The Value of a Doctor in 2015

We’re going through a dramatic shift in the healthcare industry that is counterintuitive to common sense. With that shift comes one undeniable fact.

Medicine as we know it is changing, and medicine as we know it tomorrow will not look like anything that we can imagine today.

Traditionally, medicine would rely solely on a physician’s experience and clinical judgement, but for years, people have been clamoring for less ‘clinical judgement’ and more data. While this data may seem desirable and valuable, we are now learning that data in and of itself is of no real value. It is only actionable data which differentiates itself.

As an example, a mobile app which gives a pulse oxygenation of 85​ % is of no value without additional data. Is this reading from a 20 year old man or 90 year old woman? Does this represent an improvement from a previous, lower reading? In other words, it is counterintuitive to think that any data is of value when actually it is only the actionable data that has real value.

While we continue to gather more data, we have to re-define what we expect from the new trillions of data points we have access to on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the prevalence of medical data and information online is leading to the diminishing value of an actual doctor, along with the service that is provided to the patient.

According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Internet users have looked up health information online within the past year. 77% of the users who looked up health information online used a search engine, compared to 13% who started their search on sites such as WebMD.

52% of smartphone owners have used their phones to search for medical information using a web browser, but according to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 Mobile Health Report, only 19% of smartphone users have downloaded an app specifically to track or manage their health.

One way for medical professionals to create extra value and continue to provide outstanding service is by providing complimentary WiFi access in the waiting area of their office.

According to Vitals.com, the average time spent in the United States waiting to see a doctor during a visit was 21 minutes in 2014, up 6% since 2012. For the people who are patiently waiting, free guest WiFi is one way to provide value in that 21 minute window. It’s even possible to use that WiFi network to curate custom content for guests, connecting them to to related medical news and information they may have an interest in learning more about.

At the Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Center in Beverly Hills, CA, Dr. Peter Weiss and his staff are encouraging guests and visitors to use their waiting time as effectively as possible. The RDWHC has found that offering complimentary high-speed WiFi (with SocialSign.in) for guests has led to an increase in patient satisfaction.

While traditionally this type of behavior has been frowned upon (we’ve all seen a sign asking us not to use our phones in the waiting room at some point), the free access has actually helped streamline the questions and concerns many have prior to meeting with their doctor.

Internal data from the RDWHC has shown that 45% of all guests who connect to the WiFi network spend an average of 20-60 minutes using the network. By encouraging patients to connect to the WiFi network and research their issue while waiting, doctors have found that the time they spend together is more productive, which leads to better a better experience during their visit. This is where the value of a doctor truly shines: to expertly provide advice and comfort.

Doctors can save your life, make you feel better and comfort you at the same time. Nothing will replace the hands-on approach a great doctor can provide to his patients. In the future, however, it will be the doctors who create extra value for their patients, with value-add services such as complimentary high-speed WiFi, that differentiate themselves from their competition.

In these complicated times in the medical industry, doctors who provide care for those who are in need and cannot afford the appointment are the ones creating the true value. It is the compassion and comfort of a doctor that a computer will never be able to replace.

The Value of a Doctor in 2015 is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Advisor to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008 that was originally published on SocialSign.in.

Revisiting the Doctor Visit

Today we are more in tune with our health than any other time in history. This new focus on health and change in consumer behavior is largely being driven by startups in Silicon Valley and innovative tech companies around the world.

The innovators are disrupting and consumerizing healthcare to the benefit of all of us.

As tech companies consumerize healthcare and create more frictionless experiences, it would behoove doctors to take notice and implement certain technologies and services into their practice to improve the patient’s overall experience.

Focusing on user experience, many tech companies are developing healthcare products that consumers want to utilize on a daily basis. This is resulting in higher engagement rates, which means users are more likely to take their health more seriously, focusing on exercise and diet.

While doctors are clearly focused on the health needs of their patients, many haven’t adjusted to the consumerization of healthcare by taking into account the whole user experience.

Take the doctor’s visit. When you visit a doctor, you have to sign in, fill out paperwork, share your insurance card, then take a seat in the waiting room. Wait times now average 21 minutes before seeing your doctor, an increase of 6 percent since 2012, according to healthcare data analytics firm Vitals.com.

To improve the patient experience, doctors and employees of medical practices should start to consider how to create value for their patients. “The value experience is unknown in the medical field,” says Dr. Daniel E. Thompson of Commonwealth Orthopaedics, the official orthopedic and physical therapy partner of the Washington Redskins.

While creating value is a relatively new approach in the medical field, it is the bread and butter of the hospitality industry. César Ritz, founder of The Ritz hotels, had the famous saying, “The customer is never wrong.” The staff at doctor’s offices could learn a lot from Ritz and his focus on providing excellent customer service.

With a fresh new attitude and approach to customer service by staff, doctors should focus on eliminating friction with the office visit. Instead of filling out paperwork, patients should be able to wave their smartphone in front of a near-field communication (NFC) device, which would enable the staff to instantly view their patient history and insurance information on a tablet.

Staff checking in patients would know their required co-pay and whether they hit their deductible. This data would allow the provider to charge the correct amount for the office visit, without overcharging or incurring any friction, since the patients’ credit cards would be on file.

A receipt would instantly be emailed to patients, notifying them about complimentary Wi-Fi and encouraging them to post a review of their visit online. The receptionist can send opt-in updates via iBeacon technology, informing patients about their remaining wait time and their exam room.

By staying in constant communication with patients, doctor’s offices can help reduce stress level. Even after a 21-minute wait, patients will be more satisfied with their visit if they’re kept in the loop. Once the appointment ends, patients could receive any additional paperwork via email, eliminating the risk that they could misplace important health documents.

Technology will only enhance the doctor’s visit, enabling doctors to focus on what they do best: providing care for those in need.

Revisiting the Doctor Visit is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.

Today We Are Data Collectors. Tomorrow We Are Possibly Healthier.

Today we are collectors of our personal health data. Tomorrow we are possibly healthier thanks in part to data gathered by wearable devices and sensors in our clothing and upon our bodies.

Your pulse might be 72, your respiratory rate 16, and you might have walked a total number of 5,550 steps so far today but the day isn’t over yet. While these numbers might not mean much to you today, they will tomorrow as doctors fundamentally re-approach the way they practice medicine.

As doctors begin to embrace wearable technology and reconsider the way they have traditionally practiced medicine, we must be careful not to misinterpret the data. If the data gathered from a wearable device is misinterpreted, the doctor could inadvertently offer a misleading and possibly incorrect course of action.

The same misinterpretation could be attributed to the financial markets. For example, if every single United States citizen stopped looking for work then the unemployment rate would be effectively less than 1%. While the markets would cheer and stocks would roar, this false understanding of the data would create an artificial bubble in the market which could then inflate prices before leading us into a deep recession.

While free markets can recover from the misinterpretation of data, a human being cannot. If data is profoundly misinterpreted by a doctor then the patient could suffer through any number of unnecessary treatments . Who would be to blame? The doctor or the data?

The doctor would be to blame, not the data as it is the doctor who misinterpreted the collected information. In order to avoid these catastrophic events in the future, doctors will need to fundamentally rethink and re-approach the way that they practice medicine.

It will be the forward thinking doctors who embrace a new way of practicing medicine and move to a concierge business model who will prosper in this new marketplace. These doctors will be able to hire the best engineers, data scientists, customer service specialists and forward-thinking physicians. These practices will be able to actively explore new ideas, study massive amounts of data, and embrace innovation with the goal of creating a healthier you.

While wearable technology might not make you healthier, it will force Doctors to fundamentally re-approach the way in which they currently practice medicine.

Today We Are Data Collectors. Tomorrow We Are Possibly Healthier. is an article co-written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Adviser to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Wearable Technology and the CEO’s Health

We risk creating undue fear amongst shareholders of companies whose CEOs share wearable health data with their friends by email, social media or on a closed platform.

In Andrew Hill’s July 7th column “Beware what wearable technology tells the market about CEO health” published in the Financial Times, Mr. Hill touches on the sensitive topic of disclosure and the CEO’s health.

Mr. Hill’s well written column was a stark reminder that we are jumping to incorrect conclusions about ​the current functionality of wearable technology and our health.

Today, wearable health technology does not provide actionable data that a physician can use to benefit the care of his or her patient​.

In the future, as wearable technology evolves and becomes “smarter”, physicians will be able to act upon the data gathered as it will be more reliable.

We risk creating undue fear amongst shareholders of companies whose CEOs share wearable health data with their friends by email, social media or on a closed platform.

​This data could misinterpreted by shareholders either in a positive or negative sense which could falsely send a company’s share price up or down depending on how the data is interpreted.

Most shareholders today will not understand the data gathered by wearable health devices which will cause them to misunderstand the health of the CEO and misinterpret the overall health of the company.

As we move towards a society in which wearable health technology is commonplace, we must not be drawn in by the temptations of gamification.

We must proceed with caution all without losing sight of the future and the positive impact that wearable health technology will have on our health.

Wearable Technology and the CEO’s Health is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Adviser to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Should Doctors Embrace Wearable Technology?

Today, wearable technology is not geared toward the medical profession, but focused on the “quantified self” movement and individuals interested in their overall health.

As wearable technology continues to evolve and more people start using wearable devices to track their steps, weight and activities, ​doctors and healthcare providers will be forced to play catch up​and fundamentally re-think how they currently approach practicing medicine; the majority of wearable devices are consumer products, not medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This causes certain doctors to view wearable devices as little more than “toys.” This is a short-sighted view, showing little understanding of what the technology is capable of as it relates to health care, no vision for the future of wearable technology.

These doctors will have to fundamentally re-examine the way they approach practicing medicine. Healthcare is shifting away from a “Doctor Knows Best”industry to a patient first industry that is being disrupted by innovation and the overall consumerization of the healthcare field.

Individuals taking a more active role in their personal health are driving the consumerization of healthcare. This is done by using wearable devices to track everyday movements and weight fluctuations. Noticing this growing trend in the marketplace Intel has started to develop new chips that are capable of tracking in-depth, everyday consumer health data.

Data gathered by these devices will open a new revenue stream for forward thinking doctors and healthcare providers who are moving to a concierge business model. Doctors and healthcare providers will be able to charge patients a monthly-fee to help guide them through the process of making intelligent decisions based on their everyday data.

The role of the doctor will be to guide and advise on how to interpret the everyday data. In our previous article we wrote about the role doctors will play new as wearable technology evolves. That role is still going to continue to evolve and change as healthcare continues to evolve and moves towards a patient-friendly industry both on the medical and insurance side of the business.

Companies such as Oscar Health Insurance in New York City are making the health insurance process more consumer friendly, all the benefit of the patient.

Meanwhile, companies such as Apple with their recent announcement of HealthKit and Google with their recent announcement of Google Fit and Nike with their Nike+ initiative are moving healthcare toward a patient-friendly industry.

All of these technological advancements will ultimately end up benefiting patients if they are willing to use the technology and share that health data with technology companies and doctors.

Will wearable technology make us healthier? Not necessarily. However, wearable technology will create new industries and business built around a healthier you.

And it will be the innovative, forward thinking doctors and their medical business partners who identify this trend early and adapt their current business models and medical practices to benefit from the latest global trend in technology.

Should Doctors Embrace Wearable Technology? is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Adviser to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008 that was originally published on General Electric Reports.