ZDoggMD: It's time for healthcare to look to version 3.0

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Healthcare needs to become version 3.0, according to ZDoggMD. (Getty/urfingussl)

ORLANDO, Fla.—It's time for healthcare to look to version 3.0.

That's according to Zubin Damania, M.D., better known as the social media star ZDoggMD, who was addressing the 30th annual Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Forum, which kicked off Monday.

What is version 3.0?

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As Damania explains it, health 1.0 built strong relationships between patients and doctors but was paternalistic and lacked the quality oversight the industry sees today. Health 2.0, where the industry is today, moved the industry forward with new technology but was plagued with its own problems, Damania said.

Electronic health records are the prime example—doctors were promised iPhones, but were given “1992 car phones,” he said. “Health 2.0 is a story of failed potential and failed process,” Damania said. 

The future of healthcare will be a mashup of the old-school, personal approach and more modern technology and quality measurement, he said.

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The health system of the future, he said, will address the demands of two elements of both patients and providers that are at odds with each other—the elephant, essentially a person’s id that’s driven by emotion and impulse, and the elephant’s rider, their logical, higher reasoning.

The rider, Damania said, is often beholden to the whims of the elephant. For example, a patient who’s told it’s time for a vaccination may go online and reject the vaccine because a celebrity believes they’re linked to autism, Damania said.

The disconnect between these two also drives physician burnout, or, as he called it, moral distress. Doctors become caught up in the idea that they can’t change the system, which is driven by their inner “elephant,” he said. “We like to work hard—when it’s meaningful, purposeful work,” Damania said.

Damania’s well-known parody videos target both the elephant and the rider, he said. For example, a song called “Ain’t the Way to Die,” a remix of Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” portrays the patient and provider perspective at the end of life before urging both to have discussions about advance directives.

Damania said the video is meant to work in two steps: One, appeal to the emotion, or the elephant and then two, ask for a change from the rider while keeping that change small and manageable.

RELATED: Humor in healthcare—Doc uses satire to drive transformation 

Damania believed he had brought these ideas together found the key to Health 3.0 when he founded Turntable Health in 2013. The Las Vegas clinic offered collaborative, team-based primary care at low or no cost to patients, and the early results were significant.

In the first year, Turntable Health saw its patients’ inpatient admissions decrease by 49% and emergency department visits decrease by 54%. But, the clinic closed in January 2017 when its insurer shuttered.

So, Damania is pushing toward healthcare’s future by speaking engagements and his web show, “Incident Report.” Though Turntable didn’t make it, Damania said he’s still working to reach the elephant and rider inside his fellow physicians. 

“Help us optimize, so 3.0 is inevitable,” he said.