Is ‘ZDoggMD’ restoring humanity to health care? (weekend reading)

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]ZDoggMD–an advocate/video artist, real name Zubin Damania, MD, internist, former hospitalist at Stanford Medical Center and founder of a member-based healthcare service called Turntable Health HQ’d in reviving downtown Las Vegas–has a cause, and that is reforming primary care out of the present failing model, saving patients and healthcare professionals as well. The ZDoggMD videos focus on the breakdown of the system, including that doctors–and nurses–have become the face of a system that is bankrupting both older adults and the chronically ill. This Editor would also add that it’s a system that is burning out and driving out older, more experienced doctors and nurses to retirement and admin-type jobs, and making the entire field unattractive to 20-somethings, as it gets more formulaic, cost savings-driven and care-short. See Dr Damania on ‘stopping playing the game’ in this TEDMED talk on Zombie Doctors.

The Unbreak Healthcare movement has a specific list of grievances, here as listed in investor/consultant Dave Chase’s article:

  • Doctors: Working as glorified billing clerks to insurance companies and are abused by the system leads to burnout
  • Nurses: Volume-driven disregard for patient safety & understaffing cause major stress (focus on computer data entry instead of bedside care)
  • Middle class: Healthcare’s hyperinflation caused an economic depression & is #1 driver of bankruptcy
  • Millennials: Their health care “bill” makes their college debt look small and will make them indentured servants to healthcare
  • School leaders & advocates: Healthcare has stolen budgets & poor public health creates challenges for students that manifest in the classroom
  • Seniors and soon-to-be seniors: Risky, uncoordinated care is frustrating & costly; Nest Eggs have been crushed
  • People dealing with end-of-life: We’re creating unnecessary misery in waning days (at great expense to families/taxpayers)

The ZDoggMD videos are satire–serious fun–and they pack a powerful message into a street/rap format, especially on patients and end of life care. They also emphasize that both clinicians and ordinary people have to work together to change things.

Yet commercialism does enter. Watch this one on EHRs being what many doctors have complained  they are for years, to official scorn and condescension:  ‘a glorified billing platform with some patient stuff tacked on.’ Where this video lost me is that it ties into LetDoctorsBeDoctors, ostensibly a site where medical professionals could share their frustrations, but which at the end reveals itself as a promotional site for athenahealth. It’s utterly spoiled by an advert message. “At athenahealth, we believe providers need technology that lets them focus on what really matters: delivering patient care. So we created it. Meet the EHR that lets doctors be doctors.” Geez, can’t we marketers lay off the bang-bang messaging for once to gain legitimate, trustable feedback?

Last: Is the objective really value-based health, because that’s a term with little meaning (and what there is a fun house mirror)? Can we develop a better terminology?

And broken health is a worldwide problem. How does this speak, how can this execute, to centralized or chaotic systems unlike the US?

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