In Memorium: Remembering Larry Weed, M.D.

Gerald Yorioka, MD, SCMS President

Larry Weed, M.D.: 12/26/1923-6/3/2017

Few physicians may have personally met Larry Weed, but most have utilized the S.O.A.P. not format for clinical chart entries.

In the arena of continuing education, there has been a focus on setting forth clear learning objectives, but upon listening to Dr. Weed speak at the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education (ACME) national meeting, it became apparent from the effect on his audience that there was a different way to attain adult learning.  Many in the audience would be so stirred to disagree with him that they would dig in, sharpen their position, to counter his provocative statements.  Whether it was by design or not, there was effective learning brought to action.

The S.O.A.P. notes were easy in comparison to the knowledge-coupler concept he promoted in subsequent years.  It is guiding the clinical physician to optimally use the available knowledge at the point of care.  Technology in the form of On-line resources and Electronic Records is now catching up to his ideas.  From the beginning, the physician would be the one making the diagnosis, recognizing the fact that there are often valued intangible factors that enter into human decision making.  Japan has experimented with robot secretaries and news this week revealed the use of robots replacing coal miners.  I once had a patient with metastatic lung cancer who insisted on seeking six “second opinions.”  When asked why she picked the advise of one particular specialist, her response was, “I liked him better.”  I think Larry Weed would understand.

Emory University 1971 presentation by Larry Weed