Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Where Have I Been?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on April 1, 2015


I went dark there for a bit, compelling me to talk about my professional transitions. First, I am slowly working on making my office an electronic, moving into our digital world, with all the associated fears and excitement. My first goal is to e-prescribe, giving my patients the freedom to go directly to the pharmacy without the hassle of dropping off a prescription. My hesitation thus far has been that scheduled drugs, meaning stimulants and sleeping medications, require more sophisticated software to e-prescribe and so that limits me considerably. Still, I am going to take the baby step of e-prescribing to those who do not take regulated medications. This will give me mobile access to more information and it will make information management simpler. On the other hand, privacy concerns are huge, as is the dependence on connectivity. I can still write prescriptions, but with each baby step, I get more and more dependent on the internet.

Second, I am expanding my clinical practice to include an emphasis on “recovery” patients, meaning those people who find themselves wanting (and usually needing) to clean themselves from dangerous substances. This is an exciting expansion for me, as I am curious to drill down into the psychological underpinnings of self-harm. Self-harm, in big ways and small ways, has always been a major emphasis of my practice, but adding a focus of substance abuse expands my understanding of the human mind. My inquiry, my passion, for hearing a person’s narrative fits well with helping those who are seeking to start a new chapter. My understanding of psychotropic drugs both helps me understand some of the consequences of their addiction as well as helping me use prescription drugs to decrease their suffering while they transition from substance dependence to sober living.

These two areas of expansion have consumed the part of my brain which allows me to post often. As I settle into my new routines, while maintaining my previous focus on private practice and teaching, I hope to resume frequent postings. Thank you, readers, for your patience.

2 Responses to “Where Have I Been?”

  1. Shelly said

    Glad you’re back. I’m curious about this e-software. Is there a possibility of being hacked so that the controlled medication can be “stolen” and abused? How does your understanding of psychotropic drugs tie in with the consequences of addiction? Do you use these drugs to assist them with breaking their addictions?

    • Yes, there is a huge risk of hacking prescriptions. It is very scary, but I am not sure it is a reason not to do it. Maybe it is. I need to think about that.
      In the new world of addiction, drugs such as Naltrexone are prescribed to decrease alcohol cravings. It works in a way termed “harm reduction” where the person still drinks, but with Naltrexone, they are less likely to binge drink. So yes, these kinds of drugs are used to help them break their addiction. Thanks.

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