We caught up with UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Dr. Vedant Gupta, a cardiologist and advanced cardiovascular imaging specialist, who came to UK in 2013. As a clinician, Dr. Gupta is deeply interested in caring for critically ill patients. As a researcher, his work is focused on improving systems of care to better serve all patients.
Why did you become a doctor?
I didn’t always know I wanted to do medicine. I was actually an economics major in college. But I appreciate that medicine always provides me an opportunity to interact with my patients, people from all different walks of life who have had their own stories and their own experiences. That keeps me interested in what I do on a day-to-day basis.
As a doctor, do you use your training in economics?
I use it every day. Economics to me is about incentives, understanding how complex systems change when you make small adjustments. The human body is no different. Everybody has a different thing that makes them tick.
For a lot of my patients, hard-working individuals, taking days off from work is the worst thing you can ask them to do. In talking to those patients about medicine, about medical compliance, my pitch is largely about preventing problems from happening so you can continue to work, continue to take care of family, continue to fulfill your responsibilities.
Whereas for other patients, it’s about seeing kids or grandkids grow up. Everybody is a little bit different in terms of the things that are really valuable to them. That is all stuff that I learned in economics. Identify the incentives that people need to help them take care of their health better.
What’s your philosophy of patient care?
My biggest goal when I meet a new patient is to learn about them, what they’ve been through both from a disease state and otherwise – what are the things they are hoping to accomplish in this interaction. Every patient is a little bit different. It’s important to understand what they’re hoping to get out of it.
Tell us about your research.
I am big on systems-based improvement – how do we make the system better to help all different types of patients, specifically around cardiac risks and non-cardiac conditions. When people come in for different surgeries, different procedures or come in with infections, we’re learning to appreciate that there’s more and more risk to their heart, even if their heart wasn’t the reason they came in. Understanding that, being able to identify the patients who would benefit from additional testing and treatment, that’s what I do most of my research on.
How do you spend your spare time?
I have an almost 3-year-old. My wife, who is a pediatric cardiology nurse, works at UK as well. There are very few opportunities that we both have off, so we really like to take that time to spend together. There are a lot of things here in Lexington that I didn’t realize existed until I had my son, and we’ve explored some of these things. My parents and my in-laws both live in Cincinnati, so this is a nice distance for them to come down, for us to go up.