Tag: doctor

Don’t have a family doctor in B.C.? Here are your options

From ERs to UPCCs and 811, here’s where else you can get care in B.C. if you don’t have a family doctor.

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Nearly one million people in B.C. don’t have a family doctor — roughly one in five.

Health experts say having a primary care provider is better as they can get to know you and your medical history, monitor changes in your health through the years and provide continuity of care.

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The B.C. College of Family Physicians suggest ways to look for family doctors, including:

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Americans will use AI for heart health but still want advice from a doctor, Cleveland Clinic finds

A majority of Americans believe AI will improve heart care in the long run — but for now, there are trust issues, according to the Cleveland Clinic’s annual national survey about cardiac care.

About eight in 10 Americans said they would consult a ChatBot for health advice but nine in 10 said they’d still get a doctor’s advice before acting on anything a computer or device tells them, the survey released Thursday found.

Dr. Tamanna Singh, co-director of Cleveland Clinic’s Sports Cardiology Center, said the results show people are open to recommendations from AI, but that doesn’t mean technology replaces a doctor.

There’s still a lot of trust that’s put into [people’s] providers, even more so than some of this reliability on the accuracy of diagnoses just based upon something as simple as a chatbox,” Singh said.

Dr. Samir Kapadia, chairperson of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, added that doctors are receiving an influx of inquiries on AI in health care. This year’s survey was aimed at better understanding how patients feel about its use, Kapadia said.

“The increasing number of advancements in AI and in digital health has the potential to transform healthcare delivery, especially in cardiovascular care,” Kapadia said in a news release.

The survey also shed light on how many Americans use technology to monitor their health. Half of respondents said they use at least one type of technology to monitor their health. Daily step count is the most-tracked health metric, followed by heart rate and calorie burn. Nearly one-quarter of Americans said they use monitoring technology to find motivation or accountability for achieving their daily activity goals, according to the survey.

Singh said those findings give her reason for optimism.

“What truly excites me is the way that we could use a lot of

As a doctor, here are 5 things I want my patients to know

This marks a year since I began writing The Washington Post’s Ask A Doctor column and what a privilege it has been. But I’ve been doing more than dishing advice. I’ve also been listening — reading your comments, getting emails and talking to my patients.

What I’ve learned is that the science is only the bare bones of the story. Your lived experience is the heart. After reflecting on what I’ve heard this year, these are five things I want my patients to know.

1. Our health isn’t all determined by the big moments

Preventive health comes down to the innumerable micro-decisions each of us make every day. Bacon at breakfast may be another inconsequential food in your week, while a lifetime of eating processed meats can tip the scales between colon cancer and health.

Those smaller moments can have a butterfly effect you can’t always foresee. One patient of mine agreed to adopt his relative’s dog three years ago — mainly because he felt lonely and wanted companionship. Despite being a self-described “couch potato,” he’s since been easily hitting the recommended physical activity guidelines every week because he started taking his dog for runs around the neighborhood. In addition to the mental health benefits, he’s no longer prediabetic.

How would his trajectory have been different if he had never adopted a pet, if he had hired a dog walking service instead or decided to play fetch instead of joining his dog on a run?

Where would his health be in 10 years if he had developed diabetes?

Our tiny daily decisions add up. Healthy choices made even some of the time are better than unhealthy choices made all of the time.

2. Everyone is frustrated with doctor’s appointments.

Department of Health suing Antigonish doctor in connection with refusal to get COVID-19 vaccination

The Department of Health and Wellness is suing a doctor in Antigonish in connection with her refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Attorney General, on behalf of the department, filed a notice of action in a Halifax court on Nov. 2 against Dr. Lesya Skerry, alleging breach of contract. Skerry was suspended from practicing as a general internist after she refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

Skerry hasn’t filed a defence and the allegations haven’t been tested in court.

Skerry completed her medical training, specializing in anesthesiology, in Ukraine in 1997. In 2014, after immigrating to Canada, Skerry entered Dalhousie University’s faculty of medicine via its IMG Clerkship Program. Each year, that program admits two qualified candidates who are international medical graduates into a clerkship at the medical school. Once those students complete that program, they can enter the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) as a Dalhousie graduate.

Return of Service agreement

In June 2014, Skerry signed a Return of Service agreement with the Department of Health and Wellness in which the department would fund her final two years of medical school.

Skerry, for her part, would practice in one of three locations in Nova Scotia in need of a physician. Skerry would work at least a 37.5-hour work week, plus on-call hours, for 46 weeks a year for four years after the completion of her residency.

The agreement also said if Skerry terminated the agreement or otherwise failed to fulfill her obligations, she’d be required to pay $9,000 for each month of the return of service agreement she didn’t work. That amount would have to be paid back in a lump sum.

Skerry completed medical school at Dalhousie in 2016, and accepted a residency training program in internal medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She started

Department of Health, Health P.E.I. taking over doctor recruiting program

STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS

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Watch on YouTube: “Hooked on Afishianado Smoked Salmon: Taste of Nova Scotia’s Product of the Year | SaltWire”

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The Medical Society of P.E.I. is stepping away from recruiting physicians after managing a program known as physicians recruiting physicians for three years.

In November 2020, the society was contracted by the Department of Health and Wellness to manage the program. Three years later, the MSPEI, which represents 400 physicians in the province, credits this program with helping to recruit 81 physicians to the province. As part of the program, the medical society hired Dr. Megan Miller as its chief physician recruiter to help guide new doctors through the province’s recruitment process.

While much of the focus in recent years has been on P.E.I.’s shortage of physicians, the MSPEI program has demonstrated success. Evaluations of the physicians recruiting physicians program have shown that new doctors were satisfied with the program.

However, in an Oct. 31 email to members, MSPEI president Krista Cassell said in the program’s three-year tenure, it did not succeed in “creating more cohesion between the physician hiring and onboarding process” and in reducing recruitment barriers.

“Earlier this spring, MSPEI met with the Department and Health P.E.I. to discuss the future of our contract,” Cassell said in the Oct. 31 email. “While all parties saw value in the shared recruitment model, Health P.E.I.’s leadership team cited that lack of autonomy and accountability in owning the recruitment process was a significant barrier.”

Dr. Krista Cassell, president of the Medical Society of P.E.I. - SaltWire file
Dr. Krista Cassell, president of the Medical Society of P.E.I. – SaltWire file

Cassell said the MSPEI will be passing on the role of recruiting doctors to the province.

In a statement to

Opinion: Revamping family doctor training won’t solve health care’s problems

Risa Freeman is a family doctor and vice-chair of education and scholarship in the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. Stuart Murdoch is a family doctor and postgraduate education program director in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Family medicine, the foundation of our health system, is in crisis. Six and a half million Canadians lack access to a family doctor, a situation that is set to worsen as existing physicians retire or leave comprehensive care.

To ensure that everyone has access to a family doctor who provides high-quality care, we need to attract more medical students into family medicine, prepare them to be highly competent, comprehensive and compassionate physicians, and support them to stay in comprehensive family practice.

But a change that will increase the time family doctors spend in training has some people, such as Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, worried that it will make the doctor shortage worse. And many, including health ministers Canada-wide, have reaffirmed their support for the status quo.

Currently, family medicine residents – those who have completed a medical degree and choose to specialize in family medicine – spend two years training to be family doctors. Earlier this year, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, which establishes the standards for postgraduate family medicine training in Canadian medical schools, set new national requirements. The new rules, which come into place in 2027, will make residencies in family medicine take three years to complete instead of two. The rationale is to better prepare doctors for the breadth and complexity of family medicine.

There are compelling arguments both for and against.

Adding an extra year of training could make family medicine less attractive for some medical school graduates. Our residents tell us that, after as much as a

Reopening ERs won’t fix Manitoba’s struggling health-care system: doctor

As wait times increase and more patients are walking out of emergency departments without receiving care, some Manitoba doctors say reopening previously closed emergency rooms isn’t necessarily the solution.

The recently elected NDP government ran on a pledge to reopen three emergency rooms that were closed and converted to urgent care centres under the previous Progressive Conservative government.

But some front-line workers say addressing patient flow and the systemwide “access block” needs to be the top priority. 

“It’s important to look at the system — not to impose expensive solutions [of reopening ERs] and oversimplify complex problems,” said emergency department physician Dr. Alecs Chochinov.

According to Shared Health data, more than one in three patients who recently sought medical care at Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department in Winnipeg left without seeing a doctor.

That number is an important benchmark that doctors and health officials say shows the state of the health-care system.

“The ‘left without being seen’ rate is a symptom of system dysfunction,” Chochinov said. 

A man in a black sweater standing outside on the sidewalk.
Dr. Alecs Chochinov warns that moving too quickly to reopen ERs will not fix the current patient flow and ‘access block’ problems in Manitoba’s health-care system. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

While hospitals are dealing with critical staffing shortages, Chochinov said one of the single biggest problems throughout the system remains “access block” — when the right care is potentially available, but people cannot access it.

The ER is the canary in the coal mine, said Chochinov.

“Whenever there is a block anywhere, it manifests in the emergency department.”

In emergency departments, that’s most often due to admitted patients taking up stretchers, blocking people in the waiting room from being able to access care. 

But it also comes up with hospital patients “waiting for long-term care options who are stuck,” or for those waiting to see a 

Wait times force 1 in 3 patients to leave Winnipeg’s largest ER without seeing doctor: Shared Health

While increasing wait times continue to put pressure on Manitoba’s health-care system, doctors say very sick people are leaving the emergency room without being seen by a physician at all.

More than one in every three patients who recently sought medical care at the emergency department of Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre ended up leaving without seeing a doctor, according to recent data supplied by Shared Health.

“That’s upsetting,” Doctors Manitoba president Dr. Michael Boroditsky said when shown the data. “Obviously concerning for me as a physician, and for the patients for sure even more so.” 

According to the data, 13.1 per cent of those seeking medical attention in 2019 left without being seen by a physician.

During the same time period in 2023, that number skyrocketed to 34.1 per cent, meaning nearly one in three patients who presented and were triaged in the emergency room left without being seen by a doctor.

Those same rates worsened significantly at every hospital in Winnipeg over the past five years due to staffing and patient flow.

At St. Boniface Hospital, patients are leaving without seeing a doctor nearly 2.5 times more often than in 2019. At the Grace Hospital, it’s happening nearly four times as often.

“This is unprecedented. I actually never dreamed it would be this high. It’s a nightmare,” said St. Boniface ER physician Dr. Alecs Chochinov said. “If anybody was waiting for the apocalypse to actually make changes, let them know it’s here.”

A graph of numbers
More than one in every 3 patients who showed up in need of medical care at the emergency department of Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre recently ended up leaving without seeing a doctor. (Shared Health)

A patient leaving an emergency waiting room without getting treatment could lead to a life-or-death situation, Boroditsky says.

“That would be my biggest

TikTok’s Doctor Mike says you can over-optimize your health in the name of longevity. Here’s his best advice for living longer

Since he began practicing medicine, Dr. Mikhail Varshavski has wanted people to feel invested in their health and empowered to ask questions from the seemingly mundane to the controversial. 

“People are on their phones, so I had to go there,” he tells Fortune in a sit-down interview at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas this month, where he spoke about health misinformation. 

Fast forward nearly a decade and over 11 million YouTube subscribers later and 2.1 million followers on TikTok, Varshavski—famously known as Doctor Mike on the screen—is one of the world’s leading internet personalities in health care. 

“I was surprised by the ability of one person to make such a difference,” says Varshavski, who works as a family medicine doctor. Many of his TikToks get over a million views. 

The $4 trillion wellness economy emphasizes “do-it-yourself” health care, as the Wall Street Journal puts it. However, many of the recommended products and services are pricey and inaccessible for most—not to mention there’s a lot of noise and misinformation in the space. It’s no wonder so many turn to the internet to get information from a credentialed expert who also happens to be great on camera. One survey last year found a third of Gen Z-ers head to TikTok for health advice, like for anxiety, weight loss, and depression. 

“We poke fun at ourselves,” he says, referring to his videos with his slew of guests in the health and wellness space. “We’re making dad jokes or puns to make the content a little bit more digestible … You can actually make this information fun, relatable, and interesting.”

With an engaging tone, accessible explanations, and a touch of wit, Varshavski approaches topics from how often you should shower to the psychology behind positive affirmations and the questions around the

‘What did the doctor say?’ Boosting health literacy falls on more than just the patient

doctor visit
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

The responsibility of understanding what a health care professional is saying during a visit to the doctor’s office falls on more than just the patient.

That obligation to ensure individuals can access and comprehend basic health information in order to make health-related decisions is shared by the doctor, nurse, health insurance provider and even public health officials—perhaps even more so than the patient, said Dr. Michael Paasche-Orlow, a primary care physician and vice chair for research at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

It can be tough enough for people to navigate the complex health care and health insurance systems.

“A clinician might come into the room and talk jargon all the time. Or public health messages might be confusing,” said Paasche-Orlow, also a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

A comprehensive philosophy for addressing heath literacy is embraced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which updated its Healthy People 2030 plan to cover two definitions of health literacy.

Personal health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others, according to the federal plan. Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.

This changed from the 2020 plan that provided just one definition focused on the individual.

Research suggests most adults in the U.S. struggle with health literacy. Limited health literacy “has profound costs for individual and public health” and has been associated with poorer overall health status, higher health care costs and an increased likelihood of rehospitalization and death, according to a 2018 scientific statement from the American

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