Board-certified primary care physician Karen Krutchick, MD, leads the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Women’s Primary Care practice. She earned her medical degree from the State University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where she completed her residency and internship. Dr. Krutchick and her family live locally.
Q. Why did you choose a career in medicine, and why Women’s Primary Care?
A. I have always wanted to help people, but I did have some inspiration. When I was in college, my sister was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her doctor was fantastic, such a wonderful role mode. I could only ever envision being a doctor like that.
Women’s Primary Care is on the rise as women are taking a more active role in their own healthcare, increasing their personal accountability. I chose to focus as a women’s primary care specialist so I could provide whole-patient care with an eye to those concerns that are specific to women.
Primary care can sometimes be the only safe place in a woman’s life, and so we offer a space where patients can feel comfortable to talk about whatever is on their mind. Sometimes, these concerns are the root of a physical complaint. The care I provide pays attention to those details, so I can seek solutions more permanent than just treating symptoms. There is a gynecologist in the office, as well. We offer continuity of care from puberty to delivery and postpartum care to menopause.
Q. What is the personal or professional philosophy that most guides your work?
A. As I completed my rotations and learned about medicine, I fell in love with my patients. I have an old-school family doctor mentality that emphasizes putting patients first by really coming to know them and allowing them to know me. That personal touch builds trust so I can better tailor their care. We don’t rush appointments. I’m pretty open and honest with my patients, sharing my true self, being a confidant, someone they can trust.
In a practice that prioritizes individualized care, I am always open to patients who want to do their own research. I consider primary care a partnership, willing to thoughtfully consider patients’ ideas as they consider mine. If I am concerned that a particular approach is not in the best interest of the patient, I will explain what I am thinking and why I am thinking it. It is important for patients to know that they have the final say in their own care, but at the same time, to know I will always give them my best professional advice to help them achieve their healthcare goals.
For example, I have patients who do not want to commit to taking high blood pressure medicines for the rest of their lives. I try to take their preferences into account by beginning care with diet, exercise, cutting out salt, and other non-pharmaceutical measures. In three months, medications may end up being the best answer, but at least we tried.
Q. What is your most memorable moment from your time here at Saratoga Hospital?
A. I joined Saratoga Hospital Medical Group in December 2018, but I have to say, my most memorable moment in healthcare anywhere is occurring right now. I have never seen anything like this COVID-19 pandemic. This is my first use of telemedicine, and I am happy to see patients willing to switch over without question, so willing to be flexible to meet their healthcare needs. There has been an incredible amount of community support for these changes. I could not be more proud of my patients and this community in this time of crisis.
Q. What helpful words of advice or tips would you most like to share with existing or potential patients of your specialty?
A. My number one advice is for people to find a doctor they feel a connection with. It might not be me, and that’s okay. People need to find a provider they feel comfortable with because they have to be honest about sensitive matters. They have to be willing to discuss symptoms, even if they feel they are silly. If they don’t feel they can tell me what is going on, I won’t be able to help them. Without a doubt, choose a doctor you feel you can trust and talk to about anything.
Q. What might patients be surprised to learn about you?
A. I have identical twin daughters, two-and-a-half years old. Being a twin mom is incredible and challenging. They are complete opposites in personality. What works for one, doesn’t work for the other. Every day is an adventure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would love to connect with other twin moms in the area.
I also lived in Bozeman, Montana for a couple years. I moved out there with my husband to help open a brand new urgent care. But my medical training was in Buffalo, NY, where I met my husband, and we both wanted to move back here. We chose Saratoga Springs for its small-town feel, which we really like. We like that they shut down the main street for parades, the annual chowder fest, and the great public schools. It’s the perfect place to raise our girls.
Dr. Krutchick is accepting new patients at Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Women’s Primary Care. She sees patients at 665 Route 9 in Wilton. To make an appointment, call 518-363-8815. For more information, go to SaratogaHospital.org.