We’re more than a little excited to introduce the Nurx community to our new medical director (and yours!), Kim Boyd, MD. Dr. Boyd grew up in Colorado, where she competed as a national team gymnast. She attended college and medical school at Stanford University and lived in Portland, San Francisco, and Chicago before moving back to her home state (specifically, Boulder — who can blame her?). She entered medicine in 2000, and since 2010 she has been devoted to reimagining healthcare in ways that put the patient first.
Before joining Nurx, Dr. Boyd was a senior clinical leader at One Medical where she focused on helping to lead virtual care teams providing 24/7 care to more than 250,000 patients across the country. She also led the medical team and clinical development at Galileo, a next-generation digital health startup. Read on to learn about Dr. Boyd in her own words — including what she wishes you’d think about more when it comes to your health.
What inspired you to become a doctor?
I’ve always been fascinated by science and interested in being a doctor; when I broke my first bone as a four-year-old, I was more focused on the X-Ray than the lollipop. Growing up, I was the family and neighborhood go-to for placing bandages and helping with scrapes and bruises. In college, I took several courses that focused on the administrative barriers in healthcare and became less interested in a career that seemed as though it would be hamstrung by bureaucracy, so I spent most of my studies focused on organizations and the biology and psychology behind behavior, thinking I’d go into consulting or another non-medical field. I came back to medicine because of a strong idealistic drive—it’s an honor to be part of people’s lives in the context of their health, and my own experiences as a patient emphasized how much of a difference a caring physician can make. I returned to medicine not just to be a doctor but also to help create an approach to medical care that treated people differently.
With telemedicine you can treat people all over the country. Do you notice geographic differences in health concerns?
Because my clinical experiences involved caring for people in diverse geographic locations (both in-person and virtually), it has been very interesting to learn about how preferences and health considerations vary from place to place—for example, thinking about seasonal affective disorder in the Northwest, strategizing on healthy food and eating habits for patients enduring Midwest winters when easy options are less available, understanding how work schedules and pressures affect patients in SF and Manhattan, and engaging in medical work overseas and in the US after natural disasters. However, despite geographic nuances, people are far more similar than they are different when it comes to universal, baseline medical needs.
What do you think people don’t worry about enough when it comes to their health?
Urgent health needs and acute symptoms grab people’s attention (“I broke my leg!” or “I’d like antibiotics to stop feeling so lousy.”), while more subtle aspects of day-to-day life that have a profound impact on long-term health and wellbeing are deprioritized or not addressed. Healthy sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress management, and environment are very important in sustaining wellness and treating chronic conditions. Even small changes can make a big difference.
What drew you to study integrative medicine in addition to “conventional” medicine?
As an elite gymnast during my childhood, I sustained numerous injuries and learned first-hand that a holistic approach can enhance the healing process. Before starting medical school, I spent a year working with different healers ranging from acupuncturists to physician experts in mind-body medicine to learn more about other healing systems. After my residency, I completed a fellowship in integrative medicine through Andrew Weil’s Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. I’ve found that health is often best attained by thoughtfully blending the best of cutting-edge conventional medicine with a holistic approach that considers the whole person.
Why do you think many people have trouble talking about their sexual health?
Many aspects of health are intensely personal, from sexual and mental health to family history and personal medical conditions or symptoms. Effective care is built on trust, and it’s important that people feel empowered to communicate in ways that ensure their concerns are heard and addressed. Unfortunately, in most realms, medical care is becoming increasingly time-pressured, and in some systems, providers may not always be fully informed. Topics from sex to smoking can still carry stigma and judgment. People receive the best care when they’re asked the right questions and have the space and foundation of trust to answer openly.
How can technology improve healthcare?
Information in medicine is increasing at an astonishing rate (some estimate that that we’re now approaching a time during which the amount of new knowledge doubles in 73 days). It’s impossible for any one person, or even team of people, to keep up with all of the potentially relevant information both in terms of medical research and data about a given person. New medical discoveries and technological developments allow us to perform incredible feats, from understanding and intervening for some diseases at a gene level to performing herculean surgeries; however, we have not yet figured out how best to leverage technology to truly support thoughtful clinical care for most people and conditions. Unfortunately, to date, as technology has been added, it tends to make medicine more burdensome and complicated for doctors and patients instead of improving care. It’s exciting to think about using technology to support, (instead of complicate) care, enhance medical decision-making, and help facilitate the right care in the right ways at the right time. At Nurx, I’m enthusiastic about the company’s mission to eliminate unnecessary barriers and provide excellent care in a way that is affordable and accessible. It’s great to be a part of a team that’s committed to passionately serving patients.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.