Breaking The Boundaries You’ve Set Yourself: Thoughts and Events To Inspire Your Tech Journey

How do you learn about tech as an outsider?

For awhile, before The Medical Startup became an idea, I was toying with creating something in tech.

I was a full-time doctor in a Melbourne hospital, spending all my spare time studying for fellowship.

When you’re at that stage in your career, you’re usually facing another four to six years of focusing on fellowship full-time.

I was surrounded by peers who were working towards the same goal.

It was all we knew at that time. We’d forgotten what life was like pre-training, it was deemed a “waste” if you paused for breath, and it took a long, long time to learn to breathe above water again.

So it seemed impossible.

But when you start to act towards those “strange” goals, the world opens up beyond anything you’d imagine. 

Attending events and online webinars helped tremendously. I was surrounded by others who were teaching themselves, too.

I started learning how to adapt to new environments, even more new than running a Code Blue at 3am.

I started learning the lingo of life outside of medicine.

And the love of learning I have for medicine sustained me through this journey, too.

So here’s a thought for the next time you’re thinking, “I can’t do this” or “It’s impossible, I have no background in this area.”

Think laterally about what you’re telling yourself.

Is it really impossible?

Continue reading “Breaking The Boundaries You’ve Set Yourself: Thoughts and Events To Inspire Your Tech Journey”

Doctors, You’ll Never Be Good Enough- And That’s Okay

(Edit: updated title 12 May ’17)

Like many in the medical world, I’ve been deeply saddened by the suicide of a Brisbane gastroenterologist, the father of four children, the husband of a loving wife.

I don’t know them personally, but am touched by the email that his wife wrote and son sent online- which has triggered a flood of goodwill from his patients (the Facebook comments on the CourierMail post are so heartening) and from other health professionals and members of the public, who, like me, may not have known him personally, but felt devastated by this very unnecessary loss.

So what can we do? How do we stop others from thinking the only way out is suicide?
What’s the worst that could happen if you choose NOT to die?
 
Your patients may be looked after by other colleagues, or will find other specialists.
 
Your family will be concerned and worried about you, but they will be happier that you’re taking time to recover.
 
Your colleagues will most likely be concerned about you too, not mean-spirited. (If they are, why choose to work with them or choose to listen to them? What do they know about who you really are?)
 
Maybe part of it is our fear of delegating responsibility for our patients to others when we’re too crushed or sick to continue. Handover is so complex- even more as a consultant in private practice for many years. You would have built strong relationships with some of your patients who’ve grown with you; with your staff; with your routine. You would know their test results and the dates of their treatments off by heart.
 
And of course, when a patient dies, it is never easy.
 
Just because you’ve dealt with a patient’s demise or deterioration over and over again during the years, it doesn’t mean your feelings will be bulletproof forever.
 
And then, you also may fear delegating the responsibility of your struggles to others, to psychologists, to counsellors, to psychiatrists, or to a friend who’s a listening ear.
You’re good at curing patients. Why can’t you cure yourself?
You’re feeling enormous responsibility. Why burden others with that terrible weight?
 
There’s so much blame in medicine. We constantly want to be better. It’s the mark of a true professional, a craftsperson even in other professions. You want to better yourself.
 
But even doctors are only human.
 
Maybe we think it’s the absolute end, there’s no way out if we step back for a few days, weeks, months, years- it’s too terrifying at that moment to deal with the enormity of a future you don’t know.
 
We try too hard to control our futures and our patients’ futures, but as doctors and health professionals, and even startup founders, even we can’t control everything.
 
Maybe it’s time to recognise that and embrace it as something positive we can learn to live with.
But don’t do it alone.
Please seek help, no matter what your journey is.
Condolences and respects to Dr Bryant and his family. 
People may look like they’re doing okay on the outside, but are actually screaming for help inside. Please be kind to each other and ask directly, “are you okay?” 
Some useful sites/resources in Australia if you’re seeking help or contemplating suicide:
R U OK? suicide prevention
Victorian Doctors Health Program (please reach out even if you’re not living in the state, people are always happy to suggest other resources)
– your GP
– a psychologist
– a counsellor
– the AMA, which has other links to Drs4Drs which lists resources for Doctors in each State/Territory, and other sites; and the Australasian Doctors NetworkAustralasian Doctors Network which advocates for doctors’ health.
Online video calls to a psychiatrist (you’ll need a GP referral but it is bulk billed)
Lysn, a provider of online video calls to a psychologist
– your work’s Employee Assistance Program (many public and private companies including public hospitals in Australia, possibly in your country too, offer this free confidential service through external providers. The RACP also offers this, and probably other fellowship colleges do, too. Don’t be afraid to ask your HR or Workforce managers about this; it’s your right as an employee, and they are human, too, and know everyone goes through stuff.)
Feel free to list other resources you’ve found helpful below in the Comments. 

How Can Facebook’s Spaces VR Program Help Patients and Consumers?

Overnight at Facebook’s F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg officially announced the launch of Facebook Spaces in beta. Using the Rift platform and available on the Oculus store, purportedly all that’s needed is Oculus Touch and an Internet connection.

Essentially, this means Facebook is adding virtual face-to-face interaction. This is a huge win for patients and healthcare consumers.

There are several ways in which we think virtual reality through Facebook will help patients, consumers and clinicians.

Patient communities are a burgeoning interest in healthtech. The Mayo Clinic Connect is an online messaging and education platform where patients and carers can chat with others suffering the same or similar illnesses. Australian app CancerAid is also building patient communities and sharing the burden of cancer with the millions affected by cancer worldwide, through their app for iOS and Android. Imagine the potential for communities to virtually “talk” with each other.

Continue reading “How Can Facebook’s Spaces VR Program Help Patients and Consumers?”

Job Opportunity: Psychiatrists For Telehealth Consults With Conduit Health

Australian Telepsychiatry service Conduit Health are seeking Expressions of Interest from Consultant Psychiatrists registered with AHPRA to join their service.

Conduit Health, Telepsychiatry Service. Photo courtesy of Dr Gregory Sam.
Conduit Health, Telepsychiatry Service. Photo courtesy of Dr Gregory Sam.

Conduit Health was formed when psychiatrist Dr Gregory Sam realised he and his colleagues around Australia needed a solution to serve isolated patients in rural, remote and even residential communities in a high-quality, efficient way. Conduit Health provides services including general psychiatry as well as child and adolescent psychiatry, aged care, and other subspecialties. Benefits of working with Conduit include:

  • job flexibility;
  • working from home;
  • the ability to build your private practice;
  • an electronic medical record service (EMR);
  • all administrative tasks being taken care of (billing, scheduling and typing).

If interested, please contact Sara Ng (Business Development Manager) with your CV, your Expression of Interest and a copy of your qualifications at sara.ng (at) conduithealth.com.au.

Read about founder Dr Greg Sam’s story here. 

Sign up to our mailing list to hear of other job opportunities, and visit our Jobs board here. 

Stanford Medicine X Will Stream For Free This Weekend

One of the benefits of broadband and streaming technology is that hard-to-reach events for medical education can be attended from across the world. Stanford Medicine X is acknowledging this and streaming their live conference on the future of medicine this weekend, all the way from California.

The link to attend is here: http://stanford.townhallwebcasts.com/#/events/MedXEdLive

Convert your timezone to match the conference time at this link.

A great interview with one of Stanford Medicine X’s team, Dr Larry Chu, has also been posted here. You can learn about his thoughts on the future of medical education, and how important it is for healthcare workers, consumers and patients to collaborate and communicate across disciplines.

The Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship is open for applications; read more to apply. 

Read about a young Australian surgical resident who won the Google Impact Prize Challenge with his PhD project, supervised by a Stanford graduate. 

Sign up for our mailing list to be notified of other updates in The Medical Startup world. 

Singapore Stanford Biodesign Paid Fellowship Open for Applications

If you’ve ever wanted to experience medical innovation in Asia, this opportunity is for you.

The Singapore Stanford Biodesign Fellowship gives clinicians, engineers, developers, designers, and other aspiring healthcare innovators the opportunity to be immersed in a healthcare innovation project for a year. A unique program that unites diverse career pathways, the SSB Fellowship comprises five months at Stanford in America; immersion and project rollout in a Singaporean hospital; and a three-week clinical immersion in another Asian hospital outside of Singapore. Similar to the original Stanford Biodesign Fellowship, a stipend is included for the program’s duration.

Members of the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship team. Pic courtesy of SSB.
Members of the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellowship team. Pic courtesy of SSB.

The clinical theme for the year is selected by SSB’s Board members, challenging participants to develop valuable experience in areas outside their usual training. New ideas are stimulated when an orthopaedic trainee is given an obstetrics focus for the program; similarly, we believe strongly in thinking outside the box to generate better medical solutions.

Some of the program’s previous fellows have gone on to commercialise their projects and been listed on Forbes’ “30 under 30.” There is an option to extend the program for a further period of time after the initial year.

Entries close 2nd May 2017. Preference is given to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents; however, it’s worth a shot if you’re passionate about healthcare and medical technology in Asia. For more information, please visit ssbiodesign.org.

To hear about other programs and opportunities, sign up for our mailing list

Coming Up This Week: Digital Health Show in Melbourne

The Digital Health Show has moved to Melbourne this year.

Tickets are available for their Summits (single or two-day passes) and free EXPO passes.

Learn from international and local speakers and presenters about the various ways you can get involved with eHealth in your area.

We were inspired by the Aged Care/Geriatric Medicine innovations at last year’s event, as well as other highlights which you can read more about here.

Tickets are at digitalhealthshow.com.au

 

You + Career ≠ Self Worth

It’s devastating to hear of yet another young doctor suicide in Australia.

As the papers report, the 4th known in 6 months; probably many more unreported.

That doesn’t include the statistics for other healthcare professionals in Australia, or of those who work within healthcare; and of course, those from non-healthcare professions, too.

We don’t know the victims personally, and we’re not going to pretend we know their story.

But we know our own stories.

The pressure of our careers and perfectionism in the age of Instagram is higher than ever, and we want to remind everyone:

Your career is not your value as a person.

We know it.

And we can give advice on how things can change in the healthcare profession.

Because, this may not surprise you, these exact same issues crop up in the startup world, too. 

Continue reading “You + Career ≠ Self Worth”

Book Review: Programming Your Mind For Success Through “She Means Business” by Carrie Green

We came across Carrie Green and The Female Entrepreneur Association via Facebook awhile ago. Having benefited from being a part of their community, and having experienced Carrie’s work firsthand, it was a delight to see that her book is now available worldwide.

Carrie's book

Carrie’s book “She Means Business” is available at Australian and international bookstores as well as online. Pic: The Medical Startup

We gain a lot of medical startup lessons from other industries, and Carrie has built an industry-agnostic community based on her experiences as a sole female founder of a tech company. She did this while studying Law in the UK, creating a mobile phone-unlocking business back in the pre-smartphone era. She taught herself how to build a website, and showed how just launching (even when she felt the website wasn’t that attractive) helped her business progress faster. (“Done is better than perfect” in many cases!) According to “She Means Business,” her business turned over $50,000 a month. But she was unhappy, and realised meaning was missing from her life.

 

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Interview with Dr Linny Kimly Phuong, Founder of The Water Well Project

Happy International Women’s Day!

Future Paediatrician Dr Linny Kimly Phuong created The Water Well Project as a solution to the problems she saw in migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with varied degrees of health literacy. This not-for-profit runs free health education sessions for people of refugee or asylum seeker background. Volunteer healthcare professionals host education sessions on common health topics, such as healthy eating, and navigating the Australian healthcare system.

It’s a win-win for all parties. Not only do attendees regain a much-needed focus on their health, and learn what healthcare resources are available to them, particularly after traumatic life events; healthcare professionals also improve their communication skills and life perspectives by meeting people of diverse backgrounds.

Dr Linny Kimly Phuong with other committee members at a City of Melbourne Awards presentation. Photo courtesy of Linny and The Water Well Project.
Dr Linny Kimly Phuong (2nd from left) with other committee members at a City of Melbourne Awards presentation. Photo courtesy of Linny and The Water Well Project.

The Water Well Project was named to represent the safe space and traditional communal meeting place where many communities worldwide meet and talk whilst collecting water.

Through her work, Linny has gathered a great team of volunteers to help deliver sessions around Victoria; and was a state finalist for the Young Australian of the Year, all whilst completing her General Paediatrics and Paediatric Infectious Diseases training in Melbourne. If you’d like to support The Water Well Project through volunteering, donations or partnerships, please visit thewaterwellproject.org.

We learnt about Linny’s journey below.

Continue reading “Interview with Dr Linny Kimly Phuong, Founder of The Water Well Project”