Dr. Marc Walker
Meet Dr. Marc Walker, RubiconMD plastic surgeon, who recently completed 2,000 eConsults.
We asked him about his experience supporting primary care clinicians as a RubiconMD virtual specialist.
Why did you decide to become a RubiconMD specialist?
I was born and raised in a largely rural part of the country where still today there remain great barriers to access to sub-specialty care. As a plastic surgeon and hand surgeon, I have made it my purpose to be available to anyone who needs an appointment on a timeline that promises the delivery of the highest quality of care in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. When I learned about a RubiconMD from my Harvard Business School classmate Gil Addo (CEO and Co-Founder), the decision to join as a platform specialist was a no-brainer for me. My commitment to providing care to underserved populations in large part informed the decision to return to my home state as a plastic surgeon and hand surgeon treating his fellow Mississippians– and this same calling keeps me active on RubiconMD, where I have surpassed 2000 eConsults.
What have you gained from your experience delivering virtual specialty care?
It has been a tremendously fulfilling experience for me as a physician to be able to reach patients beyond the constraints of a physical clinic and operating room. While all of my interactions with other physicians on the platform have been anonymous to date, I do get a very real sense of teamwork and appreciation both ways. Ultimately, doctors on both sides of the eConsult are on this platform to care for patients, and for me, this has provided another avenue for achieving my dream of relieving human suffering and curing disease. The bonus of it all is that I am actively taking part in something that transforms the way we deliver healthcare. I would encourage any other like-minded surgeons to do the same!
What do you wish more primary care clinicians knew about virtual specialists?
I hope that primary care clinicians know that virtual specialists on the RubiconMD platform choose to be here because we truly enjoy what we do and are passionate about helping our colleagues and our patients navigate health challenges in any way that we can. In my own experience on the platform, no question is a bad question. The best way to get the answer you are seeking is to be very clear and blunt about what you are asking, and do not be afraid to send follow-up questions if something is unclear.
Within the 2,000 consults, are there any cases that stand out as being immensely impactful?
Perhaps the most memorable case was a wound consultation for suspected intertrigo infections in the groin. In this particular patient, the site was internally healing and non-healing and recalcitrant to topical medications. The wound had reportedly been present for several months and possibly years. In this case, the story sounded suspicious enough to suggest a skin biopsy that revealed invasive squamous cell carcinoma. The diagnosis of a malignancy led to a proper referral to a surgical oncologist who I believe ultimately achieved negative margins and successfully treated this patient before the cancer could spread. Had local wound care continued, which is often the case in these lesions, undoubtedly this cancer would have been significantly more difficult to manage for both the patient and his providers.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy traveling, cooking, playing golf, and spending time outdoors with my wife Caroline, our 15-month-old daughter, Catherine, and our Great Dane, Blue.