Raised by West African professors, Dr. Ogoma Krause was encouraged to explore her early intrigue in human physiology and pursue a career in medicine. Passionate about helping people live their best lives, Dr. Krause gained an interest in endocrinology during her residency rotations. Now, she’s celebrating her two-year anniversary as a specialist provider with Sitka Medical Associates where she’s helping expand access to specialty care through video consults (vConsults).
In my early childhood, my family moved from Upstate New York where I was born to the small but populous town of Enugu in Nigeria, West Africa, where I spent my childhood. Like any child of respectable West African parents, I was given three ‘sanctioned’ career path options: lawyer, doctor, or engineer. Incidentally, they were both professors at a local university.
When I was younger, I remember being quite disappointed that my older sister had already chosen the attorney option before I could. That summer, we spent months binge-watching ‘Matlock’ and I was convinced it was the career for me. However, my parents were quick to point out that we didn’t need two attorneys in the house.
Thus, I was gently but firmly nudged toward medical school. In retrospect, that career choice fit me like a glove. Thank you, Mom and Dad! I was and remain intrigued by human physiology and pathophysiology and moved with compassion to help ease people’s suffering. After medical school, I completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency. My decision to become an endocrinologist was a process of elimination during my residency rotations. Endocrinology just made sense; it felt like I was home.
Before 2020, telemedicine was not a part of my practice. Patients traveled quite a distance to be seen. Sometimes, it took them an hour and a half one way. Over the years, I’ve found telemedicine to be quite refreshing. It expands my medical reach and allows me to take part in the care of a wider geographical area of patients. Providing vConsults to physicians across the country reminds me daily that people’s needs are fundamentally the same, but everyone deserves access to amazing care for their specific needs.
In some of our older patients, patient acceptance can be a challenge since they may have some technology barriers. There are also physical examination limitations inherent in telemedicine. Sometimes, patients just prefer to be face-to-face with the provider in person. When it’s safe, I prefer my initial visits with my patients in-person and subsequent visits by telemedicine if necessary.
Today, telemedicine allows me to see patients in their own element and comfort zone. I find it enriches the patient-provider relationship. With vConsults, I can also provide specialist expertise to physicians within 24 hours instead of making patients wait weeks or months for an appointment. In the future, I hope to see improved technology to enhance the physical examination component.
Most healthcare industry professionals would agree that we need improved work-life balance and decreased documentation burden for providers.