From The Walking Meeting to The Walking Doctor Visit!



From Michael Mirochna MD’s blog post “The Walking Visit”

Based on this Lancet, August 2011, study, I recommend getting a minimum of 15 minutes of activity per day (walking counts, harder workouts get greater benefit, continuous benefit up to 100 minutes per day).

Why not further the movement about moving into the office visit with a patient?   On March 21, 2012, it all came together.  The weather was perfect, there was a follow-up visit for type 2 diabetes and hypertension which accidentally had a 30 minute slot booked, and finally, the patient agreed to trying out this new idea I had (he did seem a bit leery at first).  So out the backdoor of the office we went.

Definitely worth a read, and how cool is this? Very. Why?

At the end of my post “The Art of the Walking Meeting,” I said “One day I would like to practice medicine by going for a walk with patients….”

Actually, I had done it a few times, which involved walking a patient from my office to the office of a specialist for a quick consult. I remember those few walks as having the same benefit that I get today in walking meetings – better communication and the bonding you get by going somewhere with someone.

Michael ( @DocRockne ) has gone ahead and done it, and I really like that in the process he’s learned about the environment outside his medical office, social-determinants-of-health-style:

I had never walked the streets around my office and learned that there wasn’t sidewalk everywhere.  We are on the first floor, which makes for a quick and easy exit.  It takes 10 seconds to get from my exam room to the parking lot and another 45 seconds to get to sidewalk.  There might not be any walking if your patient doesn’t have the right shoes or clothing.  If the fitness level of the patient is really poor, walking and talking might be impossible.

What can we learn about our patients by going on walks with them that we wouldn’t by asking them to sit for us in an exam room? Probably a lot. Michael’s also explored what he can improve upon for the next time.

Speaking of walking with a doc, I also received a note from David Sabgir, MD, who has a program called “Walk with a Doc” which is at http://walkwithadoc.org. I didn’t know about this innovation, either, which hails from Ohio, but has a footprint across the United States.

I am always interested in the “why” someone innovates, and this video tells David’s story well:

So there we have it, people walking with people, doctors walking with patients, doctors conducting medical visits while walking. Innovation worth loving, many times over. Thank you Michael and David for taking the time to write, and write me, with your experience. If you’ve walked with a patient or your doctor for a medical visit, please post in the comments with your experience and/or link to your blog post.

View ‘I reserved a conference room for today’s #walkingmeeting’ on Flickr.com

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