A good doctor always … listens to his patents. Eighty-five percent of what we determine is based on symptoms, so you have to listen. Too many doctors take a shotgun approach and order a bunch of tests, when they should be more like a laser.
My typical patient is … someone complaining of abdominal pain or in need of a routine colon cancer screening, which is done every 10 years after 50 years old, or more often if there is a family history of colon cancer.
My biggest headache is … insurance authorization. We actually like Medicare. Once we know what a person has, if they meet criteria, they get a test, no authorization required.
The best advice I give: Lose weight. Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and there are only a few reasons why: People eat the wrong foods, and they are sedentary. The best advice I’ve gotten: Enjoy your job, because you are going to be doing it a long time. I thought I wanted to be a trauma surgeon when I was little, but they work all the time, and odd hours. I began to realize that if I was going to have a family I couldn’t be gone all the time.
My most memorable patient: A young woman, about 21, who initially survived cancer but eventually died about five years later. I remember her positive attitude. She was amazing for someone so young. Things like that give you a perspective.
One thing most people don’t know about my specialty: After Dr. Desai [and the colonoscopy scandal], are you kidding me? I would say that not all doctors are in it for the money.
The biggest difference with Obamacare is … there is a lot of uncertainty, and that’s causing a lot of good doctors to get out of direct care. We are losing a lot of primary physicians who get into other things like Botox treatments and weight loss.
What the health-care industry needs most is … more focus on patient outcomes rather than cost. We are a service industry, so the better job we do the better we should get paid.
In 10 years, health care … will only improve. There are signs of reforms that will put the focus on accountability, so we will be focusing on outcomes, and rewarding doctors for a good result and not on costs.
Avoid seeing me by … eating a healthy diet, exercising and reducing your stress.