Members Move Medicine: Putting patients at center of it all
The AMA Wire® “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.
On the move with: Dhruv Khullar, MD, MPP (@DhruvKhullar), a physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a researcher for the Weill Cornell Department of Healthcare Policy & Research and contributor for the New York Times.
What moving medicine means to me: Changing the way that people think about, deliver and receive health care. Challenging the assumptions that underlie the way we currently do things. Finding simplicity amidst complexity, and keeping patients at the center of everything we do.
How I move medicine: Asking why.
The work that means the most to me: I think there's real value in sparking conversation and introspection within the medical profession. Only by continually examining where we fail and where we succeed can we expect to improve. I also believe it’s critical to help those outside the profession—patients, policymakers, businesses—understand our strengths, innovations, tradeoffs, and limitations. We are all ultimately affected by health and wellness, and we must all partner to improve personal and societal well-being.
My source of inspiration: My patients—who have taught me how to live, how to die and what real courage looks like in the face of unthinkable adversity.
My hope for the future of medicine: Keeping the patient at the center of all we do. Medicine is undergoing tremendous change in terms of how we pay for and how we deliver care. Every year brings new technologies, new medications, new ideas, new challenges and new legislation. There is no shortage of stakeholders advocating for what they want the future of medicine to look like. But at the heart of it all is the doctor-patient relationship. That relationship, and that experience, is sacrosanct. It deserves a voice and a lobby as much as—if not more than—anything else in health care.
My favorite experience working with the medical team: Working as a senior resident on the medical floors and observing the tremendous progress interns make over the course of just a few months—watching their confidence and competence bloom, and seeing them grow personally and clinically into the amazing doctors they were destined to become.
The most challenging aspects of caring for patients: When patients don’t do well and you feel like you could have done more for them.
The most rewarding aspect of caring for patients: Hearing about who or what a patient loves and feeling like you played some part, however small, in getting them back to it.
The skills every physician should have but won’t be tested for on the board exam: Being a thoughtful and reliable colleague—someone other members of the care team look forward to working with.
One question students should ask themselves before pursuing medicine: What quality do I admire most about good doctors?
A quick insight I would give students who are considering medicine: This is an incredibly exciting time to be entering medicine. There’s genomics and precision medicine, robotic surgery and immune therapies, digital health and delivery system reform. But at its core, medicine is still about what it’s always been about: people.