Examining the Interface Between Healthcare and Society

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In the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I sat down with Mark Shapiro, MD, Founder & Host of the Explore The Space Podcast and discussed, among other things, how Mark’s background as a hospitalist has motivated him in communicating science and medicine to the public through his own podcast. We also touched on the four main pillars of his series, as well as the role of digital technologies in addressing complex medical and social issues.

Here is a short snippet of our discussion:

Q: As a clinician working in the hospital environment, how are people showing the best or the worst of themselves during the current pandemic and, how are you navigating through that?

A: That’s a really great, astute, and important question because it really draws out building blocks. Speaking locally, sin my region (Northern California Sonoma County), we had an advantage. The advantage was the fact that in the last three years prior to COVID-19, our region had experienced two catastrophic wildfires. The hospital that I work at and the medical group that I’m a part of were instrumental in continuing high-quality healthcare during those catastrophes in 2017 and in 2019.

Going through that at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where I work, we stayed open during both of those fires. Working through that and experiencing that and feeling the pressure of a disaster, it took us down exactly that road that you just identified. I think it helped a lot of people solidify where they feel strong and identify where do they need to be better because they want to stay part of that movement. They want to be part of the responses to these sorts of things. So, when we had to reopen our incident command center and kind of ramp up all the stuff, we had done that work before. Obviously, the situation is different, the context is the same. We were leveraging a lot of those same skills that we had done before. I think for a lot of us in this region especially, “advantage” might not be the right word, but we felt like we had a little bit of muscle memory around it, so that was really helpful.

The other thing about doing this in the context of the practice of medicine, we have a very clear central dogma with all the decisions that we make. This was drummed into me in my first job, and it’s something that’s really important to me as a leader to help those that are part of my organization for us to all have buy-in. Every decision we make, the patient is first, the team is second, the individual is third. If we make decisions based on that central dogma, we’re going to be okay. It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to be okay.

In this profession, we put the patient at the center. We are thinking to ourselves, what is the right thing to do for the people that were responsible for? Did we address that properly? Yes. Okay, now we have a question. What’s the best thing to do for our team or for our organization? Have we addressed that properly? Okay. I’m feeling really freaked out. I’m feeling scared and tired, can we address my needs? Now, making that third, that repetition, that central dogma is critical. I think, across the profession of medicine, in large part, you see that in various manifestations. That’s what people are doing. I think that has really given us a foothold in how we respond to a global pandemic.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Mark Shapiro, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.

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