Many of my previous entries have emphasized my commitment to meaningful innovation by incorporating new services into my practice. In this entry, I will discuss how I select new services to include, my aims in doing so, and highlight some of my recently featured services.
Despite being a well-established field for hundreds of years (obstetricians have gone by other titles in past eras), my field has evolved tremendously in the past twenty years. Advances in imaging, fetal screening, and our understanding of women’s health throughout the life cycle have fueled innovative technologies and services that have furthered our potential for ensuring a healthy patient and pregnancy. Examples of these innovations include 3D ultrasound techniques, progressive advancements in hormone replacement therapy, in-office procedures for common gynecological complaints, and more medical and minimally invasive treatments for previously “surgical” conditions.
As a patient, it can be difficult to understand that the newest service is not necessarily the best. To dispel any confusion, I thoroughly outline the benefits and drawbacks of any new service with my patients and discuss it in the context of their own health. This process still does not explain how physicians, such as myself, learn about new services and decide whether to include them in our practice. The truth is that new services are difficult to include in one’s practice. As physicians, we train for nearly a decade. This training includes a conferred understanding of the consensus opinion regarding treatments and new technologies. As you can imagine, the technologies available at the end of training are drastically different from those available at the beginning of training.
As a private practitioner, I rely on three sources when evaluating a new technology: (1) current medical literature; (2) representatives of the product; and (3) peer consensus in our local medical community. These three pillars of evaluation form a system of checks and balances that help elucidate the positives and negatives of each technology and whether it is useful and safe for patients. This, of course, is the aim of incorporating a new service into my practice.
Patients often ask, “what are examples of ‘new’ services that you have incorporated into your practice?” Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is one such service, which was detailed in my last post. Other, more widely applicable therapies, include 3D ultrasound, references for 3D mammogram in select cases, in-office procedures for abnormal vaginal bleeding and contraception, and minimally invasive surgical techniques using the DaVinci robotic system. Each of these fills a unique niche – either obstetrical and gynecological – and has proven successful in improving patient satisfaction and ensuring safe, effective outcomes for my patients.
I hope this informative, albeit brief post helps patients understand that the utmost discrimination is paid to each potentially new service available for my practice. Although often exciting, these services demand a healthy skepticism to ensure a healthy patient and successful outcome. Upon graduating medical school, many physicians are told that 50% of what they learned will be obsolete by the time that they finish residency. I aim to stay abreast of new technology, while evaluating it critically, so that my patients have every option to achieve a successful and healthy life.0