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Kristin Yates: An OB/GYN Doctor’s Perspective on Healthcare

Kristin Yates gives us an OB/GYN doctor’s perspective on healthcare as she talks with Rob Oliver on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast. In addition to having a private practice in New Hampshire, she is a Podcaster and a life coach for physicians experiencing self-doubt. Kristin is a member of the Millennial Generation (Generation Y.)

Here are 3 things that stood out as Kristin Gates presented an OB/GYN doctor’s perspective on healthcare:

· An OB/GYN gets to do a little bit of everything, primary care, surgery and delivering babies!
· Quality healthcare involves more than just talking about the patient’s symptoms, it’s important to understand
· When a medical professional receives medical care, it gives them a new and different understanding of the process

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Here is the transcript of Kristin Yates: An OB/GYN Dr.’s Perspective on Healthcare:

Rob Oliver: Thank you. And I appreciate you being with me today. My guest today is Kristen Yates. She is a podcaster. She is a life coach, but the reason that I have her on today is because she is also an OB GYN doctor. She is from New Hampshire, a member of the Millennial Generation Generation Y and, Kristin, welcome to the show.

Kristin Yates: Thank you so much for having me.

Rob Oliver: Absolutely. So we’ll jump right into it. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role in healthcare, please.

Kristin Yates: Yeah, I am, as you said, an OB GYN physician. I graduated from residency back in 2016, and I actually am in private practice. I own my practice with three other physicians, and I work in both an office and hospital setting, doing a variety about 50 50 OB and GYN.

Rob Oliver: Okay. Do you mind what drew you to that line of work?

Kristin Yates: Yeah. I think it was really more of a calling, like it chose me. We do a little bit of everything in medical school, and OB GYN was the rotation that I felt most at home at. I liked other things, but I just felt like a sense of like, this is where I should be kind of thing. I think clinically. I really like it because the only feel that you get to do a little bit of everything. Like, I get to do a lot of primary care, and I get to do surgery and procedures. And the cherry on top is, of course, delivering babies.

Rob Oliver: Excellent. Okay. So tell me, what does quality health care mean to you?

Kristin Yates: I think my definition has certainly changed over the years. I think in residency, you don’t really think about that. I think when you choose to become a doctor, when you decide you want to do that, you’re still focused on just getting through and getting the position of an attending physician that you don’t even really think about what quality healthcare is, which sounds kind of strange, I think. But unless you’re someone who has been in the medical system as a patient, it’s just not really on your mind. And I think once I became an attending physician and was an owner of my practice, I started to realize what actually mattered and my thought right now. And of course, the pandemic has probably shifted a little bit. But I think quality health care is healthcare that is whole and looks at a patient as their whole human self, which only part of that, I think, is physical. I think a lot. There’s also social, emotional, environmental factors, spiritual factors. And I think that in healthcare to be really quality and provide the best outcomes for patients. It’s going to include that holistic view.

Rob Oliver: Okay. So can you give me an example of what quality healthcare looks like?

Kristin Yates: It depends on the specialty. I think in my view, when I am providing quality health care in my office, in a patient who is having an annual exam, it looks like asking questions not only about their physical symptoms. Are they having pain with intercourse? What are their periods like from a gym perspective, this is what I’m asking, but it also looks like, who are you spending your time with? Do you feel safe at home? What do you do for fun? How do you relieve stress in your life? And when do you make time for you? So I think it’s really paying attention and recognizing that there are physical symptoms that tell us about how a patient is healthy. And there also are other things that might be more nuanced that would talk about would describe if a patient is healthy throughout their life and on all aspects of their life. I think we can’t define quality healthcare with listening as the number one thing. I think with time constraints in medicine now that’s become something that we’ve lost a little bit. It’s just being someone who’s listening without judgment to a patient and listening to their fears and concerns. So that is my number one role in my belief when I’m providing care.

Rob Oliver: So it’s about listening and hearing what they have to say. So let me just ask this, then. Some of the questions that you’re asking are very general. They are not specific to your area of practice. That’s kind of the holistic approach that you’re taking when you’re looking at the individual as a whole and not just for lack of a better term, the body parts that you specialize in. So is that part of the nature of your training? Is that part of the nature of your practice, or is that a practice that you would say could be generalized for anyone who is working in the medical field?

Kristin Yates: Well, I think it probably has some foundation in my training. That’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to Osteopathic medicine was there was there is that foundation of everything is kind of connected. So I certainly think there’s a foundation there from that. But the more spiritual and psychological aspect, I think, has come from experience with patience and experience as a human being and as a woman who has had medical care. But I think certainly it can be extrapolated and used by anyone in any field.

Rob Oliver: Okay, good. What do you wish people understood about your role in health care?

Kristin Yates: My answer might not answer your question directly, but what I wish people knew about people in healthcare and in general is that we are human beings, too. And I think for a long time physicians have tried to separate themselves and almost come across, as you know, not having other human characteristics like empathy and emotions or personalities. Sometimes it’s been this very this wall of I’m over here. I’m telling you what to do, and you’re over there, you’re supposed to just do what I say. And I think that I think real healthcare, what it is is that physicians or providers should be a guide for their patient, should be someone who can educate them, but then ultimately allow people to make their own decisions. And I think in many ways, when we can break down the barrier and put ourselves on the same playing field as patients and for patients to accept that, I think that’s what I would like to see more of in healthcare.

Rob Oliver: Okay. Let me just see if I can connect two things that you’ve said in some ways, what you’re talking about is the healthcare system, seeing the patient as a whole, and that for medical professionals, again, for lack of a better term, to be themselves as a whole. To understand that it isn’t just the expertise and the advice that you’re giving your patients. But what you bring to the practice is the entirety of who you are. Is that a proper understanding?

Kristin Yates: Yeah. I love that you put it like that. I think that’s exactly right.

Rob Oliver: Okay. Good. Well, finally, for once in my life, I think I have properly understood what a woman had to say. I’ve been married for 26 years, and I was starting to wonder if I actually had lost that ability, but I appreciate you.

Kristin Yates: It doesn’t seem so. All right. Good. So tell me, what excites you about the future of health care?

Kristin Yates: I think that I have to kind of take a bird’s eye view outside of this pandemic to go here. Of course, I think what excites me is that there are many physicians who are lowering that barrier and many other providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants who are allowing their humanity or their humanness to shine through and are coming off of this imaginary pedestal that physicians have been on for whatever reason and really trying to see patients for who they are and where they’re at. And I think that there are many providers now who are turning back to the basics of functional medicine, integrative medicine, what food are you putting in your body? How are you relieving stress and using that in order to help patients to be at their healthiest? So I think, actually, that excites me the most is kind of going back to the basics of how are you feeling your body? How are you relieving stress? Are you happy? Do you have good social support instead of having visits with dose changes and what medications and this and that.

Rob Oliver: Okay. I may be going back because you said I understood it properly. But what I think happens is physicians in the past have been on that pedestal where I’m up here, and I am passing my wisdom and knowledge along to you, the patient who is down here and it’s been a very what you’re talking about is kind of a shift in that power dynamic where the physician no longer has to have that air of superiority or that air of nonhumanity or to be afraid of their human side, because now it’s become more of a partnership in healthcare in which the patient is viewed as bringing a valuable perspective and having valuable input in the interaction as well as the doctor. And so the patient can be themselves, and you’re viewing them as a whole. The practitioner can be themselves. And it’s two humans working together to come to a mutually agreeable plan of care that satisfies the needs of both of them. How does that sound to you?

Kristin Yates: Yeah, that sounds great. That sounds perfect.

Rob Oliver: Okay. A bunch of speaking and I talked about quality health care from a patient’s perspective, specifically for medical professionals. And I think that what you’re talking about there is exactly it. That it’s got to become a partnership, and the patient needs to be an integrated and essential part of the healthcare team. What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of health care?

Kristin Yates: Listen more.

Rob Oliver: Okay. Tell me more because I’m listening.

Kristin Yates: I think that it’s easy for us to have an agenda and to cross boxes off. And because there’s a lot going on. Sometimes we only have ten or 15 minutes with a patient. We have messages in our in basket, we have lapse to review. So I think it’s easy for us to get caught up in that instead of seeing a human being in front of us. And I think that when we’re able to go in with the message or with the thought within ourselves as I’m here to serve this patient, and if I just let them tell me why they’re here and what I can do for them, then I’ll probably be able to help them more. So that’s kind of my mantra for myself. I ask myself, how can I best be of service to this patient today? And almost always it’s by opening up and asking, how can I help them or what brought them in and then just listening and not trying to assume that I know what’s going on or why they’re here and instead being really curious about what their underlying fears are, that maybe they don’t want to tell me in the first two minutes and that they’re going to want to make sure that they can trust me and that I’m really there to not judge them in order to give me that, give me their fears and tell me what’s really bothering them.

Rob Oliver: Okay. So I will just make a confession here. And that is sometimes when I’m in a conversation, but I’m listening with the idea of okay, what am I going to say next or what’s my next contribution going to be? And it sounds to me like you’re saying sometimes physicians are listening, but they’re listening in a way to say, okay, where can I jump in and solve this? What’s the problem that I can solve for them? How long do I have to listen before I hear them say, this is what the problem is, and then I can fix that, and I can get them on their way because I’m under those time constraints. Is that what I’m hearing you say?

Kristin Yates: Yeah. I think a lot of times that’s part of it. And we all do this. I think that’s just the busyness of life gets in the way. But instead, I think that brings a barrier, right. Because then if we’re trying to if we’re on our head having this conversation about what the patient like, what do we think they mean and how can I solve it? Then we’re missing all the subtleties of what’s their body language like. Do they look uncomfortable? Do they want to tell me more? But maybe they’re hesitant. Those things are subtle. And if you’re not paying attention, fully engaged in the moment, then you’re just not going to get that and you’re not going to be able to help them to the best of your ability.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. It’s so interesting. I’m thinking through this. And if you’re just going to listen long enough to hear them say, what is their presenting issue today? You miss out on all of the back side of that, and you end up you brought up the concept of functional medicine and you’re treating the symptoms and you’re not necessarily treating the problem. There may be other contributing factors, and if you address those other contributing factors, it may eliminate the symptoms altogether. Am I speaking in sense?

Kristin Yates: Yeah. I think you’re exactly right. And I can offer an example. I see a lot of patients with pelvic pain and many times many times. This is a woman who has seen other physicians who has had the symptoms for years and has been too scared to see someone about it. And what they tell me more often than not is that everyone’s told me I’m making it up. No one listens to me. They told me they just tried. They think I’m looking for narcotics or they just gave me narcotics or no one has helped me. It’s not to say that physicians don’t care. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think that they were probably trying to help. But the perspective of the patient is that they weren’t being heard. And I think so much of that is because of that inclination of let’s try to solve the problem as quickly as we can instead of being really curious about what are they telling me underneath that?

Rob Oliver: Listening to the subtext of sometimes what’s not necessarily being said or allowing them to get to the point where they feel comfortable saying what they may have been afraid to say earlier. Listen, Kristin, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you coming on I will happily put the links for your podcast and everything down in the show notes so that people want to check you out. They can do that. Thank you for being here and sharing your perspective on healthcare.

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.

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