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What are ethics and why are they important?
Public

PM Justin Trudeau, politics and tech giants.2019-03-12 Dr Z.Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Ethics are a big part of our lives as principles that govern our actions. Doctors take an oath to serve the patient's interest and not their own or that of others.

We expect ethical actions of people involved with our daily lives: teachers, accountants, professionals, merchants and others. It is the basis of the trust we have in them. We depend on them as people with privilege and power over ourselves, children and others.

It's not just ethics in medicine and health: it's ethics in politics, in technology, in corporations and the list goes on. People are growing more concerned about the decline of ethical leadership in politics and also business tech giants like Facebook, Google and others.

What happens when an individual's actions run contrary to ethical principles?

The late Dr Morris VanAndel, a well-respected GP and subsequent Registrar of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, reminded doctors in 2002 this way: "An ethical principle, by nature, is not modified by circumstances, regardless of the validity or justification of the reasons leading to the action."

Dr Karpiak on Bill Good CKNW - Bureaucracy in health care is not sustainable
Public

Dr Dennis Karpiak, Internist and former BCMA Board Director from the Interior of BC speaking on the Bill Good Show CKNW radio 980 on July 10, 2012.

"It's become increasingly more difficult to sustain a practice in this province."

"The BCMA 20 years ago formed the Regionalization committee that predicted the rise of bureaucracy and a decline in patient care funding."

"Currently you can walk through any hospital and you'll see more administration offices than patient rooms."

Listen to the whole interview.

Understanding Generations X, Y, Z and more
Public

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the growing list of names for different generations; boomers, gen-X, millenials, zoomers and what follows? Here are a couple of links that may help.

BC Covid-19 Survey gets quite personal
Public

BC Covid-19 SurveyThe BC Covid-19 Survey has just been launched and people can participate until the end of May 2020.

The survey takes longer than the 10-15 minutes claimed and while the survey does allow people to answer anonymously and answer only the questions they wish to, it does include a number of questions that reveal a lot of private personal information including the individual's PHN if they wish.

Requirements to be Deputy Registrar at College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSBC) – Is something different?
Public

Z. Essak, MD – Vancouver, BC – 2015 Apr 23

medical regulation shield imageThe College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is looking to hire a new Deputy Registrar with the deadline for applications of April 30, 2015 fast approaching.

Is there something different about the experience required in this job posting – “a career opportunity in medical regulation”?

The proven experience and qualifications all candidates should have begins with, "minimum 10 years of senior administrative experience in a complex health-related organization (e.g. regulator, health authority, association, etc.)"

Also the requirements, while including "medical degree preferred", are open to others with "master of business/health administration or law degree also accepted".

Is this a sign of changes or a shift underway at the College (CPSBC)?

Don't get swept away by the spin on health care
Public

medical spin2016-08-22 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

We better be careful not to get swept away by the spin of BC Liberals pre-election buzz.

And when it comes to the spin on health care they're not alone.

The same spin seems to be coming from the leaders of the medical association DoctorsOfBC. Is this the result of being co-managers of BC healthcare for almost a decade through the GPSC and other initiatives?

Is it any surprise they are all so complimenting of each other?

What are we to believe? That they have a plan? That it's going to work, someday, soon?

Yes, the plan to spend tax payer dollars is happening. Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions over budget. So where are the results?

Burnout and Resilience
Public

Vancouver BC - Oct 19, 2011.

burning candleA talk on burnout in doctors at a recent conference in Vancouver provided good information and stimulated further exploration.

During questions the speaker said the prevalence of burnout in doctors is 20 percent and tends to occur in pockets or clusters.

The talk focused on burnout resulting from lack of recognition while caring for others. Although burnout can also result from lack of recognition from colleagues and co-workers, lack of resources, and degree of bureaucracy.

Burnout can also occur in other aspects of our lives besides our work.

Good news from the talk is research shows that when individuals examined their level of burnout and attended to the risk of burnout they were not only able to reduce their current risk but their future risk of burnout continued to remain less and even improved further over time.

US Federal Judge finds Google's Gmail scanning might violate wiretap law
Public

Gmail scanningSome patients and others have noticed when dealing with an MVA claim they start seeing more ads for lawyers when they are browsing the Internet making them wonder if someone is scanning their email.

Wired magazine reported on this week's decision in a proposed class-action alleging Google wiretaps Gmail as part of its business model.

"A federal judge today found that Google may have breached federal and California wiretapping laws for machine-scanning Gmail messages as part of its business model to create user profiles and provide targeted advertising. ...

"The decision is also a blow to Yahoo, whose free email platform with more than 300 million users also scans email to deliver ads. Microsoft’s rebranded free Outlook webmail offering does not scan messages of its 400 million users.

Internet search activity as measures of human health trends
Public

With millions of searches done on the Internet every day it is no surprise that search engine giants like Google are exploring many applications of the search activity data.

One interesting application of Internet search activity data is Google Flu Trends that while providing graphs of results from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, says of itself:

US launches new MyPlate icon as reminder for healthier food choices
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MyPlate IconOn June 2, 2011 US First Lady Michelle Obama and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government's new food icon, MyPlate.  MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to make healthier food choices and to seek more information by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “It’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

The future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada: Where are we going?
Public

Norman Rockwell Doctors Office2016-07-21 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

What is the future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada? Where are we going?

While everyone is out having fun in the summertime, the Government and other organizations, use the time to put out information they know few people will have time to see or digest. Much like they also use the busy time of Christmas and the winter holiday season to slip through items. Some people may just consider it prudent timing, others may see it as deliberate avoidance of proper public consultation.

Don’t FIPPA your PIPA without knowing this when it comes to personal health information.
Public

Vancouver, BC – May 3, 2010

Stethoscope and keyboardWhen it comes to the privacy of personal health information everyone in British Columbia needs to know how FIPPA (also known as FOIPPA) is different from PIPA, and the same may apply in other jurisdictions across Canada and elsewhere.

This is of particular importance when information is shared between your doctor's private office and a hospital or clinic operated by the Health Authority which is a public body.

In BC, three different legislative Acts govern the privacy and protection of individual personal health information.  There are some very important differences in how these work and the results they have that should be known to all doctors, health providers and patients/clients.

Federal Government seeks intervenor status in B.C. health care court case
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Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver - April 26, 2016.

Below is a link to the Globe and Mail article from April 13, 2016.

Hopefully, the debate around the court case, involving Dr. Brian Day's private Cambie Surgery Centre and the BC Provincial Government with a trial scheduled to begin June 6, will not become polarized with views of exclusivity between public and private health care but instead what we could and should do to make public health care more effective so that escape valves, like private care, are less needed without eradicating access to private care by individuals should they need it.

How far do individuals have to go? If the public system delivers the needed service great. If not, is there private care here at home in Canada or do people have to go to other countries?

Will the new BC Societies Act transition be a train wreck?
Public

Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - February 13, 2017.

Train wreckNo one can deny the importance of BC societies to communities large and small throughout the province, assisting all kinds of people as charitable and not for profit societies, including associations that represent occupations and professions.

What can we learn from the early example of transition by the Doctors of BC, the BC Medical Association, formerly a Reporting Society, declaring themselves to be a member-funded society and escaping public disclosure. Do they even meet the required criteria?

When we ask, it may come as a shock to learn the BC Registry is not confirming compliance requirements are met. Is the BC Government failing to provide proper leadership and oversight to the tasks of government?

Is the public trust being neglected? Will there be havoc on public interest and individual rights? Are we going to see a train wreck?

Media depiction of Flu shot technique
Public

David Naismith (retired physician), Vernon BC, January 15, 2019.

On January 11th I was so disturbed by the portrayal of health professionals on TV, both in adverts and on the National, that I fired off an email to some colleagues. As usual, I learnt something as the thread progressed, so here is a distillate of that exchange.

News Items

The courts will not save Canada's sick health system; Dr Day is not a gadfly
Public

The BC ruling, after grinding through the courts for a decade, is but a reminder that Canada's sick health care system will not be cured by its dysfunctional legal system. To expect our system to be saved by the courts amounts to, at best, magical thinking, while more and more Canadians who suffer in silence and risk dying from inability to access essential care will "just have to wait".

Understanding Generations X, Y, Z and more
Public

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the growing list of names for different generations; boomers, gen-X, millenials, zoomers and what follows? Here are a couple of links that may help.

BC Covid19 Math and Stats modelling lecture May 14, 2020
Public

BC Covid19 Realtime modellingThe "bcCOVID-19 group Lecture: Real time modelling of the COVID-19 epidemic - perspectives from British Columbia" was delivered as a Zoom lecture and was recorded. The first speaker Caroline Colijn provides an interesting explanation of the use of mathematical modelling and how this is being used to develop data driven policies. Her presentation includes some graphs that are quite useful.

BC Covid-19 Survey gets quite personal
Public

BC Covid-19 SurveyThe BC Covid-19 Survey has just been launched and people can participate until the end of May 2020.

The survey takes longer than the 10-15 minutes claimed and while the survey does allow people to answer anonymously and answer only the questions they wish to, it does include a number of questions that reveal a lot of private personal information including the individual's PHN if they wish.

Telehealth, what does it mean?
Public

Telehealth collageWith tongue in cheek some might say it was about time we made more use of the tech we've got and now here we are all using telehealth. What does it mean? What does it look like? How does it work?

Society-changing infections - parallels to the polio epidemic of 1927
Public

Poliomyelitis – a.k.a. “The Crippler” or “infantile paralysis” - is a viral disease that primarily, and quite harmlessly, infects the gastrointestinal system. But if the poliovirus survives and is able to enter the bloodstream and nervous system it can cause damage to motor neurons in the spinal cord that connect the brain to muscles. Such damage interferes with muscle control, causing weakness or paralysis.

The Future of Psychiatry?
Public

Dr. Chris Sedergreen.

A highly respected psychiatrist has recently sent a letter to her patients announcing her decision not to return to clinical practice. I've known her professionally for over 15 years and can attest that her departure will leave a gap in her patient's lives that will be almost impossible to fill.

Will we see changes to copyright laws in Canada?
Public

2019-06-21 Vancouver, BC

Canadian copyright laws were updated in 2012. Now, in 2019, two Canadian Parliamentary Standing Committees delivered reports with recommendations on changes to copyright laws in Canada.

Will we see any changes to the copyright laws in the near future?

What are ethics and why are they important?
Public

PM Justin Trudeau, politics and tech giants.2019-03-12 Dr Z.Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Ethics are a big part of our lives as principles that govern our actions. Doctors take an oath to serve the patient's interest and not their own or that of others.

We expect ethical actions of people involved with our daily lives: teachers, accountants, professionals, merchants and others. It is the basis of the trust we have in them. We depend on them as people with privilege and power over ourselves, children and others.

It's not just ethics in medicine and health: it's ethics in politics, in technology, in corporations and the list goes on. People are growing more concerned about the decline of ethical leadership in politics and also business tech giants like Facebook, Google and others.

What happens when an individual's actions run contrary to ethical principles?

The late Dr Morris VanAndel, a well-respected GP and subsequent Registrar of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, reminded doctors in 2002 this way: "An ethical principle, by nature, is not modified by circumstances, regardless of the validity or justification of the reasons leading to the action."

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