Healing Hands, Happy Heart: Meet Healthway Medical GP – Dr Yeo Ee Jie

Healing Hands, Happy Hearts -

Discovering the heart of Healthway Medical GPs

At Healthway Medical, our dedicated General Practitioners go the extra mile to not just diagnose ailments, but to truly comprehend the lifestyles and needs of the patients they serve. Our mission? To revolutionise the GP-patient dynamic. We’re not just closing the gap; we’re building bridges. By fostering deeper, more meaningful connections with our residents, our GPs aim to create a healthcare experience that’s not just about treatments, but about understanding and empowerment.

Our Healing Hands, Happy Hearts series offers you a glimpse into the person beyond being a dedicated Healthway Medical GP, their journey, perspectives and their aspirations for the people they serve.

Meet Dr Yeo Ee Jie, a compassionate healthcare provider whose medical journey began in the sun-kissed land of Melbourne, Australia. His aspirations led him back to Singapore, where he honed his skills in the public health sector before transitioning to his current role as a General Practitioner at Healthway Medical. He embraces the notion that every encounter holds a lesson, a belief that fuels his commitment for continuous learning. From his family’s profound guidance and support to the wisdom imparted by mentors and patients, every interaction leaves an indelible mark on him.

He deeply values cultivating and nurturing robust doctor-patient relationships, acknowledging that understanding a patient’s medical and social background is pivotal for optimal treatment outcomes. Driven by these experiences, he strives to provide a holistic approach to his medical practice, both physically and mentally, that honours the uniqueness of each patient he serves.

At the core of Dr Yeo’s medical approach is his unwavering commitment to patient-centred care. Through compassionate interactions and empowered guidance, Dr Yeo aims to equip his patients with the tools they need to achieve optimal health outcomes and improve their quality of life.

Hi Doctor! To start, could you walk us through your journey as a GP, share some memorable experiences you've had, and describe the approach you take in your medical practice?

Hello everyone! Here’s a brief history of my medical journey. It began in Australia, where I completed my medical school at Monash University. I decided to come back to Singapore and worked in the public health sector for five years before becoming a GP. 

Being a GP comes with an array of challenges, with a wide range of clinical presentations to keep me on my toes! From bizarre medical presentations to complex social situations, no patient walking into my consultation room is the same. As the first point of contact for the patient’s concern, it is paramount for me to get to know the patient well, both medically and socially. Doing so aids in the accurate management of my patient’s medical condition and their adherence to treatment.

I have a strong emphasis for patient-centred care, i.e. a healthcare plan tailored specifically for my patients to address their unique healthcare needs and align their care plans to their own needs. This allows my patients to address their concerns about keeping to their health plans with certain real-life limitations. I do enjoy the patient interactions and equipping them with the knowledge and advice they need to improve their health outcomes to live with a better quality of life.

Dr Yeo Ee Jie with his family for his graduation
Dr Yeo Ee Jie with his friends and schoolmates in Australia

You seem to care a lot for the patients you meet. How have the people in your personal and professional life shaped you as a doctor and influenced your perspective on life?

I always believe that people you interact with in your personal life and at work play an important part in shaping your personality and how you perceive the world around you. My parents taught me that mastery can be achieved through a combination of passion and drive, while my younger brother gave me the opportunity to learn about responsibility and being a good role model for him to follow. Being the Yin to my Yang, my wife has been giving her undulling support to put through the long hours and training I have been going through. My son has taught me much about fatherhood and understanding parental concerns better. The colleagues and seniors I have worked with guided and taught me how to better approach clinical presentations and how to best manage patients with such conditions.

One of the most invaluable teachers in the medical world are our patients. Through them, we learn how best to tailor treatments according to their needs and provide the best care we possibly can. And through them, we understand and gain empathy for the journey they are embarking on. I have had many memorable encounters with patients, from a wife going down on her knees to save her husband to a patient whom I tried my best to send home only to have an unforeseen catastrophic event in the hospital leading to his passing with his last words to me being “thank you”. These incidents will always shape your practice and give you a different perspective on life.

Dr Yeo Ee Jie with his wife and son

When it comes to treating patients, there is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach. Based on your experience as a GP, would you mind offering some practical health tips or lifestyle recommendations specifically designed for individuals leading busy lives?

Having an overhaul of your lifestyle to live a healthier lifestyle can be daunting, especially when an action you once didn’t have to think about becomes a more conscientious action that you have to take. Here are a few tips that can be helpful.

The first thing you can do is get others to do it with you! This is always the easiest first step; motivating one another can make things easier. It could be a spouse, family member, or even a friend. Join clubs or find social groups with interests that align with yours to make things more fun and exciting.

Secondly, going slow and steady will help to increase compliance as well. Consistency will gradually improve your outcome. Starting out too intensely will likely result in poor compliance. Instead of aiming to run 5km on your first run in years, start with 1km every few days and gradually increase the distance. You can start having your morning Kopi and Teh as “siu dai” instead of kosong, OR order kosong and add sugar in decreasing amounts each time. Take the time to attain that goal, and incremental improvement will lead to great results over time.

Find methods that motivate you to be healthier. There are many ways to skin a cat, and likewise, there are many ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle. With the internet and many fad diets and exercises outside, find one that suits your lifestyle. Intermittent fasting does not work for everyone, and some don’t enjoy running. 

Create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals. Write down a specific goal (e.g. weight loss, exercise tolerance) that can be measured (e.g. how much sugar is in my coffee, how many minutes of exercise) and is achievable + relevant to your current condition within a set amount of time.Constantly review these goals, and don’t be demoralised if you cannot attain them. Continually shift that goalpost, reflect on what went wrong, and try again.

You're right! Every small effort contributes, and tracking our progress allows us to appreciate the improvements over time. Given the demanding nature of your role as a GP, how do you navigate the challenges of balancing your professional responsibilities with your personal life commitments?

I cannot stress how important it is for one to have their own “me-time”. Having a clearer mind enables you to function better daily. I find that going for a run in the morning helps me energise for the day and meets my recommended weekly amount of exercise. It takes discipline, and the struggle is real initially. But once the routine is established, things will become much easier. With limited time as well, it is crucial for one to plan out your day properly to maximise the time you have.

Making time for hobbies is equally important. I enjoy photography and planning hiking trips. Walking in nature surrounded by mountains and lakes, getting away from the concrete jungle helps clear my mind. Like many millennials, I do enjoy gaming whenever I can at home to de-stress from a busy day at work. 

Social life is also essential. While I may not have much time to spend with friends and family, I will make up for it with quality time. I do cherish the times spent with people close to me and will always keep my schedule free for the people who matter to me

Here's Dr Yeo Ee Jie enjoying the company of his friends
Dr. Yeo Ee Jie pursues balance in life through his hobbies

We can strive to make the best of the time we have. What's ahead for you in your medical journey, Doctor? Are there specific goals or areas you're focusing on to better meet the evolving healthcare needs of your community?

Prevention is key, and I believe in helping patients in my community with health prevention. Aside from screening for the Big Three (diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol), I believe cancer screening is equally important and should not be overlooked. Do not fear “finding out” that you have any disease. The idea of screening is for early detection. Early detection reduces the risk of severe illnesses, and it is easier to manage diseases at an early stage.

I would like to explore the area of mental health and provide services to those in need of mental health help. Mental health issues have been on the rise due to the ever-increasing cost of living as well as the unrealistic expectations of life presented on social media Mental health illness should not be stigmatised, and improving one’s mental health can improve their quality of life. We must not forget how one’s mood can affect their function and seek help earlier if needed.

Wishing you the best in your pursuit! As we finish up, is there anything you'd like to say to your community?

Do not neglect your mental well-being, and do not be afraid to seek help when you need it. People always focus on their physical health but neglect their mental health. Having strong social support networks, meaningful motivations, and striking a good work-life balance are all protective factors. You only have one life to live; live it wisely.

Dr Yeo Ee Jie is a General Practitioner at Healthway Medical (Jalan Membina)

Prior to joining Healthway Medical, Dr Yeo has experience caring for patients in various medical specialties including General Medicine, Geriatrics, Rehabilitation Medicine, Respiratory and Critical Care medicine, and Oncology (cancer care). A strong believer in preventive medicine, he is into health/cancer screening and vaccinations to reduce healthcare burden to patients.