Ep022: Dr. Jay Parkinson on Creating the ‘Virtualist’ Doctor

By March 14, 2017Podcast

Many can claim to be doctors. But only one can officially claim the moniker “The Doctor of the Future”…and that’s my good friend and guest for today, Dr. Jay Parkinson. He has graced the covers of some of the most recognized magazines and presented on the worlds most prestigious stages. He possesses an unusual blend of doctor, technologist, and designer, and combines them in unusual ways to help heal our ailing medical system.

Over a decade ago Dr. Parkinson took a leap of faith. Having just wrapped up his residency in pediatrics and preventative medicine, he entered a strange universe where technology was becoming deeply integrated into the fabric of our daily lives. The iPhone had just been released, and video technology was just starting to gain mainstream adoption.

So what does a fresh-out-of-residency doctor do? Using only his laptop, email, Google and a friendly personality, Dr. Parkinson did what most others could not imagine…he made medical house calls out of his apartment in Brooklyn. Overnight, Dr. Parkinson became a media sensation as the face of the future of medicine, and is considered a pioneer in a burgeoning billion-dollar market called, telemedicine. Today he is the Co-Founder of Sherpaa, an on-demand, next generation medical practice.

Today, we get personal and discuss it all in this episode. Dr. Parkinson walks us through his early influences on design, his infamous backyard parties in Brooklyn, the untold struggles and obstacles he faced for his early ventures, what he believes to be the doctor of the future, and even delve into the future of primary care.  So sit back and enjoy the conversation as you listen to today’s episode.

Now, That’s Unusual.

About Jay Parkinson

Billed as the Doctor of the Future, Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH is the Co-founder and CEO of Sherpaa, an on-demand medical practice that allows patients to reach out to a personal health navigator online before making a costly visit to a primary care physician, emergency room or urgent care center. Sherpaa doctors read the patient’s case, ask questions, order tests if necessary, then diagnose, treat and follow-up. They can even e-prescribe through the platform.

Dr. Parkinson trained in pediatrics and preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins University. The last day of his residency fell one day after the launch of the iPhone in 2007, and he leveraged this new technology to conceive the world’s first internet-enabled house call practice. This concept went on to become Hello Health, a cloud-based electronic medical record that enables doctors and patients to connect in and out of the office via email, IM and video chat.

In 2010, Dr. Parkinson co-founded The Future Well, a design firm specializing in health care for clients such as Sanofi, Planned Parenthood and the National Health Service in the UK. Through this venture, he created Omnio, the most popular iPad app for physicians. An authority on the new frontiers technology creates for health and medical care, he has given talks at 50-plus conferences including TED, Google’s Zeitgeist, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Aspen Institute and Pop!Tech.

Key Interview Takeaways

Cultivate your creative edge. Parkinson encourages you to ask the annoying question, “Why do you do it this way?” and steal ideas from other industries – in order to facilitate growth and change for the better in your field.

The future of medicine includes the virtualist, a new kind medical practitioner who understands how to leverage technology as an online primary care doctor. She can curb unnecessary office visits and connect patients with specialists as needed.

In health care, communicating via messaging technology can be advantageous. Whether treating a patient in person or online, doctors are investigators who ask questions and then confirm suspicions with objective evidence. Parkinson points out that asking the same data-driven set of questions and giving the patient time to think through his answers can improve the quality of communication.

Continuity is key in providing the highest quality of care. While many health care tech solutions make care more fragmented, Sherpaa seeks to provide consistency by connecting patients with the same primary care physician each time.

The VC model may not be right for health care. Venture capitalists are traditionally looking for a tenfold  return on investment in the first seven years, and the glacial pace of progress in health care doesn’t align with those goals.

In America, we are experiencing cost disease. The cost of education and health care has gone up ten times since 1970 – with no significant change in quality. And we are on course for the cost of health care to double three times in the next 20 years. Parkinson suggests that incremental innovation is not enough; perhaps we need to ‘blow up’ a broken system.

 Connect with Jay Parkinson

Dr. Jay on Twitter

Dr. Jay on Medium

Dr. Jay on Tumblr



Omnio App

“Considerations on Cost Disease”– by Scott Alexander


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