Back to Basics: The Doctor Will See You Now

MPP0093690(3)This new series on Pixels & Pills will focus on the importance of revisiting traditional ways of thinking.

By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

Dr. Jay Parkinson is at the bleeding edge (pun intended) of an entirely new way of thinking about doctoring.

Except that it isn’t new at all.

Dr. Parkinson has an MD and a master’s of public health. He went into practice in Brooklyn in 2007, but in a startling new way. He had a website, Google Calendar, an iPhone and PayPal. House calls, IM, email and video chats. No insurance, no office, no staff of scrub-clad nurses and receptionists. Since then, his experience has ballooned into an extremely successful business model. And of course: he had 10% overhead costs, not the more usual 70%.

Oprah’s favorite Dr. Oz has this to say about him: “His system gives supremacy to the covenant between doctor and patient, and the bonus is that it’s a better value to you. By cutting out the middlemen who often distort that relationship, Parkinson is putting the doctor-patient relationship back where it should be. It’s slick and it’s smart. You might say it’s like living in the twenty-first century.”

But even more telling, Dr. Parkinson has this to say about his business model: “Is that innovative? Man, I don’t know. It’s paying attention to what’s awesome about Flickr and then doing it.”

He’s exactly right, and this is one of our mantras. We in the pharma industry need to stop being so elitist and thinking we’re so special. This industry is not utterly different from any other industry. No, we’re not making comic books or snack cakes or cardboard boxes. Yes, our work can literally be a matter of life and death. Yes, of course there are rules and regulations.

But find me an industry that doesn’t have regulations. We have got to break with the mindset that the way we’ve been doing it is always for good reason. And sometimes, what we find when we’re able to break with it, is that the way we used to do it was pretty great in a lot of ways.

House calls were wonderful. Sitting in a busy practice for two hours, filling out reams of insurance paperwork and inching away from the germ factories slumped around you? Not so wonderful. Of course Dr. Parkinson’s model worked. He looked at what was great about other technology-enabled situations in his life and applied them to healthcare, in order to make the best of the old ways possible again.

We must move away from tradition – the recent traditions that aren’t working – in order to look back and regain the benefits of the older traditions, amplified via technology, for both patient and provider.




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