Inside the Phone of a Doctor

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“If you keep track of what you eat and what you do, you’ll be healthier.”

Dr. Virginia Hrywnak, a family physician and doctor of osteopathic medicine, would have a hard time managing her very full life and staying healthy without her phone.

Last year, Dr. Hrywnak left the lucrative and insanely busy world of private practice to spend more time with her husband and young children. But whether that made her life any less busy is still up for debate.

Today, instead of going into the same office every day and shouldering the unpredictable interruptions that come with being on call, Dr. Hrywnak works part time as a staff physician for a system of clinics throughout the Denver metro area.

In addition, the mother of two young girls works as a health and science educator for Healthy Learning Paths, a nonprofit organization that brings fun, hands-on health programs into local elementary schools – teaching children how to prevent illness and fight germs by exercising, eating right, brushing their teeth, washing their hands – and all those other things kids love to do.

And if a full professional life wasn’t enough, there’s also volunteering at her own children’s school, keeping the household running smoothly, spending time with her husband and managing a busy social calendar. With so much going on, Dr. Hrywnak relies on her phone to keep everything straight.

The doctor’s smartphone helps her keep her busy life straight

“The biggest thing is being able to have contact throughout the day,” she says. Being able to e-mail and text message with family, friends and coworkers enables Dr. Hrywnak to stay on top of things, even as she’s running from one responsibility to another. “Working two different jobs, I want to be good at both, and the phone helps with that.”

With schedules and work locations varying, the busy doctor relies heavily on having her calendar and GPS with her at all times. “I can’t imagine getting through the day without it,” she says, “especially since I’m working in different places all the time.”

The smartphone helps with fun and family too

But it’s not all work. Dr. Hrywnak loves using Artkive to preserve her daughters’ artwork and cut down on clutter. Evite helps her manage parties and fun events with friends. “We’re fortunate to get to socialize with great friends,” she says with a smile. Pinterest is her go-to app for discovering new recipes to make for those parties or finding fun projects for the kids to tackle (and sometimes a little mindless scrolling when she needs some down time).

Can a smartphone keep you healthy?

And then there’s staying healthy. While Dr. Hrywnak doesn’t use any medical apps, she’s excited that iTriage (for diagnosing and responding to problems) and MyFitnessPal (for logging diet and physical activity) provide ordinary folks with tools, information and education to help them manage their own health – as long as the apps aren’t used in lieu of professional medical care.

To keep herself healthy, Dr. Hrywnak relies on her phone for her workouts. Whether it’s Pandora, iTunes Radio or the NPR Music app, the phone provides the musical soundtrack that is essential for her exercise routine.

With such a packed life, you might think that Dr. Hrywnak is always connected, but you’d be wrong. The family-focused physician tries to be intentionally unplugged periodically, and mobile devices are strictly forbidden during mealtime. For an additional break from the incessant pings, beeps and nudges of mobile technology, Dr. Hrywnak intentionally leaves her phone far away from her bed at night. Though she had to keep it close when she was on call, her new life affords her a good night of technology-free sleep. “I purposely keep it downstairs,” she says. “I’ve found it affects my ability to sleep well.”

OtterBox has a variety of protective solutions for healthcare providers to help keep them mobile and allow them to deliver the very best care to their patients.

About the author

Eryc Eyl

Eryc Eyl is a writer, speaker, coach and consultant who helps individuals and organizations integrate work into a meaningful, fulfilling and fun life. You can learn more about him at

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