The Physician Spotlight is an interview series highlighting prominent members of the Doximity network. Each interview sheds light on the unique challenges physicians face in medicine today and how Doximity’s tools and technology are helping doctors solve these issues. This week, we interviewed Dr. Lowell Anthony, Chief of Medical Oncology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and Markey Cancer Center.
Q: How do you use Doximity?
A: The number one thing I use Doximity for is patient care coordination. I often work with other doctors as part of the co-management team. While I’m in the exam room with a patient, I’ll use Doximity to call the other doctor on our team and include them in the conversation with a patient so that we're all together with one plan and that communication is seamless. Patient care is really about communication and collaboration. You want to make sure everyone is comfortable and we all know what the plan is going forward.
Q: What other ways are you using Doximity?
A: Doximity has helped me stay “in the know.” I’ll log on and read the news to see what's happening at a national and global level, but I’ll also receive messages from some of my colleagues on the network who send me important stories or research that they want me to know about.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine specifically, oncology?
A: Medicine combined science with healthcare, two things that really interested me since probably junior high school. When I entered college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine because it combined those two fields perfectly for me. I wasn't sure early on what that would look like, but as my college career advanced, it was pretty obvious I was going to be in oncology, simply because uncovering the mysteries of cancer was at the very beginning of discovery when I entered the field. I've never, even in the early days, thought that we would be where we are today with the molecular revolution. I didn't see it coming, but I knew there would be big advances.
Q: I read that your oldest daughter is not only following in your footsteps to become a doctor. What is it like when your own child wants to be just like you and is actually following in your footsteps?
A: Not only did she choose medicine as a career, internal medicine within training, but also a sub-specialization in medical oncology –– and even the same program at Vanderbilt University that I had trained in.
It was interesting that when she interviewed, she had a different last name, and so she attempted to keep herself anonymous until someone outed her. They saw where she went to high school, junior high school, and then they put two and two together and they found out who she was. But she has done it on our own. And I'm very proud of her. She's constantly looking to me for guidance and support. I do feel like there's some real continued parenting to some extent, but also living my life surreptitiously a bit and sort of starting over again.
Q: What do you hope for her career that maybe you didn't have in your career?
A: My career was focused more on individual patient care and her career is going more towards policy, where her career is impacting possibly larger numbers.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face day to day as an oncologist?
A: Some of the biggest challenges I face as a medical oncologist is always being on the lookout for things that we don't anticipate. This is the challenge of cancer. We can't assume anything based on someone's past history and expect what may happen in the future. You need to always be skeptical of what you're seeing and lose any and all expectations.
Q: You serve as the Chief of Medical Oncology at Kentucky College of Medicine. Can you tell me more about your role and what your focus has been?
A: My role is really one of recruitment. My challenge there is to assemble the right people and to make sure that their careers are supported so that they're successful. If they're successful, we're successful. So it's really all about recruitment and retention. We're not just interested in churning, getting faculty in, and seeing them leave in a short period of time. We're really interested in development. The greatest reward is to recruit someone and see them eventually train someone new. Knowing that I played a role in that “passing down” of knowledge from one generation to our newest physicians is very exciting to experience.
Q: In working with cancer patients, what is your goal for them when you provide care?
A: My goal for them is to make sure, if at all possible, I can cure them. Secondary is their quality of life. I talk to patients that quality of life comes first. Because if we get the quality of life, right, the quantity will follow. So it's really all about the cure and then it's all about the control.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I enjoy the challenge of learning. You never, ever get to the point where you say you're there, that you've reached it, that you're done. But also putting your learnings into practice. I enjoy learning something new, put it into practice, and watch it unfold.