INTERVIEW WITH DR. KYLE BICKEL
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
In college, I initially majored in art with the intention of creating a career as an artist and changed my major in my junior year, when I decided to attend medical school. It was only at the very end of my 3rd-year rotations, when med students are exposed to the specialties and allowed to participate in clinical care of patients, that I was first exposed to surgery.
“I gravitated to reconstructive surgery, which I found both challenging and creative, not in small part because of the artistry involved in the procedures.”
The first time I entered the operating room to observe surgery, I knew in my heart that I would be a surgeon.I gravitated to reconstructive surgery, which I found both challenging and creative, not in small part because of the artistry involved in the procedures. It was an opportunity to combine my passion for medicine and science with my artistic sensibility.
Have you ever suffered a hand injury (either major or minor), and if so, what did it teach you?
I’ve had a number of injuries from sports, including hand and wrist fractures, but none of them required surgery in the past. More recently, I’ve had numerous cumulative and traumatic injuries and have been a surgery patient for both hand and other types of surgery. It has been an enlightening experience.No amount of exposure and inherent compassion as a surgeon can substitute for the empathy one gets from being a patient! It’s made me more patient with people in my practice. It’s allowed me to communicate with patients more effectively, as I now know much of what patients actually feel and are concerned about before, during, and after surgery in a way I didn’t fully appreciate before. Nothing is ever more instructive than being in someone else’s shoes.
What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
Despite all of competing pressures placed on physicians in the last several decades, I still firmly believe in the centuries-old art of being a physician, an art that is based on the doctor-patient relationship. I still believe that in that process there lies a magic that can’t be duplicated or replaced by technology, cost-cutting processes, or shortcuts. Patients come to me with pain, disability, fear, weakness, and anxiety. They want more than anything else I can give them, to sense that I understand how they feel, and that I can offer them help. Doctorpedia is patient-centric. It is directed at specific diagnoses and provides straightforward information for patients about how to understand their condition and how to find help. It is based on physician communication from actual experts and not just a compendium of facts and a barrage of advertisements. I believe that patients will find it more closely replicates the doctor-patient conversation they’re seeking when they reach out for care.
What problem do physicians face that Doctorpedia can help solve?
Patient education before a physician visit can be a double-edged sword. Misinformation, or information that is not tailored to a patient’s level of understanding, can complicate the job of a physician in very real ways. Doctorpedia can be a direct-to-patient resource for very useful information about a patient’s condition and guidelines to help them navigate their way to the appropriate physician for expert care, having already learned about what their problem may be, what they are likely to need, and how to get it. It “primes the pump” in a productive, rather than a destructive, way.
“Patient education before a physician visit can be a double-edged sword. Misinformation, or information that is not tailored to a patient’s level of understanding, can complicate the job of a physician in very real ways.”
What do you like best about Doctorpedia?
The video format, which provides patients with a personal experience from an actual physician expert. People relate to people better than to words on a page.
How has your experience been thus far working with the Doctorpedia team and advisors?
Excellent. I’m excited about the platform and the opportunity to work with so many passionate and skilled people on a valuable project with such great potential.