On Tuesday (April 29, the syndicated medical-talk show "The Doctors" hits 1,000 episodes. One of the show's physicians, emergency-medicine specialist Dr. Travis Stork, reflects on what it means in TV and medical terms.
Zap2it: What is it about the show that's gotten it to 1,000 episodes?
Travis Stork: I've always said the key to our show is that we all have health in common. When the show came on six years ago, people would ask me, "How are doctors going to spend an hour a day entertaining us and keeping us interested?" I think the key element is that the star of the show is the viewer.
Every day, we talk about health matters that can affect you and how long you live. And the 1,000th show in particular was amazing because looking back at all the stories we've shared of viewers whose lives were literally changed from watching an episode of "The Doctors" is pretty remarkable.
Has it changed the way you deal with patients?
It hasn't. It's just made me recognize the thirst for knowledge that patients have. I now recognize that doctoring doesn't just occur in doctor's offices. It also occurs outside, in terms of transmitting important health information, like through the show.
How should people interpret the medical information that's flooding them on TV and the Internet?
When there's a lot of information out there, especially with the Internet, you don't always know who to trust or where to turn, and I feel like on "The Doctors," we try to sift through all the information out there and all the things you can and should worry about (or not worry about) and try to break it down so that viewers can figure out what's best for them.
What would be your advice right now to new and aspiring physicians?
Just always remember why you went into the field. It's to help others and don't ever lose that passion.
What does it take to be a good medical communicator, whether on TV or in the exam room?
I think that listening is always important in communicating, and especially so in the world of medicine and health. For me, it's listening and being present, but also communicating to patients in a way that makes it individualized.
Are you up for another 1,000 episodes?
Absolutely. I think there's a realistic shot that we've got another 1,000 shows in us, because health and healthcare are changing so rapidly. Every day you're reading a new story or a new headline and I think staying on top of the latest developments and helping people sift through them and give our opinions will keep us at the forefront. As long as viewers continue to feel like we're addressing the issues that are important to them, we'll be around for many years.
Photo/Video credit: CBS Television Distribution