Hormones – the drivers behind every part of who we are, and how we function. And as part of one of the most complex systems in the body – the endocrine system – these hormones behave radically differently from person to person.
Endocrinology is a subspecialty of internal medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to hormones. Dr Marshall Dahl, President of the Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism says, “[we] get into this specialty because the science behind it is logical and organized – and because there are a number of people out there with treatable and curable conditions.”
There are only about 45 practicing endocrinologists in BC, and not all work full-time. In addition, the majority of specialists practice in the Lower Mainland and Victoria. Consequently, patient access to specialists is difficult and wait-times are a major issue. As a result, endocrinologists have had to find innovative ways to deliver care that’s efficient for both the patient and the doctor.
The Specialist Services Committee (SSC) is helping. A pilot project funded by the SSC is currently underway that addresses wait-time and accessibility issues through virtual consultations and follow-up visits – done via the telephone, and secure email and webcam.
According to Dr Dahl, “BC’s aging population is only going to require more help as Type 2 Diabetes and chronic disease management increases.” It’s his hope that with additional SSC assistance, specialists can further reduce wait-times by incorporating other allied health care professionals into their practices – much like rheumatology has done.