I’m presenting Sherpaa’s tech tonight at the NY Tech Meetup for the first time publicly. About 700 people are in the audience and it sells out in minutes. For those who can’t make it, you can watch the livestream. I’m very excited. Mostly because I’m just so proud of what we’re building— a platform that lets you very easily reach out to your Sherpaa doctors and lets our doctors power a new kind of virtual practice. And it’s also stunningly beautiful. We’ve got such a talented team. See you tonight!

Indeed, surgical procedure charges are confusing and consist of many different fees. There are fees for medications, instruments, and devices, there is the “initial” operating room fee, the recovery room fee (billed per hour), the anesthesia fee, the surgeon’s fee, and the operating room fee (billed per minute), among others.

But at the time I was surprised and a little disappointed that this surgeon – who expertly performed the surgery and had an incredible breadth of medical knowledge – had no idea what the patient would be charged. It just seemed like such a simple question. I decided to look into it myself.

As it turns out, the total charge to the patient in this case was $43,226.18. The patient was in the operating room for 3 hours and 31 minutes and was charged a $30,966 operating room fee. That’s just under $147 per minute!

Hey, we’re in GOOD Magazine…and that’s wonderful because we’ve always been fans of GOOD. 

(via Visiting the Doctor Digitally with the Help of a New Startup - Technology - GOOD)

If our healthcare industry functioned like a true System, Sherpaa would be irrelevant. The definition of a system is:

A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.

Healthcare in America doesn’t work together. And it is disconnected, not interconnected.

There have been many attempts to make health(care) simple. There’s ZocDoc doing wonderful things with making appointments with doctors online. There’s WebMD publishing information to the world that was once only available to doctors. There’s Dr. Cranquis using tumblr as a well-trained, entertaining, and knowledgeable physician answering health questions for the tumblr community. There’s the Withings Scale uploading your weight to the cloud every morning. And, then, of course, there’s the cloud.

But even all of these things are disconnected. And having access to information without having a professional to make that information relevant to you, doesn’t always ease your anxiety.

What we need is a real-time command center for health manned by local doctors that’s plugged in to you, your needs, local healthcare resources, and the best online resources and tools that help you optimize your health. This command center organizes everything for you because it’s their job, not yours, to keep on top of all of the health options you have nowadays, both in your neighborhood and online.

There’s a confluence of things all coming together that, if organized, filtered by wisdom, and presented to you in a very human and personal way, can truly make your health simple. 

So we’ve gathered together a group of truly amazing doctors to serve as your Guides. And we’ve also gathered together a carefully curated group of local specialists who are friendly with our Guides and want to work together with us to provide the exact care you need. These doctors know that healthcare should be delivered in a better way and want to be a part of something new and better. They’re mission-driven, well-trained, and have great personalities— I couldn’t think of a better combination. They’re the modern day Marcus Welby’s.

And we’re all working together with you to simplify your health. Wish us luck.

  1. Eat food.
  2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
  4. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
  5. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.
  6. Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
  7. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
  8. Avoid food products that make health claims.
  9. Avoid food products with the wordoid “lite” or the terms “low-fat” or “nonfat” in their names.
  10. Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.
  11. Avoid foods that you see advertised on television.
  12. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.

Everyone should read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It takes a total of a half an hour of your time. And I hope that it changes your relationship with food forever. These are just the first twelve “rules” but there are 64 pleasantly entertaining rules to eat by. 

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"Health is not a commodity. Risk factors are not disease. Aging is not an illness. To fix a problem is easy, to sit with another suffering is hard. Doing all we can is not the same as doing what we should. Quality is more than metrics. Patients cannot see outside their pain, we cannot see in, relationship is the only bridge between. Time is precious; we spend it on what we value. The most common condition we treat is unhappiness. And the greatest obstacle to treating a patient’s unhappiness is our own. Nothing is more patient-centered than the process of change. Doctors expect too much from data and not enough from conversation. Community is a locus of healing, not the hospital or the clinic. The foundation of medicine is friendship, conversation and hope."
David Loxtercamp, author of A Measure of Days: The Journal of a Country Doctor, as read in his interview with NPR’s Liane Hansen.

What is the single best thing we can do for our health? What makes the biggest difference to your health?

Please read all of this, especially if you’re a parent.

How To Land Your Kid in Therapy:

MY FIRST SEVERAL patients were what you might call textbook. As they shared their histories, I had no trouble making connections between their grievances and their upbringings. But soon I met a patient I’ll call Lizzie. Imagine a bright, attractive 20-something woman with strong friendships, a close family, and a deep sense of emptiness. She had come in, she told me, because she was “just not happy.” And what was so upsetting, she continued, was that she felt she had nothing to be unhappy about. She reported that she had “awesome” parents, two fabulous siblings, supportive friends, an excellent education, a cool job, good health, and a nice apartment. She had no family history of depression or anxiety. So why did she have trouble sleeping at night? Why was she so indecisive, afraid of making a mistake, unable to trust her instincts and stick to her choices? Why did she feel “less amazing” than her parents had always told her she was? Why did she feel “like there’s this hole inside” her? Why did she describe herself as feeling “adrift”?

I was stumped. Where was the distracted father? The critical mother? Where were the abandoning, devaluing, or chaotic caregivers in her life?

As I tried to make sense of this, something surprising began happening: I started getting more patients like her. Sitting on my couch were other adults in their 20s or early 30s who reported that they, too, suffered from depression and anxiety, had difficulty choosing or committing to a satisfying career path, struggled with relationships, and just generally felt a sense of emptiness or lack of purpose—yet they had little to quibble with about Mom or Dad.

Instead, these patients talked about how much they “adored” their parents. Many called their parents their “best friends in the whole world,” and they’d say things like “My parents are always there for me.” Sometimes these same parents would even be funding their psychotherapy (not to mention their rent and car insurance), which left my patients feeling both guilty and utterly confused. After all, their biggest complaint was that they had nothing to complain about!

Portrait by me