By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, February 01, 2013
Finding your sweet spot... seems like the perfect expression to think about in February.The first time I heard this expression was in sports. My coach — I was doing a bunch of speed skating at the time — used it to refer to that most perfect form where resistance in skating would be at the minimum, and hence you could move the fastest. It always seemed to me to be the art of trying to defy nature and outsmart her gravitational forces. In essence, it was what allowed you to skate your best. I found it a sort of scary spot, but exhilarating as well. I’ve since often thought of this concept in other parts of my life. Like the moments I’ve pushed myself in my career. Again I felt the same adrenaline rush as I’d realize that I could push my boundaries a bit further, thereby expanding my horizons. Not always a comfortable spot and hard to reach, but always satisfying once I got there.
I like the notion of Dr. Hensin Tsao’s that scientific discoveries have sweet spots too, that spot where we can outsmart one of our adversaries, cancer. His formula about getting there really intrigued me. The three parts are: the need to scientifically identify the target, develop the ability to interrupt what is malfunctioning, and ensure an economically viable solution, so that companies will develop medications that meet those specifications. Sweet indeed to think that as personalized medicine comes of age we will have drugs that allow us to turn cancer into a chronic disease that can remain under our control for decades. The early progress of our recent weapons against non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma are exciting, but the subsequent recurrences are frustrating. Still, it is so exciting to think that we may be on the verge of this new ability of science to move medicine to the next level. Sort of like my skating ... it takes so much to become better than we already are, but the effort is always well worth it.[pagebreak]
This month I am happy to report that we will now be running our Legally Speaking column every month and adding a new author to the mix. You, our readers, have clearly liked this information. We noticed, though, that our view was from on high. So the staff and I thought that you might like some legal views from down in the trenches too. Cliff Lober, MD, JD, will provide this view. His first topic is what the legal obligations are to a patient who has been mistakenly put on your schedule and shows up in the office. I think that you’ll enjoy his chatty format, which will make it easy to learn what we need to know to keep our practices out of legal trouble. I expect that you will really like this new column, and that this will be another one of DW’s must-reads!
One more sweet spot this month; I am excited about our practice management column. Included in Rachna Chaudhari’s piece is a monthly calendar of tasks to keep our practices flowing. As a devoted list-maker, I find that anything that winds up on my lists actually has a pretty high likelihood of getting done. So, her list of what needs doing to manage our practices broken down month by month really appealed to me. The article reminds us that February is the month to plan your budget for 2013. While I can’t really say that budgets in general thrill me, I do know that I get a certain peace of mind once they are done since I can then tell if I’m on track with my plans or not. So, despite the pain of its assembly, I encourage you to get going if you’ve been functioning without one! And take a glance at Rachna’s suggestions for the rest of the year too while you are at it.
And so, in closing I will wish you each a very sweet February. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Enjoy your reading!