yourself saying you really can’t take the time off, then you have a non-sustainable job.
Give yourself permission. Start to develop strong boundaries. Understanding what we can and cannot do in a day. Setting aside days for us to reflect, listen deeply to our inner thoughts, and strategize the path we are meant to live are keys to a successful life. If we’re too busy and never take time to stop, we will never see the path in front of us."
Amy Vertrees is a general surgeon and co-founder, The Common Thread Women Surgeon Coaching.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, "Physicians need growth days." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/02/physicians-need-growth-days.html)
Our extraordinary lungs' power and fragility
"With the obvious accounted for, we turned to the obscure, the area of medicine where judgment and experience come into play. Fortunately, we received sound advice and guidance from the infectious disease physicians. Stick to the basics, they stressed, only do them better. We continued our patient on the first-line anti-TB drugs he had been on, this time at a slightly higher dose, and added one dose intravenously since he had inflammation in his abdomen and likely wasn’t absorbing a lot of the medicine he had been taking. We supported his immune system with appropriate calories through a feeding tube and kept the pressure in his lungs low on the ventilator. In this case, there could have been an urge to change the plan radically, to alter the anti-TB drugs or give steroids or other immune modulators. The art of medicine is knowing when to give up and start anew versus when to stay with the basic plan, executed better. In this case, we stuck with the basic plan.
Gradually, the inflammation in the chest and abdomen calmed down. We were able to give the patient physical therapy, and he got off the ventilator and went to the general medical floor. We stuck to the basics of antibiotics and nutrition, and he did well. When in doubt in medicine, stick to the basics are indeed words to live by."
Michael J. Stephen is a pulmonary physician and author of Breath Taking: The Power, Fragility, and Future of Our Extraordinary Lungs.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "The lungs and the common good." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/01/the-lungs-and-the-common-good.html)
Advice from graduating medical students to new ones
"We need you to join the ranks of this time-honored profession with new eyes and determined minds and eyes that see medicine’s problematic foundations and minds that are willing to act on it. Because it is you, future medical students, who will soon take up the mantle of pushing medicine to change — as medical students have done for generations. We look forward to working alongside you. Welcome to medicine."
Kathryn Crofton, Jay Hwang, and Catherine Jay are medical students.
They share their stories and discuss their KevinMD article, "From future doctors to new ones: We need you." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/04/from-future-doctors-to-new-ones-we-need-you.html)
Podcast for physicians and med students
Thank you Dr. Pho for the opportunity to speak with you, your podcast is a joy to listen to and just glad to be a part of it
This podcast is amazing, bringing daily information from the world healthcare leaders to your ears.
This physician loves primary care. A pandemic is not going to change that
So well done. Kevin Pho is inspiring and makes you feel at ease. A wonderful quality for a primary doctor. Thanks Kevin for taking the time.