And Dr. Josh Is Quoted On, Again

hhOne could say that Atlas MD is on fire, after recent media attention. But now Forbes contributor Dave Chase (left) has posted a new article on He’s released an exclusive book excerpt from Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement. In his online article releasing an advanced read of a chapter he wrote, he’s included a quote from Dr. Josh:

“A good scalpel makes a better surgeon. Good communication makes a better doctor.” – Dr. Josh Umbehr

Dave’s done extensive writing for Forbes. According to him, people have been referring to “Patient Engagement” as the “Blockbuster Drug of the Century” for its tremendous impact on health outcomes. HIMSS (the professional association for healthIT) recognizes its importance and therefore commissioned this seminal book on Patient Engagement – Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement. The book project was led by Jan Oldenburg who oversees patient engagement programs for Aetna. Dave was added to the team that pulled the book together alongside numerous industry contributors.

So the exciting news for Dave is that Forbes got permission to exclusively publish a chapter of the book, his of course. Turns out that his chapter goes over the importance of communication between patient and provider. That’s something Atlas MD has been advocating as a clear benefit of direct care. That’s why we cut the red tape, and got out of HIPAA regulation, so we can talk freely to our patients. We’ve even built an EMR app that can aggregate texts, emails and social media messages into a comprehensive, accessible patient file. We want more doctors and patients to be able to communicate freely. That’s part of our argument for a monthly subscription model in direct care—that way doctors don’t have to fret about what to charge for emailing a patient. It’s something doctors do naturally, talking to patients about how to take care of themselves. The less red tape that impedes it, the better. None of this ICD-10 nonsense figuring out how to bill a patient concerned about something seemingly inane like “Are these flakes just dandruff, or do I have scalp psoriasis?”

Oh, and speaking of being on fire, Dave also published a new model for receiving and paying for primary care called Direct Primary Care. If you’d like a copy of his seminal whitepaper on Direct Primary Care, he’s requested that you contact him via LinkedIn so he can send you a copy. We’re still waiting for ours. We’ll hopefully be posting something on it later this week.

Dave’s chapter in what’s being coined a “seminal” book on patient-doctor communication is titled “Provider Communications: Communication is the Most Important Medical Instrument”—a bold statement, but one we’re proud to see in print. Here’s his overview that sets his work in motion:

“The quantum improvement in the depth and breadth of communication seen in the consumer Internet is just now beginning to have a strong impact on healthcare. Tools that are commonplace in a consumer context such as smartphones and text messaging are now becoming accepted into the healthcare enterprise. Just as we have seen an array of new communication applications on our smartphones, so too will new healthcare-specific communication tools emerge to respond to the changing expectations of consumers.”

The text is a long read, but it’s bursting with powerful statistics on the efficacy of communication even in the headache-riddled world of HMOs. Diabetics are improving their glycohemoglobin, overweight patients are lowering their cholesterol levels, and patients with heart conditions are able to send their morning weights for immediate advice on next steps. In addition to impassioned words, Dave performs some deft number crunching (something we’re a fan of, and that reminded us of Dr. Doug on Fox News. Here’s his breakdown on how we’re wasting time, money and energy by not widely incorporating modern communication into healthcare.

• In a Health Affairs study, 86.3 minutes of the 102.7 minutes involved in having a doctor’s appointment is all about getting to and from a clinic and the accompanying waiting and hassles.

• Just over 150 million people are in the workforce and the average wage equates to $22/hour.

• On average there are 956 million medical appointments per year[14]. We’ll assume half of those are for people in the workforce, which would equate to 478 million medical appointments. Even if we assumed only half of those face-to-face appointments could be replaced, that is still 239 million appointments.

• The calculation would 86.3/60 x 239 million appointments x $22/hour = $7.6 billion of avoidable lost productivity per year if people didn’t have to waste time driving and in waiting rooms.

• There are additional costs such as gas, parking and tolls as well not included in that calculation.

That’s an effective argument for the adoption of digital communication between patients and doctors. We also wanted to highlight a passage where Dave makes a brilliant analogy about the current state of healthcare, comparing it a Dream Team of basketball players who cannot for the life of them communicate with each other. Here are his words exactly:

“It’s like having the five best basketball players on the planet. According to our system of payment, we give each of them a basketball and tell them to dribble around and shoot at will. We tell them that every time they shoot the ball they will be paid. They don’t even have to make the basket to get paid; they just need to shoot the ball. And so we have these five superstar basketball players dribbling and shooting constantly in a fragmented, non-integrated, non-coordinated fashion. And to make matters worse, they don’t communicate with each other in any effective way to modify their behavior for each other’s aid, let alone their patient’s. We then play a team from Spain, England, Canada, France, or Germany, and we get beat. Why? Not because we don’t have the best basketball players on this planet; it is because we do not pass the ball and play as a team. When you step back and look at how our nation performs health care, we stack up poorly against the other industrialized nations in terms of outcomes. Not because we don’t have talented people, but because we care for our patients using a fragmented, non-integrated, unaccountable, non-functioning system of record-keeping and communication. It is not connected well with information sharing.”

So there you have it. Dave Chase, while not limited to just the practice of direct care, has some solid thoughts on patient-doctor communication, with stats to back up his claim. Carve out 20-30 minutes to read it (also, no big deal, but we wish Forbes had a single-page view since the article is 8 pages deep). Of course, we’re implementing transparent communication and succeeding at primary care using our Atlas MD business model, by choice. But we insist that no one, on any side of the healthcare coin, should dismiss smart, thoughtful individuals who are bringing common sense to a conversation about American health care.

More Reading
“Exclusive Book Excerpt: Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement“ | Forbes 
“’Patient Engagement is the Blockbuster Drug of the Century’” | Forbes
Photo of Dave Chase courtesy of