What DO you DO all Day?


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Publish date

19th July 2022


Dr. Kate McCann
“What do you DO all day when you aren’t in the hospital?”
What does a day in lifestyle medicine practice look like**?
I wake up early. Every day, not just clinic days. I don’t set an alarm because I have a 4 y.o. I make sure DH knows what dinner has been prepped in the fridge. I manage to get out of the house on-time only because our amazing child-minder,E. arrives around 7am and I catch the next bus into town. It’s a 5 minute walk from the 103 to the clinic on Pearse St. but it takes longer because I pass amazing coffee shops and I am unable to walk past all of them without stopping at some point.
Coffee in hand, I arrive in time to clinic to log-on for the day. I check clinic e-mail and “Jane”. Jane is a secure portal that allows patients to book themselves, attend virtual appointments securely, and view results, prescriptions, copy of the letter I send their GP, etc. I offer appointments starting at 8am but rarely have any patients who opt for the first appointments. I usually write a quick post for the blog that will also post later on social media. There are no groups running at the moment, so it will be one-on-one with my patients the rest of the day. I try to schedule my virtual appointments on Monday and see in-persons on Friday. I prefer in-person whenever it suits the patient.
9.30am has opted for in-person. Sleep has been a problem for the patient but also generally in the family home. We work through a sleep assessment and management strategies. We agree to check-in virtually in 2 weeks to see what is working – or not.
11.15 is a virtual (telemedicine) appointment. I always prefer to see patients in-person, but this patient is based in Donegal. This patient is interested in lifestyle changes to optimise fertility. I also suggest we link-in with an INDI-registered dietitian locally, and I’ll help with that.
I try to leave the clinic for a short walk and pick-up a salad in town on lunch break.
13:00 is a follow-up (virtual). The patient is at risk for health complications from excess weight so has been making some changes to reduce blood pressure and reduce weight to reduce risk of diabetes.
13.40 is an appointment for medical advising. A patient is considering traveling abroad for treatment. They sent me the link ahead of time, so I’ve done some expert research for them on the evidence (They have great questions: Is this a good idea? Is the science real?), risks, and benefits and things to consider. Ultimately, it is always their own decision but they now have information from trusted sources to make an informed choice. Sometimes medical advising appointments are short and this specific. Other times, a patient has been on a long journey and just needs someone to sign post where they go next. Sometimes, a patient wants advice on their supplement use due to increasing costs.
14:30 – 17.00 Most of my appointments many afternoons are new or follow-ups for patients on weight-loss journeys, but a few might also be for patients quitting smoking. This isn’t weight loss for beauty or image. Patients who are attending me to lose weight are here (in-person or virtually) to reduce health risks, not to “drop a dress size”. Some have started Saxenda or Ozempic with other docs and are looking for support with the lifestyle changes that go with starting that medication.
17.30-19:00 I finish and proofread all GP letters for all the patients seen so far. Some patients will need input from dietitians, physios, or social prescribers and I’ll do those letters, too. I usually try to make sure that the patient has access to their letters on their patient portal same-day. I’ll review any new referrals that have been sent in via email from GPs or specialists. Because this is a direct-care model, patients are very welcome to self-refer and I do not have to liaise with insurance companies. It actually means more time during my day was spent with patients – who I really like – and less with paper-work – that I really don’t. It’s a 15-minute walk back to get the bus home and have time with my sons before their bedtime.
The rest of the Friday evening is mine, which is refreshing after years of clinical practice. And I go home knowing that I saw patients without long waiting lists and I was able to give them all the time they needed to tell their story. That is the best part. The work-life balance means that I really can be fresh and focused for patients.
**Any identifying patient details have been changed to protect privacy. Dr. Kate McCann is a certified lifestyle medicine physician. www.emdoc.ie
#lifestylemedicine #doctorpatient #privatepractice #accessiblecare

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