Digital Records - Dr SykesMy wife Robyn and I arrived home on Saturday night after a wonderful four-week holiday. We spent two weeks cruising in France and then almost two weeks visiting old friends in the United Kingdom. These friendships were kindled when we lived in the United Kingdom (two years in Cardiff and then five years in Oxford) to complete my specialist obstetrician training. It was very relaxing and very enjoyable holiday.

But I love my profession as an obstetrician, and I care greatly about my patients. I am so thrilled that because of technology I was able to ‘keep in touch’ while away. Because of the time differences there was only a small window of time in the early morning (between waking and breakfast) when I could check and respond to emails from my secretaries. I also, at this time, was able to answer patients’ emails and their Facebook messages.

I still find it amazing that I can be on a boat cruising down the Rhone River in France or can be visiting friends in the UK and with the use of my Microsoft Surface Notebook and Wi-Fi I can keep in touch with my medical practice in Sydney.

As you know I have a paperless office. All patients’ files are stored on my office computer with remote backups. I employed two additional ladies to scan old patent paper files into my computer. Once scanned, these old paper files were shredded. So, with remote log in I could easily check a patient’s notes before replying to a query. I can even check the notes of the very first patient I managed after going into private practice decades ago.

I only missed one delivery while away. This patient went into labour at 36 weeks. She was due after I returned. I did not have any patients due while I was away. That is because we did not take bookings of women who had EDCs in the time period I was away. I planned this holiday one year ago. As soon as the dates were finalised, I posted the information in my website and on my social media sites. Some old patients who wanted to have another baby told me they avoided conceiving in the month that gave then an EDC when I was away.

The logic behind not having any patients due while I was away, is I endeavour to personally support my patients not only in their pregnancy journey but also at childbirth. I cannot do this if I am overseas. I take my work as an obstetrician very seriously and care greatly about my patients and their wellbeing.

Robyn said to me she thought I would have cancelled my time off if our holiday had not already been booked and paid for, after having had to unexpectedly take time off in January because I had pneumonia. I suspect she is right. I would have been hesitant about going away so soon after being off work. Not only was the holiday all sorted when I became ill, but I needed a good holiday to complete my recovery from my pneumonia illness. Now I am back at work I again look forward to supporting my marvellous patients through their pregnancy and childbirth journeys.

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