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Patient to Practitioner Access: Too Much?


It all started with emails. I bet most medical professionals felt alarmed as email communication began with patients.

Wasn’t the existing scenario suitable enough? Call the receptionist – make several attempts to get through, rattle off suitable dates, wait for that day to come around, get to the waiting room, sit, sit and then finally release that conversation that’s been swirling in your head… if that’s even possible in the allocated 15 minutes.

I’m sure some medical professionals still appreciate and stick by this scenario. I know quite a few that do.

Isn’t life short enough?

Thankfully, my pain specialist (Dr Nick Christelis), and his team have progressed further, throwing their whole practice (Vicpain) on as many social media platforms as they can.

That’s what you call accessible. It’s also completely transparent.

Are you having visions of me stalking him? You would be right – I do!

Today when I connected to LinkedIN, Instagram and Twitter, I found out the following about my pain specialist:

Our Dr. Nick Christelis is currently travelling to the International Neuromodulation World Congress 2017 in Edinburgh. He will be involved in 3 research presentations on various types of neurostimulation waveforms (electrical patterns) that allow our patients improved pain reduction when undergoing certain types of neurostimulation. Follow his tweets #ourpainworld http://ow.ly/Qqz830c6cMJ

Yep, he and his team post regularly and tweet! And I follow. Closely.

Too close? Here, hit this and see what happens: #ourpainworld

Whether you read through the search results or not, in one glimpse you learned that my pain specialist is aiming to be at the top of his game (and after what I read today, I think he is).

As a patient, that’s exactly what I want to read.

I also want to read what my pain team are sharing. I want to see what my pain team consider good research and what my pain team consider bad research. I want to read what they consider great pain management and read what they consider crap pain management.

I’m informed about little bits of information that can make mammoth amounts of difference – did you know turmeric can help with chronic pain?

This is the type of information I expect from my pain team.

A couple of weeks ago I shared a post about Nav 1.7. I saw this on my specialist’s LinkedIN feed. I’ve been talking to that damn gene since!

As a patient, I can prepare aaaaall my questions for my next appointment and that makes a most efficient appointment and it makes a most informed me.

So no, I don’t think practitioners who are active on social media networks should worry about being too accessible to their patients and lucky for me, my pain team don’t think that either.

We’re talking about modern-day medical business practice and about ‘transparency’ and making valuable information (not the practitioner) ‘accessible’ to the patient.

As patients we need to accept responsibility. It’s just as much #ourpainworld.

And besides, who wants an expired specialist…. right?!




  • Frances Jolly

    I totally agree. My lovely pain specialist Dr Richard Sullivan and neurosurgeon Professor Teddy are also at the International Neuromodulation conference. It is reassuring that they are up to date with all the latest research and innovations. I’m in hospital now and had their back up surgeon Professor Bittar operate on me yesterday. He is an awesome Dr too! Xoxo Frances

    • soula

      My beautiful Frances, I hope your op brings great relief and an end to your nightmare. You sound like you’re in the best hands. We’re all doing our best, it’s all we can do to manage. I will be thinking of you. Speedy recovery and speedy pain relief xxxxx

      • Frances Jolly

        Thanks Soula I’m going ok on the mend now, hopefully home tomorrow after 3 weeks in hospital.

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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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