My Take on #BoomerHealth: Reactions to Our National Survey

MDVIP Boomer Health Survey Remember the good old days of Marcus Welby, the 1970s family physician whose beloved character painted an idealized picture of small town medicine? Back then, doctors were friends of the family, even scoring invites to milestone events like weddings and birthdays. I started my career in 1984 as a primary care physician (PCP), and a lot has changed since then. In some cases –– that’s probably not a bad thing. Technology has certainly come a long way, creating huge advancements in medicine. But, unfortunately, not all change has been for the better.

From the very start, I saw fundamental problems in the primary care model, and those problems have only worsened in the past few decades: rushed visits and dissatisfied patients; overworked physicians unable to deliver the care they deem necessary; and little to no emphasis on prevention. They all add up to an environment in which PCPs simply can’t provide the kind of care that inspired most of us to get into medicine.

Physicians in a traditional primary care practice are no longer able to develop meaningful relationships with patients. Instead, the approach to care is more akin to a never-ending conveyor belt, getting patients in and out as quickly as possible and addressing problems when they arise -rarely before.

My observations about the problems plaguing this model were reaffirmed in a new national survey of 1,049 baby boomers, conducted by the independent market research firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of MDVIP. We focused on baby boomer health because nearly half of our patient population falls within the 51 to 69 age range – and I think a better primary care model has the greatest potential for improving health and quality of life for baby boomers.

Here is my take on some of the baby boomer statistics revealed by the survey:

While 94 percent of boomers believe preventive care is an important part of staying healthy, a significant number aren’t taking the steps they should to reduce their risk for chronic disease and maintain their quality of life.

It’s not too late for boomers to shape the course of their health. Early detection is incredibly important, but it’s still detection of disease that has already taken hold. Prevention is the key. By age 85, you’re likely managing a problem, not preventing it. But as a boomer, you still have time to make a significant impact on your health and prevent issues from ever arising. The problem is that even though we have greater health consciousness these days, many of us continue to make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

We all know we should get 30 minutes of physical activity a day, sleep seven to eight hours a night, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and get preventive screenings… but the survey showed a major disconnect between what boomers know they should be doing, and what they actually do.

That is what sets MDVIP’s proactive approach to primary care apart from the reactive conventional practice of medicine, and why I decided to become a part of it. Affiliated physicians become a health coach and ally for their patients, instead of just someone who can hopefully “fix” them once something is broken. People in their 50s and 60s can truly benefit from spending quality time with a physician, undergoing an in-depth annual wellness exam and having access to a variety of health resources. Combined, all of these elements help the PCP and patient work together to customize an actionable health plan based on achievable goals.

One in five boomers say conversations with their PCP are like talking to a boss who is running late.

Though it saddens me, I’m actually not surprised – that’s in line with the way medical care is often done these days. For some PCPs, it’s easier to send a patient to a specialist because there’s not enough time to treat complicated conditions. I chose internal medicine in order to care for the whole person, and I became one of the first MDVIP-affiliated physicians in order to build doctor-patient relationships that could improve my patient outcomes and save them and the healthcare system money.

A third of respondents said they spend more time in the waiting room than with their doctor.

And 18 percent said they spent more time on Facebook! Time can be both a blessing and a curse. For a physician, it can be a very unforgiving constraint. When you are given enough time, you can maintain a level of clinical excellence you can only strive to reach in a traditional practice. Professionally, it is very gratifying. It renews your commitment to patients and reminds you why you became a physician in the first place.

One third of survey respondents think their PCP wouldn’t recognize them on the street.

I saw this in practice when my newer patients would reintroduce themselves, thinking I wouldn’t know them. In a traditional practice where a physician might have 2,000+ patients, I can see how remembering names could be a challenge. But at MDVIP, our physicians see 600 patients – or fewer. We make it our job to get to know each patient fully, medically and personally. It’s the type of relationship our parents and grandparents had with their physicians over 40 years ago. MDVIP represents the modernized Marcus Welby, leading a shift back to that type of relationship, because it’s the heart of medicine at its best. Our patients should feel like we’re trusted friends with whom they can share anything without fear of being judged or embarrassed. If we don’t create that relationship, we could miss important details.

This is more than theory – it plays out in very powerful ways. I had a patient I’d been seeing for many years who struggled with alcoholism. I’d seen her admitted to inpatient rehab programs several times. After three to six months, she’d go back to drinking. Every single time. Finally, after one failed attempt, she opened up to me about her past marriage. I knew she was divorced, but I was unaware that she had been abused by her husband – so badly, in fact, that he went to prison. I asked her what the therapists in rehab had said about this, and she revealed that she never told them, nor had she told her children. Just like that, everything became clear.

This was the reason for the drinking, and, just as importantly, it was the reason for the cycle of failure in rehab. I never would have learned this vital piece of clinical data if we didn’t have the kind of relationship that allowed her to confide in me. I guided her through the emotional process of calling her daughter to explain the guilt and shame she felt and supported her through her tears. We then sent her back to rehab, and she’s now been sober for 11 years. Relationships make all the difference – that’s real healthcare.

I believe personalized, preventive healthcare has the ability to fill many of the gaps boomers report in their current primary care experience, because I’ve seen it work. It’s the kind of physician-patient relationship that people want and need.

I’m a boomer myself and I can tell you, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’d hate to have my life plans cut off at the knees by an unexpected diagnosis or the development of a chronic disease. And as a leader at MDVIP, it’s my mission to help our patients avoid that too. Many of them are just starting to embrace retirement and explore life after 50. Our mission – always – is to help them achieve their best, healthiest selves so they can truly enjoy all life has to offer.


For more survey findings on baby boomer health care, I invite you to check out our infographic.
12 Comments
Ken Weinand
Feb 17th, 2017
Dr Greg Markey is the happiest I have ever seen him. He was so busy before MD VIP. Now he has really help me in my health. I used to go to the Cooper Clinic. However when evaluating services I made a good decision to go with Dr Markway and MD VIP. I am really pleased with the time he spends with me and his expertise in medicine. Thank you Dr Markway.
Joe Labellarte
Nov 13th, 2015
My doctor is Dr. Mark Chyna in Libertyville, Illinois (Chicago area). Been with him for about 20 years now (10 or so with MDVIP). When it's time for my annual physical he spends about 2+ hours going over things from head-to-toe. And when test results are analyzed he just doesn't prescribe a med without talking about alternatives (from him or me!). He is very interested in helping you prevent illness for the long run! I also want to acknowledge his wonderful staff who have been with him for many years another testament to how well he treats people. I could go on and on about some of the things that he does (like when you call on a Saturday and he answers the phone not a doctor answering service!) but instead I'll just close by saying thanks Mark for your service to your patients!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 19th, 2015
Greetings Joe,

Thank you for sharing your experience as a patient of Dr. Chyna. We’re glad to hear that you have a wonderful doctor-patient relationship with him.

In Good Health
MDVIP


Jacqueline Siegfried
Nov 13th, 2015
I appreciate so much the comments in the article above. Dr. Wm Terry Gipson has voiced this same attitude to me more than one time. It has been my great privilege to be in his care for 25 years. I grew up in a medical family and am grateful for the professionalism and personal interest of Dr. Gipson that makes me know his dedication is just as sincere and deeply ingrained in him as it was in my father and uncle.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Jacqueline,

Thank you for your response. We’re glad to hear that in your opinion Dr. Gipson’s dedication and sincerity is reminiscent of the manner in which your father and uncle practiced medicine.

In good Health,
MDVIP

Dave Cohn
Nov 13th, 2015
For quite a few years I had the pleasure of having Dr. Maneesh Patel as my primary care doctor. A year ago he told me that he was joining the MDVIP group. I was somewhat reticent about the cost of continuing with Dr. Patel but just couldn't imagine not having him as my physician, so, I signed up. It was one of the better life decisions I have ever made. Both he and MDVIP have exceeded my best expectations and I am of course continuing with both. Thanks to the attention he gives his patients and his emphasis on preventative medicine combined with the features MDVIP offers, I now feel much healthier. While I am well past being a "baby boomer" I enjoyed your article and found much in it that applies to me. Keep up the good work!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Dave,

Thank you very much for the kind words. They are greatly appreciated.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Leon Robison
Nov 13th, 2015
Our family physician is Dr. Steven D. Lampinen. To say that we love this man is an understatement. Even before he joined MDVIP he was a very caring and dedicated Doctor. Spending time with each of his patients to ensure that he knew them personally in addition to dealing with their individual health needs. We need more doctors of his caliber and mindset. As everyone that has ever set in a doctors waiting room can attest, the majority of doctors are overworked, overbooked. stressed out, under compensated and over regulated by the mindless bureaucracy that has been created by the insurance companies and our federal government.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Leon,

We’re glad to hear that Dr. Lampinen has gotten to know you personally and is meeting your health needs. We realize that doctors are overworked, overbooked and overstressed. This is part of the reason why MDVIP was founded. Our goal is to put impersonal healthcare practices and tactics aside, and embrace a new way of healing.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Julia Early
Nov 13th, 2015
For years before seeing Dr. Frank Martin in Columbia, SC, I had struggled with terrible vertigo spells that came on with no warning and later lead to me having something called Crises of Tumarkin, where I'd drop to the floor like a puppet whose strings got cut. I was continously being told that I had inner ear infections, positional vertigo and went back and forth between antibiotics and motion sickness pills. Nothing that was helping me find the cause. My fiance took me to Dr. Martin who said "You shouldn't have to live like this! I'm going to find out what's causing this and won't quit until we do!" My next visit with him lasted two hours! My mom and my fiance went with me and Dr. Martin took that much time to talk to all three of us. I feel like he's been such a blessing and HE WILL BE INVITED TO OUR WEDDING!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Julia,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re very happy to hear that Dr. Martin was able to help you and that you are feeling better. Best wishes on your wedding.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Theresa Hendricks
Nov 12th, 2015
My Dr is Dr Douglas G Swanson in Colorado Springs. He became my doctor in the early 80's at a clinic. His dream was to have his own Family Practice. His dream became true. I followed with him because I had finally found a doctor that I liked. He is a "brilliant" Doctor, so kind and caring, and took as much time as needed to tend to my medical needs. When he became a MDVIP doctor I did not want to loose him as my Dr. He knows not just my medical history but my life history as well. The whole me! I am so greatful and fortunate to be his patient all these years!
.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Theresa,

We appreciate you sharing the story of your longtime relationship with your doctor – more than 30 years! We’re very happy to hear that you enjoy working with Dr. Swanson and that he has been so helpful to you.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

ralph danise
Nov 12th, 2015
thanks DR LORETTA J. METZGER HENDERSON NEVADA BEST CARE ANY WHERE RALPH DANISE
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 12th, 2015
Greetings Ralph,

We appreciate you taking time to share your enthusiastic testimonial of your MDVIP-affiliated doctor. It’s great to hear how happy you are with your health care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Patricia Nocke
Nov 12th, 2015
My doctor with MDVIP is James Kinahan, MD in Atlanta. He worried that I was pre diabetic even with good numbers. I developed gout and changed my diet. Dr. Kinahan supported me and now my weight is down 37 lbs. My gout is less severe and my arthritic knees hurt a little less!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 12th, 2015
Greetings Patricia

Thank you for sharing your achievements with us. This is wonderful news! We’re pleased to hear that working with Dr. Kinahan produced such great results. We hope that your health keeps improving.

In Good Health,
MDVIP



Carl E. Richard
Nov 11th, 2015
Me too!: "Janet Lane

Nov 11th, 2015

What this article points out is why I am an MDVIP patient."
Janet Lane
Nov 11th, 2015
What this article points out is why I am an MDVIP patient. My doctor has always been interested in the whole person and because she is totally engaged on test results identified some medical conditions, i.e. Hep C before it became a problem and now I am cured and virus free all because she always practiced this type of medicine. MDVIP allows her to be that kind of doctor for those of us fortunate to be in her practice
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 12th, 2015
Greetings Janet,

Thank you for sharing your success story about the care you receive from your MDVIP-affiliated doctor. We are glad to hear that she worked with you to cure your virus and that you are feeling better.

In Good Health,
MDVIP
Alexis Powers
Nov 9th, 2015
The article made me smile because it is so true. Before I went to MDVIP, Dr. Tom Griffin, I felt the medical situation was hopeless. One time I was kept waiting to see my doctor for 35 minutes. I saw him for ten minutes. He never looked at me, merely spoke to me while looking at his computer screen. That was my last appointment with him. Dr. Griffin is patient, kind, brilliant and a wonderful man. I am grateful to have found your serve.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Nov 13th, 2015
Greetings Alexis,

Thank you for sharing the comparison of what your prior experience with health care was before you became an MDVIP member. We’re glad that you found Dr. Griffin and that you are happy with your care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

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