This experience begins as somewhat of an afterthought.
What I’ve really been working on is an iPad app to use in my office for patient education. I’m a cardiologist, of the noninvasive type. That means I talk to patients, examine patients, diagnose patients, and treat patients. I evaluate patients with complaints that may or may not be from the heart, manage patients with heart disease, and try to prevent problems and complications as much as possible. I do stress testing and echocardiography, but not cardiac catheterizations, stents, ablations, pacemakers, or other such “invasive” procedures.
I spend a lot of time talking with conscious and alert people who want to know what is wrong with them, what is the nature of their problem, and what can be done about it. Other patients act like they don’t want to know any details, and I have to convince them that more knowledge has significant physical and emotional benefits. Then, of course, there are problems with incorrect assumptions and misinformation, perhaps not really related to an individual patient’s specific situation, ideas which they may have picked up from friends or family, the internet, news outlets, or even other medical people. So, educating patients turns out to be one of the most important things I do.
Next time I’ll get into where this desire for me to do a better job with patient education has been leading.