Laird Cagan MD - Longmont
Internal Medicine focuses on thinking through a problem. This is the main reason I chose internal medicine as my specialty – I like thinking about medicine. My father was also an internist and that of course helped me make my decision when it came time to choose. I’ve been practicing for 30 years and it is the challenge of thinking about the issues I come across that has kept me engaged and moving forward.
Many of my patients are older and often present very complex medical issues to consider, continuing my excitement about my specialty and my patients. With each new issue I have more to learn. And, since medical research plays a big role in internal medicine, I am continually presented with more information, new protocols, medicines and approaches. While keeping up keeps me busy, each new discovery gives me a better chance of helping my patients by offering more options to consider.
Improvements in medical technology make a big difference in how I treat patients. The advances in imaging, for example, make it easier to pinpoint problems and to treat them efficiently. Early diagnosis works in concert with the growing emphasis on prevention of major diseases and issues, especially as we age.
Medical research is helping treat our patients’ illnesses in many ways. We are striving to find advanced drugs to attack cancer cells yet leave the healthy cells to flourish. This would make an extraordinary difference in the lives of those going through cancer treatment – not only the successful treatment of the disease but the ability to live their lives while they are fighting. Such treatments along with those to make surgeries less invasive forecast a positive future for the practice of medicine despite the many challenges for our medical care system.
We are facing increasing and serious economic issues in our medical care system in the next ten to fifteen years. Challenges to our system must be fought with increases in quality and cost reductions through achieving efficiencies of care. I believe that the cooperative efforts of physicians along with the collection and utilization of patient data will be the keys to improving the quality and efficiency of care into the future.
Organizations such as the Boulder Valley Care Network and the Boulder County Medical Society are working to improve medical care through attention to these concepts, and they and the individual physicians that make up these organizations have the potential to help our medical care system not only survive but flourish.