From the Editor

30 years in service to you, our community of women’s health clinicians

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It is all about your professional development and well-being, as well as your patients’ health and well-being


 

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The mission of OBG Management is to enhance the quality of women’s health care and the professional development of obstetrician-gynecologists and all women’s health care clinicians. As we celebrate the beginning of our 30th anniversary year, we recommit to our mission by providing the highest quality of health information through both print and electronic portals.

OBG Management: Print and electronic portals for knowledge acquisition

Experienced clinicians acquire new knowledge and refresh established concepts through discussions with trusted colleagues and by reading journals and books that contain information relevant to their practice. A continuing trend in professional development is the accelerating transition from a reliance on print media (print journals and books) to electronic information delivery. Many clinicians continue to enjoy reading medical journals and magazines. ObGyns are no different; 96% report reading the print edition of medical journals.1 At OBG Management we are committed to continue to mail you a monthly copy of our journal.

However, in the time-pressured setting of office- and hospital-based patient care, critical information is now frequently accessed through an electronic portal that is web based and focused on immediately answering a high priority question necessary for optimal patient care. OBG Management provides our community with rapid access to electronic versions of the journal and all previously published editorial material. Many web exclusives are found online as well, including audio and video techniques and commentary. The OBG Management website has a powerful search engine, which permits our readers to rapidly and conveniently access all previously published articles. In addition, our community members that have provided us with electronic contact information receive regular electronic communications about recently published literature (Clinical Edge), highly read articles and topical alerts from the journal, and MD-IQ quizzes to help review recent research and guidelines in an interactive medium.

The information base needed to practice medicine is massive and continues to grow rapidly. No single print textbook or journal can cover this vast information base. Libraries of print material are cumbersome to use and ordinarily not accessible at the site of patient care. Electronic portals are the only means of providing immediate access to all medical knowledge. Electronic technology enables the aggregation of vast amounts of information in a database that is rapidly accessible from anywhere, and new search technology is making it easier to quickly locate the information you need.

The next frontier in medical information exchange is the application of artificial intelligence to cull “answers” from the vast aggregation of data. By combining all available medical information and artificial intelligence processes, in the near future, clinicians will be able to instantaneously get an answer to a question they have about how to care for a specific patient. A decade ago, when a question was entered into an Internet search engine, the response was typically a list of potential websites where the answer might be located. In the past few years, with the integration of huge databases and artificial intelligence, some advanced search engines now provide a specific answer to a question, followed by a list of relevant websites. For example, if you enter this question: “What countries have the greatest number of people?” into the Google search tool, in less than 1 second a direct answer is provided: “China has the world’s largest population (1.4 billion), followed by India (1.3 billion). The next most populous nations—the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan—combined have less than 1 billion people.” The next step in medical information communication will be the deployment of artificial intelligence systems that can directly answer a query from a clinician about a specific patient.

Our distinguished Editorial Board and authors—the heart and mind of OBG Management

The editorial team at OBG Management is proud to work with the distinguished medical leaders who write our articles and serve on our Editorial Board. The guidance we receive from our Board and the expert editorial material generated by our authors is critical to advancing the quality of OBG Management. Our Board members and authors care deeply about improving women’s health and closing gaps between current and optimal practice. Our Board members and authors are truly expert clinicians with vast experience. Our readers can have great confidence in their recommendations.

Improving clinician wellness and resilience and reducing burnout

Clinicians throughout the world are reporting decreased levels of professional fulfillment and increased levels of burnout.2–4 This epidemic is likely caused by many factors, including the deployment of poorly designed electronic health systems, the administrative guidance for clinicians to work faster with fewer support staff, increasing administrative and secretarial burden on clinicians, and institutional constraints on clinician autonomy. Many of these problems only can be addressed at the level of the health system, but some are in the control of individual clinicians.

In the upcoming years, OBG Management will prioritize deepening the knowledge about the factors that support clinician wellness and share approaches that may help you to improve your wellness and resilience and reduce your experience of burnout. Recent research reports that increasing your focus on showing gratitude to other important people in your life will enhance your wellness. In a study completed in a health care setting, 102 clinicians were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 1) write about gratitude and work, 2) write about hassles and work, or 3) do not write about work. Those assigned to the 2 writing groups were instructed to write on their topic twice weekly for 4 weeks. At the end of the study the clinicians assigned to the gratitude writing assignment reported less stress and fewer depressive symptoms than the clinicians assigned to the other 2 groups.5 The investigators concluded that among clinicians a structured exercise to focus thoughts and feelings on expressions of gratitude is an effective approach to reduce stress and depressive symptoms. I recommend that you complete “the gratitude exercise.”

The gratitude exercise


Showing more gratitude to those who have been most meaningful in your life may increase your wellness. Try the gratitude exercise outlined below.

To prepare for the exercise you will need about 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, a quiet room, and a method for recording your thoughts (pen/paper, electronic word processor, voice recorder).

Sit quietly and close your eyes. Spend 5 minutes thinking about the people in your life whose contributions have had the greatest positive impact on your development. Think deeply about the importance of their role in your life. Select one of those important people.

Open your eyes and spend 10 minutes expressing in writing your thoughts and feelings about that person. Once you have completed expressing yourself in writing, commit to reading your words, verbatim, to the person within the following 48 hours. This could be done by voice communication, video conferencing, or in-person.

View the "Gratitude Experiment" on YouTube to see a video summary of reactions to participating in a gratitude experiment.

The future of obstetrics and gynecology is bright

Medical students are electing to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology in record numbers. The students entering the field and the residents currently in training are superbly prepared and have demonstrated their commitment to advancing reproductive health by experiences in advocacy, research, and community service. We need to ensure that these super-star young physicians are able to have a 40-year career that is productive and fulfilling.

Share your thoughts! Send your Letter to the Editor to rbarbieri@frontlinemedcom.com. Please include your name and the city and state in which you practice.

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