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House Call: The new doctor is in

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 21, 2020

Dr. Jeff Markin is the new House Call columnist.  (Courtesy)
Dr. Jeff Markin is the new House Call columnist. (Courtesy)
By Dr. Jeff Markin For The Spokesman-Review

As a family physician who spent the first 25 years of his career delivering babies, I know how surprising it can be when you expect to see your doctor, but an unfamiliar face walks through the door instead.

If you’re a regular House Call reader, you might be thinking, “You’re not my doctor!” As someone who has heard the phrase a time or two over the course of my career, I take no offense.

My Kaiser Permanente colleague, Dr. Bob Riggs, has set a high bar as author of House Call for the past five years. I want to take a moment to congratulate him on his retirement, not to mention an incredibly successful and impactful career.

Like Dr. Riggs, I am a specialist in family medicine and work with patients of all ages, including many who have gone on to have children and families that I continue to care for to this day. This idea of tradition – whether caring for multiple generations of patients or carrying on the House Call column baton – has greatly shaped my career.

After finishing medical school at the University of Washington and residency at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, I was fortunate to return to Spokane to start my private practice here. Midcareer, I completed my certificate of added qualification in geriatrics so I could better care for my patients as they age.

Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter at the lake as well as a night at home with good wine and the company of even better friends.

I hope to bring a unique, multigenerational perspective in hopes we can grow our understanding of how health issues affect different age groups in our community.

One of my passions is road cycling, and I deeply enjoy channeling that passion to help my patients to remain active as they age. No matter how old you are, I’m an advocate for helping my patients find and modify the activity that suits them best.

Overall, I want to thank you for prioritizing your health by inviting House Call into your home, whether you’re reading this via tablet, smartphone, laptop or the newspaper. We live in a time where we need to be active participants in choosing to prioritize our health, the same way we choose how, where and when we get our news.

Fortunately, virtual care options are making this easier and easier and, in many ways, is reinventing the traditional notion of a “house call” (this could be its own column). That said, I deeply believe in seeing my patients, especially those over age 50, in person at least once a year and using virtual appointments to continue conversations through periodic check-ins.

Please make sure you’re checking in with your provider(s) during this time about any care needs you may have – it’s important not to delay the care you need.

Speaking of which, have you had your flu shot? This year, more than ever, it is critical that everyone who can get a flu shot does so as soon as possible. The flu shot is the best way to protect against flu and can reduce the risk of illness or hospitalization from the flu.

Please get your flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones. Thank you for this opportunity, Spokane. I look forward to diving in during the weeks ahead.

Dr. Jeff Markin is a family medicine physician practicing at Kaiser Permanente’s Veradale Medical Center.

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