its treatment is that, at the very moment when we are perhaps most
acutely aware of ourselves as an individual, medicine seeks to
restore health through viewing and reducing the individual to
classiﬁable membership of a category.
Been thinking about this for a while, but I really want to start drawing more about my hospital experiences. I’ve been taking a writing workshop for clinicians in the last couple of months, and I’m realizing how hard it is to depict in words the spaces I moved through as a patient, when I’m writing for docs, nurses, and therapists who move those same spaces but with such a different purpose. I mean, a waiting room is a waiting room — but it’s so different when you’re the one waiting. Anyway, gonna try to work through this with pictures.
While it sounds reasonable for a primary-care doctor to get an opinion about a rash or a chest X-ray via computer, it’s less obvious that a patient’s mental health could be assessed this way. But, it turns out, “telemental health” works surprisingly well. A 2013 review of several programs in which patients received psychiatric evaluation and counselling by phone, e-mail, or video showed that telemedicine can improve symptoms, reduce length of hospital stays, and help people adhere to medication as well as face-to-face psychiatric care. For children and adolescents, telemedicine often works better than face-to-face care.
Still, I confessed to Phillips that surveys, registries, and videoconferencing didn’t sound like the kind of patient interactions that made me choose primary care in the first place. He argued that, actually, the type of care he’s proposing is simply a modern version of what an old-fashioned general practitioner offered. A few generations ago, the family doctor was a one-stop resource for health care and emotional support. He might deliver you, take out your tonsils, write your college-recommendation letter, and, if he outlived you, preside over your deathbed. Phillips envisions twenty-first-century primary care as being no less inclusive. “Our patients are coming in to see us,” he told me. “They have needs. We should be able to address as many of those needs as possible. And we know behavioral-health disorders are front and center, so it should be something that primary-care doctors can manage.”
Really want to apply for a fellowship at the Health Care, Technology, and Place research & training initiative at U of T.
By the way! I did a little collaboration with Neuroskeptic last month, and here’s the illustration I did for it.
Submitted my application for an MD-PhD. Now I’m drinking a gin & tonic while playing piano with my cat.