INTERVIEW WITH KELLY FAN, MD
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
I chose to go into pulmonary and critical care medicine because this field allows me to work both as an outpatient and inpatient physician. In my outpatient pulmonary clinic, I build long term relationships with my patients after seeing them over the course of many clinic visits. It’s especially rewarding to see how therapies I prescribe can help my patients regain a sense of normalcy and independence back into their lives despite having chronic lung diseases. In the intensive care unit, I take care of highly complex patients as part of a comprehensive medical team. Both settings have their unique set of challenges which means there’s always an opportunity to improve my skill set as a physician.
“I believe understanding one’s disease is important. Patients who are informed have better compliance to the treatment plans and ultimately better outcomes. That is why I spend time each visit to answer my patient’s questions they may have about their pulmonary health.”
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
Pulmonary conditions can be complex requiring careful attention to detail. Whenever I meet a new patient, I make every effort to hear their side of the story by allowing them to talk freely about their condition. This helps me order the necessary follow up tests to confirm the correct diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is made, I then educate the patient about their condition. We talk about the disease and prognosis. Most importantly, we discuss the pros and cons of all treatment options including lifestyle changes, medications, inhaler therapies, and procedural or surgical interventions. I place high emphasis on non-pharmaceutical options including exercise, pulmonary rehab, and optimizing dietary habits. After our clinic visits, my patients can message me directly and expect a response usually within 24 hours. I acknowledge the anxiety of having to see a pulmonologist and strive to be available for my patients every step of their treatment course.
What is the most important factor in the doctor/patient relationship and why?
I believe one of the most important factors in the doctor/patient relationship is understanding the patient as a whole. Yes, as a board certified pulmonologist, I have a strong understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases. However, each patient is a unique individual with a story to share. Understanding the nuances of not just a patient’s disease process but also their social situation and personal beliefs is important in building trust and improving health.
This mindset guides my approach to patient care. I strive to always hear my patient’s side of the story and understand how an illness is affecting their life. I ask my patients to define how they envision we can improve their quality of life. By integrating the science and art of medicine, we can work together to achieve the best possible outcomes.
You recently joined the Doctorpedia team as a Founding Medical Partner. What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
I believe understanding one’s disease is important. Patients who are informed have better compliance to the treatment plans and ultimately better outcomes. That is why I spend time each visit to answer my patient’s questions they may have about their pulmonary health. My goal with Doctorpedia is to create a Lung Health Channel that is an extension of my clinic visits with patients. My content focuses on topics patients should know about their pulmonary conditions and questions I frequently encounter in the clinic setting. I want all patients with chronic lung diseases to be able to use Doctorpedia and find answers to questions they may have.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Basketball is my escape. No matter how stressful life can get, playing a game of pickup basketball always provides the rejuvenation I need. I was a much more dynamic player when I played competitively in high school. These days, I’m a lot slower and hang out by the three-point line waiting for an opportunity to make a play.
In addition, I love traveling and exploring new places both in and out of the United States. My goal is to explore 1-2 new locations every year. Highlights in the past few years include Boston, Washington DC, Key West, Hawaii, Vancouver, Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Bali, and Bora Bora. I’m definitely counting down the days to the end of our Covid-19 travel restrictions!
Kelly Fan, MD
Dr. Fan is a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Scripps Clinic with clinical expertise in advanced asthma, bronchoscopy, COPD, interstitial lung disease, lung cancer, pleural diseases and pulmonary vascular disease. Dr. Fan is a Doctorpedia Founding Medical Partner and the Chief Medical Officer of Doctorpedia's Lung Health channel.