#MDigitalLife is a WCG program designed to learn from and to showcase physicians who are blazing new trails in the digital world – changing the way that medicine is practiced and better health is realized. You can find previous posts here.
“The healthcare organizations who are going to do the best are the ones who can help and encourage their doctors to truly be a part of the community – to help make them human to the patients in the area. Those are the doctors patients will want to go to for the long term.”
After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, getting his MD from Northwestern and completing his residency in primary care at Washington University, Jordan Grumet was convinced that he wanted to be a hospitalist.
That didn’t fit properly, so he went into primary care with a large group at Northwestern. But that wasn’t quite right either. The sheer size of the group made it hard for him to really practice in a way that felt comfortable for him. So he joined a sole-practitioner in Highland Park, Illinois in 2007 and has been there ever since – now as a partner. The end.
Except that it’s not. It’s true that ALL doctors are people – which means that they’re all unique. But how many physician poets do you know? How about physician-poet-fine art dealers? Jordan is all those things. In addition to the work on his blog, In My Humble Opinion, Jordan is working on his first poetry book. In fact, Jordan’s journey into social media (and hence into MDigitalLife) started with a side project.
Several years ago, Jordan ran a web site selling fine art and figured that he’d need to start blogging in order to drive attention and subsequent sales. It wasn’t until 2005 that he came to the realization that the social media skils he’d developed could also be applied to his real passion – medicine and health. When you read Jordan’s blog, you’ll immediately notice some differences from most medical blogs.
“The remainder of the night was a blur. I couldn’t sleep because I was busy with other patients. The man’s wife and family came and went. It wasn’t till the next morning that the phone calls started to roll in.
Apparently my patient had three daughters from a previous marriage who were unaware of what happened. I took three calls that morning. I told three young women that they had lost their father. I waited patiently as they broke down. As I listened to their sobbing, I remembered what it felt like to lose my father. Each call lasted less then five minutes and left an indelible mark on my soul. I had never experienced a grief so pure and innocent as those young women’s. I will always feel responsible.
And this is what the chief meant by being “hurt.” If you practice medicine long enough, you will make mistakes. You will accidentally harm people. You will work long hours and deal with the most primitive human emotions. At some point you either learn to sublimate, learn to move on, or get crushed.
– Jordan Grumet, MD – excerpted from For My Son
A big part of Jordan’s blogging is for self-expression and his own development as a writer. But it serves two other important purposes.
The first is to help his patients to get to know him in a way that they could never do in a short appointment (or even in a series of short appointments). “Patients have to bare their souls to their doctors,” he says, “but unless doctors can find some way to equalize that relationship, they’ll never truly reach most patients.” As a primary care doctor, Jordan describes one of his chief roles is to be “the ultimate detective.” People come in with undifferentiated problems and symptoms, and you often have to work with them for months – or even years – to define their disease paradigm. 50% of any health problem has nothing to do with physiology – it’s about the psychiatric and emotional issues that come with it. And the more his patients know and trust him (to the point of being willing to tell him when they disagree, or when they’re not adhering to their treatment), the better he is at helping them to get better.
“When my patients see that I care, it forms an incredible bond. When they know that someone really understands, they just do better.”
Jordan Grumet, MD
The other reason for Jordan to do what he does is that he believes doctors have had their voice silenced by the system over the years – and that they need to regain it. They’ve been painted as BMW-driving villains by the media and other players in the health system – and there’s nobody to tell their side of the story. Through his writing, Jordan is laying down an example for other doctors – and in a small way, beginning to redress that balance.
“Doctors are human beings – and they have more in common with you than you think.”
– Jordan Grumet, MD
I, for one, couldn’t agree more … and I hope that doctors, patients, and people who simply appreciate good writing will visit (and subscribe to, and share) In My Humble Opinion.
A sample from Jordan’s physician reading list:
Westby Fisher – https://twitter.com/#!/doctorwes
Bryan Vartabedian – https://twitter.com/#!/doctor_v
Kevin Pho – https://twitter.com/#!/kevinmd
PDara – https://twitter.com/#!/jedipd
Jackie Fox: http://twitter.com/#!/jackiefox12
Ramona Bates – https://twitter.com/#!/rlbates
John Mandrola – https://twitter.com/#!/drjohnm
Linda Pourmassina – https://twitter.com/#!/lindap_md