Greengold recently shared some advice on making the most of an office visit with your doctor and explained how she ended up in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Consumers have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing doctors and health care providers. What makes a strong clinician?
Many clinicians are knowledgeable about health care, but the strongest, in my opinion, are those who have a keen awareness of people as individuals in addition to a broad fund of knowledge. The best health care is practiced at the individual level, and I believe that those clinicians who effectively blend the art and science of medicine, in the context of the patients in front of them, are the cream of the crop.
What advice do you have for patients who want to make the most of their office visits with their doctors?
In advance of your visit, write down some of your concerns so that you don't forget them - but don't try to cover everything under the sun. Prioritize your issues so that your physician can focus on the ones that are the most important. Give a very clear history of any problems, including the time frame and severity, trying to avoid going off on detailed tangents. If your physician is not able to cover all of your concerns during that visit, make a follow-up appointment to address those.
How can we best use technology to manage our health?
I think technology should be complementary to, rather than a replacement for, the clinical management of health. There are some great devices, such as blood-pressure cuffs and glucose monitors, to help people assess their conditions, and there are many apps, such as activity trackers and cognitive training programs, to try to prevent disease, to motivate and to help people live healthier, happier lives. However, it is my belief that technology should not be used as a substitute for physician judgment.
If I need to go to the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Emergency Department, will I have to wait long to be seen?
While wait times vary - depending on the severity of the issue and other factors - we aim to treat patients as quickly as possible. At Sharp Grossmont, we are trying to decrease ED wait times by improving our "throughput," which means that we are studying the patterns of patient arrivals and our triage system to try to better meet patient demand. In addition, we are actively looking at developing alternative care facilities - like urgent care centers - where patients can go for non-emergency issues.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I enjoy creative writing, hiking and swimming. In my spare time, I am trying to learn piano. I am pretty raw so don't look for me at the San Diego Symphony any time soon.
What is one of the most exotic places you've traveled?
One of the most interesting places I've ever visited is Russia. I went there to study the health care system, and lived in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) for two months. Although the architecture, rivers and forests were beautiful, the people were the most captivating element of my trip - warm, vibrant people who embraced the lost foreigner struggling to read the Cyrillic signs on the metro train.