INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA KREPS, MD
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
I have always had a desire to work with others and have an impact on their lives, so medicine seemed to always make sense within my career and life goals. Having a passion and strong aptitude for science, I also knew I wanted to pursue something within this realm. Going through undergraduate school, I pursued a Neuroscience and Behavioral biology major and was fascinated by the interconnectedness of the human body and felt this same interest as a medical student on my internal medicine rotations. Internal medicine provides you with a breadth of knowledge and capabilities and allows you to be the “point person” for patients, creating a more intimate role and impact on their lives. The field of internal medicine is also a very cerebral and highly intellectual field due to the challenging nature of diagnosing various seemingly unrelated symptoms (for example: arthritis, fever, fatigue, and rash are a few symptoms of lupus). At many points thus far in my career, I have had a “Dr. House” moment and it only reinforced my love of this field and continued passion for medicine.
“It is important to listen to patients and make sure they feel heard – this is a big issue in medicine as oftentimes doctors don’t give patients enough time to fully express themselves and this can impact their care.”
Have you ever been a patient, and if so, what did it teach you?
Yes I have, while in residency for that matter. It taught me many valuable lessons of which I continuously remind myself when taking care of patients, such as the vulnerability you feel as a patient and the trust you must place in doctors to act in your best interest. It is also important to listen to patients and make sure they feel heard – this is a big issue in medicine as oftentimes doctors don’t give patients enough time to fully express themselves and this can impact their care.
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
They can expect their first visit to be an hour visit, allowing the time to provide me with a thorough history including things not every physician may ask about like stress factors, sleep habits, and daily diet. By gathering all this information we can get to the root cause of their issues and not just provide a pill to fix it for the time being. Even medical issues such as high blood pressure can be very adversely affected by stress, food, and many other factors and by treating the patient as a whole, we can make a large overall impact on his or her life.
What makes you different from other doctors in your field?
I work in a more holistic manner, attempting to incorporate my practice more seamlessly with other healthcare services from nutrition to mental health counseling. I find that by providing these services with greater accessibility and communicating with these practitioners, we can take better care of patients. I have implemented a wellness package at my clinic known as an ‘executive physical’, where I bundle an internal medicine visit with nutrition, mental health, and chiropractic care. I then create a written report for a patient summarizing each practitioners assessment and plans to provide a comprehensive understanding of their health from several different angles.
“The misinformation on the internet makes it hard for patients to get physician-backed thoughtful advice about their symptoms and that is where Doctorpedia can step in.”
What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
There is a plethora of medical information out there readily available to the public but the quality of that information is not highly regulated. I often have patients coming into my office saying that they input their symptoms into an internet algorithm and it came out with some fatal diagnosis. The misinformation on the internet makes it hard for patients to get physician-backed thoughtful advice about their symptoms and that is where Doctorpedia steps in. I have always wanted to contribute to meaningful and accessible health information on the internet and Doctorpedia is providing that wonderful service.
How can Doctorpedia improve medical literacy?
By providing verified physician led information, we can provide the general public with thoughtful, scientific, and evidence-based medicine. The most important aspect is breaking down complex medical information into more simplified terminology so that people can understand the important points and utilize the information appropriately.
If you could spend a day with any person in the world (dead or alive) – who would you choose?
Probably Anthony Bourdain. He was such a fascinating, interesting, and witty chef with an amazing openness and perspective on the world. His ability to connect to anyone in any place over a common love of food and culture and history always fascinated and inspired me.
You believe in a multidisciplinary approach that allows you to identify and treat the root cause of patients’ health concerns. What does this approach consist of?
This approach consists of asking more questions of patients to delve into their everyday lives and the challenges they face on a daily basis to understand how that may be contributing to their medical issues. Another important aspect of this multi-disciplinary approach is working with other practitioners who can provide services to your patients that are out of your scope of practice such as therapists and nutritionists. By working closely with these services, we can also communicate closely to coordinate and improve the patient’s care.
Alongside your practice in primary care, you work with Maven Clinic’s online telemedicine platform to provide services via FaceTime and messaging to assist with various health issues and concerns. How can doctors utilize technology to improve doctor-patient communication and patient outcomes?
There are many ways we can use technology to improve our communication and provide more healthcare access to patients. Making doctors more approachable and accessible is critical in improving outcomes with increasing patient education and the ability to obtain medical support.
Alexandra Kreps, MD
Chief Medical Content Officer
Dr. Kreps is a board certified physician and native New Yorker who loves yoga, traveling and cooking. She received a BS in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and graduated cum laude from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Internal Medicine. She currently works as an assistant professor and primary care physician the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. She has a deep passion for internal medicine and delivering the best and comprehensive care possible.