The Medical Joyworks Monthly


Connect to MJ's thriving community

Issue #16 (January 2021)


Dear Reader,

We hope that 2021 brings you significant improvements.

2020 treated us well. Thanks to your support, the introduction of Clinical Odyssey was a success! The product reached key milestones and is quickly becoming the portfolio's flagship, setting the stage for new possibilities.
Therefore, and in addition to more learning modules under Clinical Odyssey, this year we will bring you new perspectives on other areas of the medical profession. Our IMB interview series will evolve into a more in-depth conversation with medical colleagues. New titles will be added to Clinical Odyssey. Even this periodical will be upgraded.

Indeed, 2021 looks promising!

But for now, let's focus on January. Find out about the latest happenings in the company and enjoy our conversation with Dr. Vasco Furtado Gonçalves, an attending physician at the Unidade Local de Saúde do Norte Alentejano in Portugal.

All the best.

Dr. Nayana Somaratna,
CEO & Co-Founder,
Medical Joyworks


The latest from MJ

  • The MJ International Medical Board is seeking specialists to join as peer-reviewers for the following specialties: general surgery; orthopedic surgery; pediatrics; obstetrics and gynaecology; neurosurgery; intensive care/critical care; psychiatry; urology; ear, nose and throat surgery; and dermatology. Join the program at  
  • In this month's edition of Meet Your IMB, our chat with Dr. Vasco Furtado Gonçalves focuses on understanding the intricacies of general/family practice. 
  • Finally, we're excited to share a recent interview given by Nayana, our Co-Founder and CEO to InfoMed Malaysia's, a healthcare magazine out of the Southeast Asian country. In this 4-page piece, Nayana shares some insights on entrepreneurship, where Medical Joyworks stands today, and what our plans for the future are. The article can be found in InfoMed Malaysia's Issue #35 (Oct.-Dec. 2020), which can be downloaded from the publisher's Facebook page for free {here}:

    That's it for now. Stay healthy, and curious!


International Medical Board Members

Name: Dr. Vasco Gabriel Furtado Gonçalves MD
Speciality: Family Practice
Designation: Attending Physician
Work institute: Centro de Saúde de Ponte de Sôr, Unidade Local de Saúde do Norte Alentejano, EPE, Portugal.
Graduated from: Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Portugal
What attracted you to your specialty?
I find this an exceptionally good question. To me, it is almost impossible to pinpoint a single factor that contributed toward choosing my specialty. General medicine/family practice stood out because these specialties are both old—having existed since the dawn of medicine; and new—in that they continue to improve and evolve. Not only must you take into account the clinical presentation; you also have to consider the patient's entire context, including the various psychological, social, cultural, and existential factors that might be in play. These facts can help or hinder your best plans. All in all, though, what attracted me to my specialty is a genuine interest in holistically managing each of my patients, from cradle to grave.

What have you learned about your specialty solely from experience?
Pure clinical experience is important. But the actions we take must be based on the scientific evidence available; and customized to the patient’s wishes, expectations, and motivation. Overall, I think I have acquired and matured quite a few soft skills through practice. Staying continuously up to date with traditional ‘textbook knowledge’, even while being busy with work is another (hard) skill I’ve acquired. I dare say that both types of skills come into play in practice.

What is a common misconception associated with your field of study?
The most common misconception that I come across is understanding the extent of care that a family physician ought to provide. Our patients often expect us to deal with highly specialized health problems—possibly because family physicians are so much more accessible than specialists in secondary or tertiary care centers. With specialists we have a different problem: they want to only focus on problems directly within their specialty, while asking us family physicians to handle everything else—even when certain problems could be better handled by them. The way I see it, no area of medicine has concrete boundaries. Some ill-definition of roles is always prone to happen; and this is often hard or even impossible to solve. 

What is your biggest research interest today?
Currently, I am improving my knowledge of evidence-based medicine, with a particular focus on the critical appraisal of clinical trials and the elaboration of systematic reviews. I also recently finished revising a book on dermatology aimed at helping family physicians in their day-to-day work.

What publication/research are you most proud of?
Writers sometimes say that each piece of writing is like a son—both in its conception and in its delivery as a finished product. Even more than pride, I would argue it is the sense of achievement that really impacts me. For sure, my first posters and presentation projects (in medical events) have left me some endearing memories. The contributions I made to the dermatology book previously mentioned were also interesting to provide. And, of course, writing and revising with Medical Joyworks has always been, and still is, quite stimulating. 

In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge in your field today?
Similar to the wide breadth of my specialty, the challenges I face are also diverse. One of them is effectively managing my schedule in day-to-day practice. In current times, this is important so that possible and confirmed COVID patients get the care they need while, at the same time, other patients also get due attention. In line with this, I would say that finding and using an electronic health record built with a practical focus is of utmost importance

What will be a game-changer innovation in your field?
Given the current pandemic, prompt access to either a vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19 would make a huge difference. As far as I am aware, there are already several vaccines with promising preliminary results. As these come into play, we will hopefully see a significant reduction in active cases, as well as fatalities and long-term complications. This will reduce the burden on individuals and families, care providers, and health systems (ed—Dr. Vasco’s interview was conducted in October 2020; there has been significant progress on vaccination since then)

Regarding family practice in general, any advance that helps manage cardiovascular risk factors and communicable diseases would be more than welcome. In addition, there is an urgent need for new antibiotics with new mechanisms of action. This will help us tackle the already alarming problem of antibiotic resistance in community and institutional settings. 

How has MJ helped advance your professional objectives (in terms of teaching, research, management, personal development, etc.)?
For me, the biggest benefit of being able to review and write original articles is the sense of achievement I feel regarding my contribution. After this, I would say that the process of performing research and thinking creatively is also useful as this improves my ability to reason systematically. This is a skill useful in many clinical situations—e.g., diagnosing patients, training aspiring doctors and specialists, and writing research papers. Finally, reviewing articles written by my fellow physicians contributes to my own education.

I would also like to state that the vision of, and encouraging atmosphere provided by Medical Joyworks helps stimulate my growth—not just in the areas mentioned above, but in many others not listed as well.


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Q&As from our user community

Clinical Sense: Duncan I: Short of Breath-Heart Failure, post-MI)

Q: Shouldn't we start this patient on digoxin?
A: This is a controversial area that has evolved over the past few decades. As per current evidence, digoxin does not reduce all cause mortality in patients who have heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and are in sinus rhythm (as is in this case). As such, digoxin is only used in select circumstances, .e.g., where the patient still has severe symptoms in spite of exhausting all other available therapies. Please see the following article for a concise summary:
If you would like to play this scenario or join the conversation, go to the Clinical Sense app in your mobile device.

Prognosis: Your Diagnosis: Enlarged (Pituitary Apoplexy)

Q: This situation is a endocrine emergency. Shouldn't pituitary function tests be postponed for after surgery?
A: You are right in that this is an emergency and urgent neurosurgery is required. However, baseline pituitary functions are crucial and are unlikely to delay time to surgery. Please see the following article discussing the emergency management of pituitary apoplexy:
If you would like to play this scenario or join the conversation, go to the Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app in your mobile device.
That's all for now!

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