Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pediatrics Rocks!

Kids are just so wonderfully authentic and fun...which is why pediatrics just rocks!

When educating a family about a new endocrine diagnosis, I always make sure to try to explain it to the child too. When I finish, I make sure that the child understands what I have said by asking him/her if they have any questions.

A recent patient that I had, a quiet, thoughtful 6 year old boy throughout appointment, was memorable. Even though he was quiet for most of the appointment, I could tell from his intense eye gaze that he was following the conversation. 

Soon, the time came for me to ask: 

‘Do you have any questions?’

He thoughtfully then asked: 'Did you have tacos for breakfast?’

I love pediatrics!! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014


The road to improving healthcare over the past several years has most certainly had a focus on implementing ‘upgrade’ technologies such as EMRs and tablets, but also creating new technologies like 3D printers and Watson-like doctors. 

However, in my opinion as both a practicing doctor and technology entrepreneur, the focus is all wrong. EMRs, 3D printers, and Watson-like brains are not fixing the real problems that plague the broken healthcare system that I am experiencing everyday. Perhaps that is because the current technology ‘innovators’ do not experience the healthcare system everyday as patients and doctors do. And, the current ecosystem for healthcare technology startups does not support doctors and patients as founders. If necessity is the mother of all great inventions, there will be no ‘real’ problem-solving in healthcare by new technologies until doctors and patients are REALLY involved.

Why not have a bigger focus on getting doctors and patients REALLY involved? Asking beyond 'Why...does the image of a successful startup founder always have to be 20-something nerdy hipster with a beard and a hoody?’ the following why questions must be addressed:

  • Why…are there not very many patient or doctor initiated startups being funded by VCs?
  • Why...does a healthcare startup doctor have to quit being a doctor that they worked so hard to become and love?
  • Why…do healthcare accelerators occur only in a few select cities?
  • Why...would a doctor with both school loans and 'skin in the game' debt as well as bills and a family move to a city's accelerator for 3 months without any salary or paid shelter?
  • Why…would a patient who is receiving life-saving care leave their treatment team to be a part of an accelerator in another city?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Trackers and Childhood Obesity

Over the past week, it has been thrilling to read about the increasing presence of health trackers at the Consumer Electronic Show this year. By some reports, health-related consumer devices occupied close to 10% of the exhibit floor space! A good summary of several of the leading trackers is here:

In my pediatric endocrinology practice (Central Ohio Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Services in Columbus Ohio), we have been using trackers to fight childhood obesity over the past year with increasing success. One such example that comes to mind is an adorable 6 year old boy who had increasing weight over the preceding 2 years peeking at 90 pounds when he first came to see me. However, upon following a strict modified-Atkins diet along with using the Jawbone UP tracker, he (and his whole family) have now started losing weight as is noted in his growth chart below:

He starts by uploading his tracker to his phone.

The app keeps track of his steps measured on the device. We have set a goal of 10,000 steps per day to help with weight loss which he has been achieving regularly. At his appointments, I am easily able to monitor his progress.

I am excited to see how much fun he is having using the tracker which fits very easily into this tech-savvy family. The future is now in healthcare and technology...and it's looking healthier for children!