Dr. Paul Lubitz: What I do at Bow Valley Dermatology
February 26, 2014
Dr. Paul Lubitz – What I Do at Bow Valley Dermatology
In a previous post, we had an opportunity to learn a little more about the expert dermatologist currently practicing in Canmore, Alberta – namely Dr. Paul Lubitz. A graduate of Queen’s University medical school and a Board Certified dermatologist in both Canada and the United States, in 2010, Dr. Paul Lubitz moved to Canmore and established a clinic at Canmore General Hospital.
Given the scarcity of Board Certified dermatologists in the Bow Valley area, we thought it would be worth the while to learn a little more about the doctor and his practice.
Originally, your clinic, Bow Valley Dermatology, was called Canmore Dermatology Clinic. Is it correct that when you first started practicing at Canmore Dermatology Clinic, in 2010, you were doing it part-time?
Dr. Paul Lubitz: Yes, that is correct. When I first moved to Canmore and first started practicing at Canmore Dermatology Clinic, I was at the medical practice only two days per week, and pretty short days at that. You see, prior to moving to Canmore, I was at another dermatology practice where I was working far too much, which ultimately left me burned out on practicing medicine. I had to take some time away from practicing to re-evaluate my priorities as a doctor and to figure out a better way to create a balance between my work and my life outside of work. So, when I returned to dermatology and began practicing at the Canmore clinic in 2010, I wanted to start off slow and gradually ease into a 40-hour workweek.
But, now you practice dermatology at your clinic full time and is it correct that you changed the name of Canmore Dermatology Clinic?
Dr. Paul Lubitz: Well, on the subject of part time vs full time, the answer depends a little on how you define full time. If you would have asked me, 7 or 8 years ago, the same question, did I work full time, I would have said yes, I worked full time. If you would have then asked me how many hours a week I worked, I would have hummed at little, and then slowly said “ oh about a hundred to 110 per week. I can say that today I definitely work only a small fraction of what I used to work. Do I work Monday to Friday, 5 days a week, or worse still 7 days a week? No. Currently, I only see patients three days per week, but I work 10 to 12 hours / day each of those three days. I offer a regular evening clinic to provide people some extra flexibility in when they can see me. Add to those clinic hours, the administration hours required to run an office effectively, the total hours would be 40 hours plus per week. I do put a lot of effort into my dictated consultation letters to the referring physicians to give them as much information as possible regarding my treatment of their patients. So I suppose, if full time is 40 hours per week, then its full time. You are completely right on the second point. Yes, earlier this year, the name of my clinic was changed from Canmore Dermatology Clinic to Bow Valley Dermatology, which will be my medical and surgical clinic’s permanent name.
And what kind of dermatological services do you provide at Bow Valley Dermatology? Are there types of medical services that you’re looking to focus on at the clinic?
Dr. Paul Lubitz: Ok. To answer your first question, I offer all forms of dermatological services at my medical practice. I do not restrict my medical practice in any way, as is sometimes the case in my specialty, particularly common in the larger centers. I try to dedicate a significant amount of time to the relevant educational components with each patient encounter, providing patients with information not only on the disease or skin condition they have, but also on the medical and where possible non-medical treatment options available. I focus on the prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of each skin disease I encounter.
I am interested in focusing my efforts on disease prevention whenever possible, as compared to a more reactionary type of medicine treating only once the disease presents. On this same note, I have a particular interest in skin cancer and precancerous lesions that are very prevalent in the Bow Valley. I have additional training in treating all aspects of skin cancer including surveillance, diagnosis, advanced treatment and prevention. I also have an significant interest in treating acne, and post acne scarring, in addition to eczema and psoriasis.
Finally, although it’s made up only a small portion of my patient population thus far in the Bow Valley, as I have wanted to establish my medical and surgical practices as my first priorities, I am well trained and experienced in cosmetic surgery and I do provide a wide range of cosmetic and skin enhancement treatments.
Can you describe briefly the environment that a new patient could expect at Bow Valley Dermatology? Are there qualities of patient care that you really focus on at the clinic?
Dr. Paul Lubitz: Absolutely. To begin, patient comfort has always been a point of focus for me as a dermatologist. One of the main reasons why I became a doctor was to have the ability to heal patients and relieve them of their discomfort and suffering. Beyond that, one of the reasons why I became a dermatologist was so I could heal patients of skin ailments, many of which can be disfiguring and can lead to a patient’s loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.
With all that said, I always try to provide treatment to my patients in the most comfortable manner possible.
Now, as I may have mentioned before, I’ve found in the past that large medical clinics may have an extraordinary number of patients, but this comes at the expense of providing quality patient care and quality patient education. In opening Bow Valley Dermatology, I wanted to avoid that large-clinic pitfall. That’s why at my medical practice, patients will find a small-size clinic with an environment that is both comfortable and inviting. It’s an environment that allows me to give attentive, committed care, as well as education, to all my patients.
I know that you’ve mentioned before that, with the higher elevation (which increases UV intensity) Bow Valley residents have to be especially careful about the sun and about avoiding damage to the skin caused by the sun. Can you describe some basic tips on how residents can go about protecting themselves from the sun and from skin damage?
Dr. Paul Lubitz: Of course. And, as a side note, this particular subject is something I always try to communicate to my patients, especially those who show mild or unfortunately usually worse sun and skin damage. The key to avoiding skin damage from the sun is vigilance, and vigilance on a daily basis. I always recommend that Bow Valley residents wear sunscreen lotion and, ideally, a lotion that has a high SPF number. I do realize that there is a lot of debate regarding sunscreen and SPF and product safety. And to a degree this debate is a good thing. It is important that research be continued to ensure that the products we are putting on our skin are safe in the long term. However, it is also important that we look at the data from research that we have already, and do not ignore the results. In particular, the present data clearly shows that the prevalence of skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions is increasing significantly. So whatever we are doing so far to prevent skin cancer has not been successful. It has been my personal experience here in the Bow Valley that patients wearing an SPF of 60 or higher regularly ie daily are developing less sun damage and precancerous lesions than when they were wearing sunscreen irregularly and with a less SPF. Only time will tell whether this will translate into less actual skin cancer in the next years but it is my suspicion that it will. Most importantly, sunscreen lotion shouldn’t be just worn when going out on a hike or doing some extended activity outside. It is important that sunscreen and other forms of sun protection, like wearing hats and visors and sunglasses, should really become a daily habit.