INTERVIEW WITH BHUMI UPADHYAY, MD
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
I actually wanted to be an engineer because my dad was an engineer (he was my hero), and I would love to fix things in the house with him. Before my senior year, I had an internship (I won’t mention the place, but it was with an engineer.) We were working on an interesting topic, but it was just work and no social interaction. I decided I could not do this all my life. I know it was only one experience, but as a teenager, you only need one exposure to make an impression. I started to think about other fields where I could “fix” things and be social. Medicine was the answer!
Once I made my decision about medicine, I chose pediatrics because of the “happy” nature of that field. I never saw a cranky pediatrician! I never saw a tired and exhausted pediatrician – they always had energy! My husband would always joke, “you pediatricians can work until you’re 90 years old because you love what you do!” Also, I am short, so I wanted to be taller than most of my patients!
“It is so important to me to have good communication with my patients and family.”
Have you ever been a patient, and if so, what did it teach you?
I was a patient just recently. I had an abscess formation after surgery and was in the hospital for 6 days. I was shocked at the poor communication amongst all the personnel. I was lucky that I knew this field and was able to advocate for myself and my husband (who is also a physician) was able to advocate for me when I was too sick. I worry about those who do not have that advantage. It is so important to me to have good communication with my patients and family.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Traveling and hiking,
What are the most important qualities for a doctor to have?
A good doctor must be intelligent, well read, dedicated, and possess excellent communication skills. I see too many doctors who want to clock in and clock out and rush through patients if overloaded. The key to being a good doctor is knowing when a patient needs you.
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
My patients and family know that I listen, I teach, and I discuss. This is a relationship of mutual respect. I will always tell you why I recommend something or why I do not. My patients should never leave the office confused about the plan. I may not have a diagnosis but they know the plan. My families will also get a caring and understanding doctor. As a pediatrician, we sometimes need to place ourselves in the parents’ shoes. How nervous would you be if your child is sick? Always listen to parental concerns.
“The key to being a good doctor is knowing when a patient needs you.”
What is the most important factor in the doctor/patient relationship and why?
Trust and communication are the most important factors. I tell my families that most doctors have similar knowledge, as we have passed our boards and do continuing education. What is more important is how we communicate with the families and how they are assured we want what is best for their child. Once they know we want the same things for their child, they trust us.
What makes you different from other doctors in your field?
I feel like I truly try to educate my parents. Whether it is about the medical process of why newborns can be jaundiced, or why some kids have more ear infections, or how to start infants and toddlers with healthy nutritional habits – it’s all about informing. Technology has given patients access to so much information that I want to make sure the families leave my office with the proper resources.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a doctor?
Looking back to my love of math and engineering, I would go into computer science if I was not a doctor. Computer science wasn’t a popular path 30 years ago but if I was exposed to it, I may have chosen it. Technology has changed our world exponentially in such a short period of 20-30 years.
What problem do physicians face that Doctorpedia can help solve?
As physicians, we want our patients and families to make informed decisions and know as much as possible about disease processes or treatments. However, with no regulation on what information gets put on the internet (e.g. blogs, websites) patients do not know what information is scientifically correct and what is just opinion or propaganda. Pediatrics has faced this for years with vaccinations. Doctorpedia can provide a legitimate, scientific place for patients to look.
If you could spend a day with any person in the world (dead or alive) – who would you choose?
Honestly, it would have to be Da Vinci or Elon Musk! Both are geniuses who advanced humankind in many facets of life. Their knowledge and expertise goes beyond one subject. Just to talk to them and see how they think would be mind blowing!
You recently joined the Doctorpedia team as a Founding Medical Partner. What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
As I noted above, I love to teach and educate. I had started my own YouTube channel just so that my patients can get information, so when I saw what Doctorpedia was doing, it was a perfect match!
Bhumi Upadhyay, MD
Dr. Upadhyay is a Board Certified Pediatrician and an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Upadhyay is a Doctorpedia Founding Medical Partner and CMO of Doctorpedia's Pediatrics Channel.