BusinessTimes- Alddo Molinar Showcases the Many Sides to a Career in Medicine

Medical doctors are one of the most revered professions in the modern economy. With good reason, when it comes to relieving suffering and improving the world, doctors have some of the greatest impacts on the people they help. However, although the profession is respected, many individuals have an incomplete understanding of what it’s like to be a doctor in the present day and age. In order to begin answering this question, we turned to Dr. Alddo Molinar. Using details from the doctor, we’ve been able to create an overview that paints a more complete picture of what a doctor’s life is really like.

Becoming a doctor

One of the first things that many people think of when they think of the path to becoming a doctor is the need to attend medical school. While this is an important aspect of the journey, medical school is just one component of a process that actually begins much earlier. As we can see from Alddo Molinar, the early stages of his life show that a doctor’s journey often first starts with a natural aptitude and desire to relieve suffering. That was something the doctor showed quite early on in life. Motivated, in part, by witnessing firsthand the devastating toll that illness took on family members, his interest in helping others heal was seeded as a child. That desire, coupled with early mechanical abilities, helped establish his professional goals early in life.

After that early interest, the doctor pursued an undergraduate degree in biology followed by, yes, medical school at The University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas. Though these were formative experiences in his life, perhaps some of his most influential training came during his residency at the Cleveland Clinic. The medical center helped provide the doctor with a more complete understanding of not only his primary field of anesthesiology, but also additional subspecialties such as neurology and cardiology. The doctor followed his residency with a fellowship at the same medical center where he served as Chief Fellow and was able to further refine his set of skills.

Packed days

Since patients typically only interact with doctors in the context of their own medical needs, they don’t often get a chance to see how filled the rest of a doctor’s day might be. Speaking with the anesthesiologist provides a more complete picture of his work, which helps set the example for how the days of many other doctors are filled. The doctor likens his work to being a pilot at a busy airport. In his case, the airport is the operating room and his role is to ensure that patients are properly anesthetized so that surgeries can occur safely. He does so as part of a highly coordinated effort with other medical professionals in a typical operating room, whose actions bare a resemblance to the structured schedule that is maintained at a busy airport.

In order to accommodate the needs of such a busy working environment, the doctor must rigidly structure his own routine as well. This typically involves waking up at 5:15 am before arriving at the hospital and seeing his first patients of the day by 6:15. Surgeries begin shortly thereafter, leaving his plate full as he watches over multiple operating rooms making sure his work is going smoothly. This busy schedule continues throughout the day, leaving even his breaks highly organized. To that end, the doctor will typically schedule a 10:00 am cup of coffee to give himself time to reflect on his morning’s progress and look forward to the rest of the day.

Constant flexibility

As scheduled and orderly as a doctor’s day may appear from the outside, it also incorporates a high need for flexibility. Since medical professionals are often responding to the urgent needs of patients, there is no telling when such needs might arise. Even while the doctor is monitoring multiple operating rooms to ensure that planned surgeries are progressing as scheduled, he also keeps his attention open to needs that may require his attention from other sources. This can include patients at the preadmission clinic, recovery rooms, intensive care unit, and other locations. Even the main desk can serve as a focal point of attention if a patient arrives in need of immediate assistance.

Though the above information showcases how packed a doctor’s workday can become, it doesn’t touch upon the ways in which a doctor’s assistance may be needed outside of normal operating hours. In reality, patients can require assistance at any time or on any day of the week. This often requires that the doctor be on call after hours and on weekends so that he can handle emergencies as they arise. While on call, he will often communicate with patients who he’s already worked with in order to follow up and make sure that their recovery is progressing in a positive manner. As can be seen, the inherent uncertainty that accompanies work in the medical field requires a high degree of flexibility in order to properly fulfill one’s job responsibilities.

Staying motivated

In the face of the many difficulties that can be encountered in the medical field, many doctors struggle with staying motivated and not burning out. Speaking on this topic, the doctor helps explain how he remains devoted to his work and patients by pointing to people in other professions from which he draws inspiration. One of the people that has served this role for him is Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player. He notes how Jordan was always learning from his past and utilizing those lessons to progress towards his goals. Through this focus on learning and relentless preparation, he was able to become recognized as one of the greatest players of all time. The doctor strives to institute his own high level of preparedness in his work in order to stay focused and motivated to achieve his aspirations regarding patient care.

Though doctors are one of the most well-respected professions in the world, their work is not always fully understood. By learning more about the profession, individuals can help to better understand this critical field. Look to the above overview, which utilizes information from Dr. Alddo Molinar, to begin to gain a better understanding of how doctors operate in the current medical system.

More about Alddo Molinar at https://medium.com/@alddomolinar

MedicalNewsUS- Dr. Alddo Molinar on What Helps Him Excel in Field of Medicine

While many of us may have personal opinions about what we look for in medical professionals, it’s also true that there are some traits that generally help a doctor stand out above others in their field. To further explore this concept, we talked to a highly successful practitioner in the field of anesthesiology, Dr. Alddo Molinar. By getting input from the doctor as to what he feels helps him excel, we are able to better understand the medical field in general and some of the characteristics that help distinguish the top professionals working today.

Career history

Two things that can help a doctor stand out from his or her peers are a strong passion for their work and a robust education in their field. In the case of Alddo Molinar, his passion comes, in part, from his early experiences growing up as the first U.S. citizen in his extended family. As a result, he was expected from an early age to capitalize on the opportunities afforded to him and make a difference in the world. It was clear as his personality took shape that he would be able to do just that. A natural intellectual aptitude coupled with a keen interest in helping to relieve other’s suffering, helped point him towards a career in medicine. When he witnessed individuals in his own family fall ill to disease, it only reinforced his commitment to his path.

With his passion firmly established, the future doctor turned his attention to his education as soon as he could. His first introduction to this work came from an opportunity to shadow at the Rio Grande Health Clinic in El Paso, Texas. When it came time for college, he attended Trinity University and received his B.S. in Biology. He went on to attend medical school at The University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas and completed his residency at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. While receiving training at the medical center, he not only worked in his primary field of anesthesiology, but also underwent additional training in subspecialties related to neurology, trauma care, cardiology, and more.  He even completed a fellowship training in Critical Care Medicine to better care for patients in the intensive care unit.

Wide knowledge base

Although a medical professional’s understanding of the technical aspects of their field must be precise and in-depth, the doctor notes that there are a myriad of additional areas in which an experienced medical practitioner must also be skilled. One key component of his work is the importance of social skills, such as teamwork. To that point, he discusses the role of such a skill in the context of an operating room, which he likens to a busy airport. With so many medical professionals working at once to achieve a positive outcome for a patient, it is critical that they be able to collaborate effectively as a cohesive unit.

The doctor also notes the value of education that exists outside of what many might consider to be a traditional medical background. He counts himself lucky to have attended a liberal arts university for his undergraduate work that made it mandatory for students to study a variety of different subjects. Through this policy, he was introduced to many topics which he might never have encountered in an environment that focused exclusively on medical studies. This includes courses on Asian religions, music, cultural studies, and more. By possessing such a well-rounded knowledge base, the anesthesiologist is better able to use diverse mindsets to tackle a variety of problems and to more effectively serve a range of patients as well as communicate with patients and their families.

Record keeping

Another area that the doctor finds to be critical to his work in the medical field is his ability to keep records. One way in which he works towards this goal is to keep a running journal with him at all times. He uses the journal to track the progress of ongoing procedures, record ideas, and stay in touch with his own goals. The versatility of the format also allows him to use it as a space in which to brainstorm or prioritize action items throughout a busy day. Ultimately the tool can allow him to be more productive and remind him of various points of interest that he’d like to remember.

More broadly, the doctor notes that record keeping is an important part of effective patient interactions. By tracking medical records, medical professionals are able to better understand how a patient’s condition is evolving over time. This level of understanding can help evaluate the effectiveness of past treatments and can help to guide future treatment options if necessary. Keeping an orderly record tracking process can sometimes mean the difference between an effective medical practitioner and one who is ultimately ineffective.

Using technology

The doctor also notes that technology can be a key factor influencing a medical professional’s effectiveness. In the example of record keeping, technology can play a large role in helping doctors to successfully track patient progress over time. In fact, record-keeping software is constantly evolving to help streamline this process. It can also be helped along by dictation software, which is also continually improving. By allowing medical professionals to dictate notes, such software can work to enhance record-keeping methods by increasing time efficiency, accuracy, and organization.

The doctor also notes that the future of medical technology is bright. One area that he singles out in this regard is the advancement of artificial intelligence and related technologies. Though the presence of a human medical practitioner is still an essential part of the treatment paradigm that is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon, the use of artificial intelligence in the medical field holds plenty of promise for advancements in treatment quality. Such technology could help medical professionals diagnose ailments with greater accuracy and could provide additional treatment resources that might otherwise be unavailable.

While many of us may have personal preferences that affect our opinions of the medical professionals that help care for us, there are still many widely applicable practices that can help such professionals improve their skills as a whole. By looking to information from Dr. Alddo Molinar, we can begin to form an understanding of some of the ways that top practitioners ensure that they are delivering the highest quality of care possible.

Blogwebpedia- Interview with Anesthesiologist, Alddo Molinar

Bio

Alddo Molinar is an attending anesthesiologist at both Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital. As a first-generation U.S. citizen born to Mexican parents, expectations were high for him during his childhood growing up in Texas. However, it was clear from an early age that he had a natural aptitude that would allow him to not only meet but also exceed those expectations.

This fact was most apparent when examining his lifelong interest in medicine. Feeling drawn to a career in which could help others and relieve suffering, a career as a medical professional was an early goal in Molinar’s life. This desire would only intensify as he saw family members fall ill to cancer.

In the pursuit of his goals, Alddo Molinar attended Trinity University where he earned a BS in Biology. Following his undergraduate work, he attended medical school at The University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas where he was awarded the Bryan Williams Scholarship and became a member of the United Latin American Medical Students association.

The doctor’s residency was completed at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where he not only trained at the medical center’s Anesthesiology Institute, but also participated in additional training in the field of critical care medicine. This work would continue with a fellowship at the same medical center during which he served as Chief Fellow and trained in numerous other subspecialties including neurological and cardiovascular intensive care.

Interview

Alddo, tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a critical care anesthesiologist.  I am the physician that takes care of you when you need to get through tough situations, like surgeries or major illnesses.  I work in concert with your surgeon to get you through in the best possible way.  Usually, I work with an excellent team of nurses and aides as part of what is called a care team.  People often forget about the importance of their anesthesiologist because we are very much a “behind the scenes” doctor.   Among other things, we are critical to making sure your brain continues to receive oxygen, your kidneys continue to purify your blood, and you wake up in the least amount of pain possible.  I also have obtained extra training in Critical Care Medicine, which allows me to take care of the sickest of the sick in the intensive care unit.  The sicker you are, the more likely you will need a physician like me.

What is a recent idea you had and how did you bring it to life?

I was recently taking care of a patient from a different hospital system, the Cleveland Clinic, to be exact.  I needed to know the results of a test done at the Cleveland Clinic.  It would make a difference in taking the best care of this patient; the only catch was I needed to know soon – this patient required an urgent operation.  When I asked the nurse how they usually got the result of this study, she rolled her eyes and said it wouldn’t be here in time because we had to fill out a form on paper, send it via fax, wait for someone at the Cleveland Clinic to review the fax, find the record and fax it back.  The process would take hours in the best-case scenario and days in the more likely scenario.  The process was incredibly inefficient, and it left the sickest and most vulnerable patients at the most significant disadvantage.

Thankfully, we had recently upgraded to a new electronic medical record called EPIC.  EPIC was the same as the electronic medical record used at the Cleveland Clinic.  The Cleveland Clinic is a great place; I know this because I trained there.  How could I get the results of a test the patient had already undergone and paid for to take the best care of a patient today?

I initiated a process that ultimately led to a strengthened effort to link the two electronic medical records so they could communicate directly to avoid the inefficient middle steps, which still involves a fax machine. This process is now called CareEverywhere, and the software or operating system that made it possible is called EPIC.  Thankfully, many non-medical, highly skilled software engineers listened to clinicians like me to help make a positive difference in the lives of millions of patients.  Together, we make a tremendous difference!  For this, I was named a physician champion, an award I cherish to this day.  More importantly, the process I helped strengthen continues to exist and will exist for years to come.

What’s your favorite thing about your past job?

In my past job, I had the opportunity to be a department chairman, one of the lead physicians in a hospital.  I had a chance to shape a world-class team towards the best practices and impact the care of tens of thousands of patients.  I am most proud of how we integrated our workflows with the use of technology and an electronic medical record.  I am also proud of our effort to move an entire obstetrics service, with about 3,000 deliveries per year, to our hospital.  There is a tremendous amount of preparation that must happen before a new service starts in a hospital.  Also, the first case has to do well.  I did the first operating room delivery in our hospital in a theme that has persisted in my career.  When someone needs to do well, as someone who works well under pressure, I am usually involved in their care.

What are your keys to making yourself productive?

I stay organized, and I surround myself with people that hold me accountable.  I carry a composition book in my messenger bag as a journal.  I keep track of everything from meetings to projects (large and small), including the steps needed to complete these projects.  I also like to have multiple projects simultaneously, which allows me to move them along daily in various ways.  Often I am inspired during relatively mundane activities like driving home or waiting for my kids to fall asleep.  I usually take a quick moment to jot down notes and refer to these notes for further brainstorming, planning, and ultimately to see them through thorough completion.  The importance of who you surround yourself with cannot be underscored enough.  I believe we all have different strengths, and if you can line up these strengths well, you can form a Superbowl winning play.  Sometimes patients need Superbowl winning plays and a Superbowl winning team to get them through a hospital stay and home to their loved ones.  They simply deserve nothing less, whether in a big city like Cleveland or visiting family in an underserved part of Appalachia.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

I am at the point in my career where I understand my strengths and weaknesses and know I can make a difference one patient at a time.  I also know that I can use the armamentarium I have developed over a lifetime to help strengthen the system that cares for patients by further applying technology.  I think we need to be at the forefront of technological trends, including advanced monitoring and artificial intelligence to make the most meaningful impact on our patient population.  For example, I can envision a future where we use artificial intelligence to flag something happening in one of our operating rooms as a critical event, which can bring more resources to help that patient and avoid the downward spiral of an adverse outcome.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

I think it is essential to be flexible and highly adaptable.  I read a book by Joseph Campbell called The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  He describes the hero as a very ordinary person who is called to adventure.  The hero faces many battles along the way and gets “special powers” by overcoming battles, temptations, and failures.  The hero gains allies and enemies and learns how to fight both conventionally and unconventionally.  The hero seeks mentors along the way that provide advice about the path both far and close.  The hero also experiences failures along the way.  Every hero has at least one major fall in life.  Campbell calls this the abyss or being in the belly of the whale.  When the hero is in this phase, they undergoe tremendous growth.  While not losing the fear of failure, the true hero gets back up with the same grit, determination, and aggressiveness that propelled them to succeed before.  If you adapt and maintain your courage despite failure, you are very likely to succeed in life.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Medicine is a fascinating field.  In some ways, it doesn’t change much; in others, it is ever-changing.  If you look at something like pneumonia, or an infection of the lungs, you would initially think it has been around forever.  However, the causes of lung infection are varied, and the ways of treating this are many.  The specific bacteria, virus, or fungus causing pneumonia makes a tremendous difference in how you manage this.  You also have to support the body while giving it the best chances of succeeding in overcoming the infection.  Things like the best type of programming for the ventilator, the best nutrition, the best sedation become essential.  Medicine is also so vast that you have to stay on top of different studies that control for specific variables.  All of these require a lifetime of learning and remaining connected to the respective sources of literature.  The most important advice I can give anyone interested in pursuing medicine is to continue to learn.  I strongly suggest one hour of professional learning each day.  Sometimes you have to do more, but the emphasis is on small aliquots over long periods.  It should be such that you have covered everything in your respective specialties’ textbook at least every few years.  Conversely, you should not encounter anything in clinical practice that you haven’t reviewed in a structured formal manner within the past few years.  Medicine is very much a journey.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

I am the sort of person who likes to tackle big projects at work and home.  I enjoy the planning, budgeting, researching, and recruiting the best team.  I also like dividing projects into different phases and developing metrics to track success at each stage.  If you can string a series of successful steps together, you can achieve something worthwhile.  Besides being intellectual, I am also fairly good with my hands, so I enjoy working on projects around the house with the same attention to detail as in my professional life.  I am often found in the garage looking up the torque specs for a bolt or drawing a circuit diagram to understand the flow of electrons better.  There are many parallels between medicine and the physical world around us.  They both conform to the laws of physics, and understanding one often leads to a parallel solution in the other.  My next project is the restoration of a 1975 C3 Corvette.  When I want to get away truly, I enjoy playing golf.  There is something incredibly relaxing about being out in nature with a bag of tools trying to find the best way to finesse a ball into a tiny hole battling the laws of physics.  In golf as in life, even the small undulations on a green can affect a putt’s trajectory.  Similarly, a well-executed series of plays leads to an equally gratifying clink sound of a ball in the cup as a clapping sound high five after a job well done in the operating room. 

 I also really enjoy music, especially playing the guitar.  I grew up in Texas, so country music flows through my veins.  I met the love of my life from the great state of Kentucky, so I  have taken a liking to bluegrass.  One of my favorite songs is playing the fingerpicking part of  “Take me home, country roads” by John Denver.  I have a variety of other interests, and I have found that I can draw from these life experiences to best communicate with patients.  Speaking to patients and their families in a language they can understand is one of the most humanizing ways of caring for patients.

Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.

One of the best growth opportunities is related to failure.  Although failure can be trying, it is often necessary for meaningful growth.  I recently read a book by John Maxwell called Failing Forward.  This is an excellent leadership book that suggests that unless you are failing with some frequency, you likely aren’t pushing ahead enough.  Of course, you don’t want to fail too often, but if you’re going to have any chance of hitting a ball out of the ballpark, you have to swing big.  The second book that I recently enjoyed reading was The Serving Leader: Five Powerful Actions That Will Transform Your Team, Your Business, and Your Community.  The principal concept is that a good leader serves those in their organization.  Remaining grounded and humble, you can get far more done in life.  Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.

More about Alddo Molinar at https://about.me/alddo-molinar 

Ideamensch- Interview with Anesthesiologist, Alddo Molinar

Alddo Molinar is an attending anesthesiologist at the East Ohio Regional Hospital and the Ohio Valley Medical Center. Born and raised in Texas, the medical doctor is the eldest son of two Mexican immigrants. He was the first U.S. citizen in his extended family, expected to avail himself of the opportunity presented by his family’s new country of residence.

From an early age, it was clear the future doctor had the capacity to make good on that expectation. Picking up skills with exceptional ease, he reached many of his developmental milestones much faster than his peers. Early mechanical aptitude eventually led him to tackle increasingly harder projects, leaving appliances dissembled and reassembled to better understand how they functioned.

Fueled, in part, by the tragic losses of his grandfather and grandmother to cancer, Alddo Molinar would eventually turn his natural aptitude to medical school in order to use his skills to ease suffering in others. That decision led him to earn his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas and eventually complete his residency at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic.

That residency not only provided him with a training of the highest quality, it also introduced him to someone who would play a pivotal role in his life — his wife. After a courtship in which they navigated residency together, the two married and have since given birth to two daughters and a son. Alddo Molinar calls his close-knit family his new crew, showcasing the love he and his family have created in their home.

When reflecting on his life to date, the doctor notes that what he initially thought of as a destination has become an ongoing journey. That journey is built on values he learned from an early age and continues to lead him along his path of self-betterment.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

From as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. According to my parents, at the age of five, the dream started. However, when I lost my grandmother in 6th grade to the sudden and insidiously progressive disease of pancreatic cancer, my calling truly began to gel. She suffered needlessly as cancer robbed her of physical strength and vigor. She was deeply religious. Despite the incredible suffering she endured, from the agonizing physical pain, endless nausea and vomiting, and even the intractable itching from her jaundiced yellow skin, she remained a rock of strength in my life. I watched helplessly as our family went through the cycle of hope in medicine’s ever more aggressive therapeutic options, followed by the let-down of continued disease progression. Ultimately, we lost our matriarch. As an impressionable young grandchild, my resolve to help with suffering tempered. As I became older, I shadowed at the Rio Grande Health Clinic in El Paso, Texas. I found different ways of serving my community through various specialties while taking extra time with patients and their families. I continue the fight to this day – with all my training and all my might – against the formidable foe of disease.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The best analogy for what an operating room is like is a busy airport. Much like an airport has scheduled flights, the operating room has scheduled surgeries, often weeks in advance. Surgical instruments are sterilized, grafts or implants are made available, operating rooms are cleaned and restocked before beginning every operation. Also, like an airport has an abundance of specialized personnel, the operating room does as well. The pilots in the operating room are the anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists. They take the patient to high levels of anesthesia, where surgery can happen safely. Taking off and landing are the most challenging and often necessitate extra hands on deck.
A typical day begins the day before as a schedule develops to best accommodate cases in the most efficient manner. On the day of surgery, I wake up at 0515 in the morning, and I am in the hospital seeing my first patients at 0615. The first surgery starts around 0700, and it remains reasonably busy starting some rooms, watching others, finishing other rooms while seeing patients in the preadmission clinic to prepare for upcoming surgeries. It is essential to remain available to the preadmission clinic, the preoperative area, the operating rooms, the recovery rooms, the postoperative floors, the intensive care unit, as well as
the main desk as any of these, can turn into a hotspot where you need a well-trained anesthesiologist to stamp out disease or work through a process issue. Around 1000, I make protected time for my “10 o’clock cup of coffee.” It is a time to reflect on the progress of the morning and strategize to get the primary goals for the day accomplished. It is a fascinating and rewarding profession, especially if you can do it well. Teamwork and playing well with others is essential.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The first part of this has to be the quality of good ideas. Excellent ideas are relatively easy to bring to fruition as the need and momentum provide wind to the sails of progress. I often reflect during the day to find needs that breed good ideas. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it applies to ideas, this is no exception. Also, I immediately write these down for further brainstorming later. The second part of this, for me, is gathering a good team. Often, it is essential to bring multiple heads together for added perspective. I try to have clear goals. I believe in a well-documented mission statement to solidify purpose. It’s also essential to identify potential trouble and develop a plan for how to get through them. Inevitably there will be a setback, during which it is crucial to accurately diagnose the problem to get to the root cause. In medicine, the goal is to have the best outcome for a patient and their family, as timely as possible, with the best use of your healthcare system’s resources. The ultimate customer is the patient, and if you always do the right thing for the patient, simply put, everything else will sort itself out. Finally, the importance of the team cannot be underscored enough. The building, cultivating, maintaining, and nurturing your team is the key to delivering consistently excellent results. Much like a championship team, shared battles forge deep bonds and lead to an understanding of individual strengths. You would be surprised how wonderful it is to be a part of the championship-winning team that wins great battles for patients daily. Harnessing this esprit de corps sustains ideas better than any singular individual can. It is a privilege to be a part of this team.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that gets me very excited is the ever-increasing use of technology in medicine. We have come a long way since the 555 timer chip you could buy at Radio Shack as a kid. Microcontrollers and sensors are much more present now than ever. Our ability to monitor and administer therapeutics has improved exponentially since the middle of the 20th century. On the horizon is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as it relates to patient care as well as population health. In regards to anesthesia, it can help monitor many more patients and help bring important trends to the attention of the appropriate provider. One can imagine a situation where specific data points, like blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse oximetry, can be monitored in all the patients in a hospital. When specific trends are apparent based on alarms and algorithms, it would instantly flag and dispatch an advanced early response team to the patient’s bedside. On a postoperative floor where patients arrive after surgery, such as after knee replacement or abdominal surgery, there is a very fine line between patients getting enough pain relief without getting too much pain relief where they can stop breathing. Imagine asking Alexa to find any patients at risk of respiratory depression after surgery and ring your pager? Hundreds of lives per year could be saved in our country alone. Once the software is written, there is a minimal ongoing, and if it is the difference between your grandmother coming home after surgery or not – it is hard not to justify the effort. In this current climate of COVID 19, major players like Apple are taking the lead with heart rate, respiratory rate analyses to improve population health. With so many potential data points, you still need good medicine to find meaningful trends and develop the alarms and algorithms that would be the most beneficial. We still need generations of well-trained providers, but their impact can be even more significant. The appropriate use of technology to further the health and wellbeing of a patient or group of patients is one of the most exciting changes to medicine I anticipate in the next decade.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One of the greatest challenges is keeping yourself motivated. I watched a documentary a few weeks ago about Michael “Air” Jordan. Michael Jordan was ever-present. He would take the lessons of yesterday, spend countless hours on preparation, and worry about what he could do today to maintain an incredibly high standard. When he needed to, he would build a narrative in his mind that would help him visualize and ultimately deliver success. In medicine, you give so much of yourself each day. It is a tremendous privilege to help patients get better and get them back to their daily lives. Since patients get sick at all hours of the day, we often have to be on call after hours and weekends. During my call days, usually on Saturdays, I frequently call patients at home to follow-up—this feedback on how we did as a team and how we can improve our healthcare delivery model. The team also appreciates the updates of past patients served.
Also, I keep a running journal in the form of a wide-ruled composition notebook with me at all times. I journal ideas as well as keep track of ideas and track the progress of my goals to completion. Some of my entries even serve as a blank canvas to brainstorm ideas. Other entries are to-do lists to help prioritize through a busy day. By constantly reviewing and prioritizing my short, middle, and long term goals, I can better track and follow through on goals; I can make the most productive use of my work time. At the end of the year, my journal is a good way of tracking the accomplishments and accolades of the year that passed. I usually use this to send an email to the team of a job well done.

What advice would you give your younger self?

This is a great question. It is often said that many of us would gladly return to a younger self if only we could take the wisdom of age with us. Medicine, in many ways, is a calling where you can easily give too much of yourself. There is no-one that tells you that you have worked too many hours this week as a physician. We generally do not clock in and out, and even when we are “clocked out,” we still think about patients and progress outside of the hospital. Being a doctor is not something you can turn on or off; instead, it is a part of us and our identity. As such, I would tell my younger self always to find time to take care of yourself. Physical and mental health is vital and constant attention is required. A younger version of myself would easily spend days, weeks, and months on singular work goals. I understand why it is so easy to do this now; it is a just cause.

However, I now recognize the importance of balance. I still spend time on work priorities, but I also find time to go fishing with my daughters and son. I go on dates and even walks with my wife. Watering the garden and hanging out in the garage is therapeutic. I use meditation and yoga to keep me in the present. Conveying the importance of balance to my younger self would just be great.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

This is interesting because, as it applies to medicine, rarely do you do something that nobody agrees with you on. One of my mentors said that you never want to be the first person to prescribe a new medication or the last person to prescribe an old medication. If you carefully weigh the risks and benefits of each decision, with consideration of the alternatives, you generally arrive at the best answer, at least for now. It is relatively easy, once you know the diagnosis, to lookup the treatment. This is a fundamental tenet in medicine, and if you get the diagnosis correct, you have a chance at a reasonable outcome. Having trained at the Cleveland Clinic, our standard there was considerably higher. Aside from emphasizing the importance of collegiality and collaboration, there was also importance given to the timing. For example, once you make the diagnosis that a patient on an operating room needs blood, there are still many steps until the patient has red blood cells added to their bloodstream to make a difference. The sooner you can start this, safely, of course, the better for the patient. I do think that you can bring this same high standard to any hospital in the country. Appreciating the importance of timing is just one of the many ways to deliver world-class outcomes to less well served and represented communities. Sometimes it is even easier to deliver world-class outcomes at a smaller hospital because there less “red-tape.” I don’t think there is a general appreciation of this by larger institutions and sometimes even by the community.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I was fortunate to attend a liberal arts university that really made it mandatory to study many different subjects, not just the courses needed for a degree. I learned about Asian religions, cultural studies, music, etc. I really wish I would have taken more courses in finance realm and maybe even double majored or minored in business. It seems to do medicine well, you also have to appreciate fiduciary responsibility and be good stewards of our resources. I have had to learn much of this on my own but a more structured fashion, as provided with an undergraduate education would have been something I would do over.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I think it is incredibly important to continue to study. One of my previous department chairs, Dr. Dave Brown, who was on the board of the American Board of Anesthesiologists (ASA), quantified this best by saying you should spend one hour per day on professional growth. I continue to study and read an average of an hour a day. I usually try to find something throughout the day to delve into excruciating detail. Over the year, with additional dedicated time to scholarly articles, I can maintain an excellent working fund of knowledge. I usually print these articles and leave them around my desk to prompt discussions with my colleagues to keep our collective knowledge base well proficient.
As much as we have progressed to be a digital generation, I prefer to have something on paper to mark, highlight, and take notes on. At the end of the month, I usually scan these articles or file an electronic copy, so I have these articles readily available should I need to review them. To maintain our medical license and board certification, we are required to log a certain number of continuing medical education hours; I always try to be well above the minimum requirement.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I enjoy reading about successful people. It helps me understand their motivation and learn from their mistakes. It is clear that most extraordinarily successful people also have big, painful failures. The most important thing to do is to gather the lessons those failures give you and gain humility and open-mindedness to succeed the next time. Steve Jobs, on reflecting on getting fired from Apple, famously said, “It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.” The pain of failure will fade, but failure and reflection are the best gifts life can give to prompt profound personal and professional growth. In my own life, a young version of myself felt very self-made. I was the first in my family to finish college, to complete a graduate school, the first doctor, etc. I spent time at Yale and went to the best colleges and the 14th best medical school in the country in terms of academics. Yet, at the risk of revealing the importance of faith in my life, I realized that I was not very self-made at all, but I was very much supported throughout my journey by the good lord above. My journey came full circle back to my faith, and I became very much born-again. When I recognized this, I realized the importance of not-self but rather the team. The ability to cultivate, motivate, and promote a winning team was a better way of helping not just the patient in from of me but the system that cared for many patients at once. In fact, with humility, you can, in essence, become a better, more effective doctor. I too, have taken tough medicine, and am better for it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

As I mentioned earlier, whoever pioneers the use of artificial intelligence in medicine, especially in anesthesia, will make a significant impact on healthcare. Back to my airport analogy, you still are going to need pilots in the operating room. The power can glitch, and the delay in getting to backup power can reset the computer. What if the situation is in itself so critical that the generators are prone to failure like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. What if something simple like the monitor backlight fails. What if there is a cyberattack and you lose access to the patient information. I worked at a facility that was the victim of a ransomware attack, and we had to divert patients from coming to our hospital system. Ethically, it just isn’t right to target a hospital that is helping patients – this is like purposely aiming your weapons at a red cross ship or a hospital during a time of war. Nonetheless, we had to return to pen and paper until it was sorted. It is also natural for the operating room pilots to feel a concern for job security with the discussion of new technology. In fact, in the Boeing 737 Max 8 disaster, the more control was taken away from the pilots to override the technology, the worse the outcome. Anesthesia has long been at the forefront of using new technology to monitor a patient’s vital signs and even depth of anesthesia. So, whoever develops this into a working model first has significant potential to effect positive change. The challenge is that few coders have the training or credentials to understand medicine. Few physicians who have decades of education, training, and practice have any coding or understanding of microcontrollers or have any idea the number of sensors a simple website like digikey.com can provide. Marrying the two, especially with a team to get it done, can truly change the world. The business will undoubtedly follow.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Well, this is a no-brainer. My oldest daughter was recently hospitalized with a terrible infection that almost cost us her eyesight. She had to be hospitalized at our local children’s hospital, Akron Children’s in Boardman, Ohio. As part of her hospitalization, she had to have labs drawn, and it was excruciating as a parent to see her phobia of needles cause her to get flushed with anxiety and paralyzed with fear. She knew the importance of the lab draws. My wife and I are both medical, and we could convey that to her. However, the catecholamine release from her as a pediatric patient caused everyone else to be nervous. I could see this as a board-certified anesthesiologist. One of the best pediatric emergency nurses we have ever met suggested she try the Buzzy® Bee. It works by blocking and distracting the brain with a cold pad as well as a fairly strong vibration, the buzzing sound a vibrator makes, and the look of a Bee. It covers three of the five major senses (sight, touch, sound), and I would include hot/cold differentiation as a fourth. It was developed by an emergency room physician, Dr. Amy Baxter, and she apparently even pitched the idea to Shark Tank. At first, it seems a little pricey but as a parent seeing your child in distress, there is almost no price I wouldn’t pay to help ease her suffering.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Record-keeping in medicine is highly essential. It helps you remember what happened the last time you saw a patient, helps track progress, and it conveys your thoughts and plans to the rest of the team. Since your brain works much faster than your ability to type, the use of dictation software can significantly increase productivity.
I have used several, but Fluency’s M-Modal seems to be the one that works best for my workflow. As electronic medical records and dictation software alike help with record keeping they now also allow the use of macros, or quick buttons you can press to minimize the need to do repetitive tasks like opening a window, clicking tab twice, and starting a not with the patient name and date.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

One of my favorite books that I am re-reading at the moment is the book Principles. It is written by Ray Dalio, the CEO and founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the premier investment management firms in the world. I really enjoy reading about how Ray Dalio built a multibillion-dollar company first by developing a competitive advantage through careful study and dedication. Over the next 40 years, Ray Dalio built a world-class team, even using psychology tests to best position the team for success. I know this is more of a financial book, but the principles of making a successful team apply to medicine as well.

What is your favorite quote?

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more of it I have.”
—Thomas Jefferson.
This really emphasizes the need for preparation to do well. How often does someone wish you luck on an exam or a project presentation, only for you to think about all the blood sweat and tears it took to get to this point. Of course, I never turn down well wishes, but preparation is vital.

Key Learnings:

  • First, I would emphasize the importance of balance. It is really easy, especially if you are good at something professionally, to neglect the things in life that matter personally. Taking good care of your physical and mental health are first and foremost. Make spending time with your family a priority, simply put – your kids are only small once, enjoy.
  • Second, be humble. You get far more accomplished by speaking softly than you realize. The big stick is just for carrying. If you find yourself needing the big stick, you may need to rethink that tact or the idea itself. Surround yourself with a good team that can not only help get things done but keep you humble as well.
  • Third, if you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. To flip that to the positive, find a competitive advantage to compete with. Use all the technology at your disposal and push the boundary a few inches further.
    Mastering these three takeaways can really help make the world of medicine a better place. The cause is a noble one, and the stakes are high, but the journey is undoubtedly worthwhile and rewarding. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.