Practice Administrators and Office Managers are often the unsung heroes of healthcare practices. They block and tackle for their providers, are responsible for successful office operations and look for upcoming trends and ways to improve the patient experience.
At the 2017 Medical Group Managers Association (MGMA) Annual Conference, administrators and managers alike gathered to network and learn from their peers on hot topics like patient engagement and the advancement of healthcare. Of note was internist Dr. Zubin Damania’s session, “Healthcare: Remixed,” where he presented under the moniker ZDoggMD, his persona across various social media and web platforms reaching more than one million people.
Encouraging Change Through YouTube
ZDoggMD became an outlet for Dr. Damania after he felt burnt out practicing hospitalist medicine at Stanford. With medicine shifting to focus on utilizing technology, Dr. Damania felt he started to lose the personal connection with his patients and instead was forced to focus on the relationship with the electronic health records (EHR). His turning point came after his young daughter indicated she wanted to be a doctor like him. He shooed her away, telling her he had hours left of EHR charting left that evening. He quickly realized his love of medicine had started to fade and he needed a creative outlet to laugh about what modern medicine lacks, as well as encourage change. As a result, ZDoggMD was born in 2010 with Dr. Damania posting videos on YouTube. Over the years, ZDoggMD’s parody and medical sketch videos (including Doc Vader) have entertained healthcare professionals and patients alike, with more than a quarter billion views.
The Birth of Healthcare 3.0
Dr. Damania’s keynote session incited both laughter and tears from the MGMA audience as he recounted the history of medicine. Healthcare 1.0, as he coined it, was the experience of the past: community-based, paternalistic medicine with some business and science, as well as a large emphasis on the art of practicing medicine. But 1.0 also had its imperfections, including high costs from siloed practitioners failing to communicate with each other, duplicative and unnecessary testing fueled by a fee-for-service reimbursement model, and a lack of evidence-based medicine. As technology advanced and the failings of 1.0 became clear, we entered our current state of Healthcare 2.0. This era is marked by value based reimbursement, best practices, population health, lots of data, a focus on communication, and of course, EHRs. We’ve moved to a time where medicine is a lot of business and science, but medicine as an industry machine means the art has been lost. The provider-patient relationship has become secondary to proper documentation and EHR clicks. Clinicians and administrators alike recognize while both 1.0 and 2.0 have their benefits and blemishes, something must change to promote the provider-patient relationship again. Enter, the prospect of Healthcare 3.0, a new model with a vision to unbreak healthcare.
Healthcare 3.0 is the opportunity to take the best parts of 1.0 and 2.0 to make a value-based, patient-centered model and bring back the art of care. It reduces administrative burdens, uses clinicians to the full extent of their license and moves from a system of sick care to health care. Era 3.0 creates an evidence-empowered rather than an evidence-enslaved system, valuing evidence-based medicine but not being restricted by it as providers recognize their patients as unique individuals. More than anything, 3.0 is hallmarked by a team-based approach to healthcare, caring for the patient in a holistic manner beginning with a strong primary care relationship.
Putting The Patient First With Healthcare 3.0
So, how do we move to a Healthcare 3.0 type of environment? Practices can start small and provide additional customer service training to staff. By treating every staff member as a key component of the care team, employees become empowered to focus on the patient care experience rather than the computer screen. While clinicians and organizations remain burdened by excessive regulatory tasks, consider business process outsourcing to allow a business associate to take on the time-zapping administrative tasks and allow your staff to return to patient-facing activities. Organizations should also consider embracing the best parts of value-based reimbursement to support clinicians in providing excellent patient care, like expanded office hours, telehealth and expanded communication tactics. ZDoggMD’s message is clear – we must return to the days of putting the patient first and the business second. The industry will change as healthcare professionals demand it to.
If you’re interested in learning more about Healthcare 3.0 and how to help your organization embrace this advanced state of medical practice, send us an email so we can schedule some time to speak with you.