The Doctor As Entrepreneur
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The Doctor As Entrepreneur

The Doctor As Entrepreneur

Medical technology is changing every day, advancing at an unprecedented rate. Inventions like contact lens that measure blood sugar, and other wearable technologies, are in the works. Within a decade, it’s likely that people will be able to assemble health information easily, without the need for finger pricks or trips to the doctor’s office.

Some weeks ago, author and medical technologist Robin Farmanfarmaian was a guest on my BlogTalkRadio show, Independent Artists & Thinkers. Farmanfarmaian, who works with silicon valley biotech and medical technology start-ups, talked about her book The Patient As CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer. She commented on the speed of the medical technology revolution and how difficult it is for doctors to keep track of new developments. The patient, she advises, must see himself or herself as the head of a team of healthcare professionals who work together to help the patient achieve optimal health.

This revolution is occurring at the same time that managed health care is making it harder for physicians to make a good living at a profession for which they have studied and specialized for a decade or longer, while also undertaking huge student loans. Indeed, I worry about my stepdaughter in medical school. Will she be forced to see twenty-two patients per hour just to pay back her student loans? Will her options be limited by checklist medicine and by debt?

In the face of the medical technology revolution and ever more rigid and punitive insurance regulations, doctors do have their own ingenuity to fall back on. I was reminded of this recently when my friend dermatologist Debra Jaliman told me about new products that she herself developed, Sea Radiance skin care products.

Dr. Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been a resource for me for more than twenty years. She’s always on the cutting edge of dermatological products and techniques. I reviewed her book Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist because I found it useful, informative, and well-written.

Cosmetic dermatology may not be in the same category as, say, paint-on ink that gauges blood pressure, but for women like me who care about looking their best, it matters. Life deals us all so many bad cards that when I can do something positive for myself, I seize the opportunity.

So I was intrigued when Dr. Jaliman announced her new cleanser that moisturizes as it cleanses and her new eye cream, both made from sea flora, organic flower essences, and advanced dermatological formulas. I wanted to know what the products could do for me. Thinking about my stepdaughter’s future in medicine, and about Farmanfarmaian’s appearance on my BlogTalkRadio show, I also wanted to know what had prompted Jaliman to develop them and how she had done so.

“I’ve been working with big companies for so many years, and I always had in mind that I’d create my own products,” Jaliman told me. She’s consulted with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, SKII, Lierac, and others, helping them develop products. “I don’t sign the standard non-compete clause, when I work with them.”

“But why these products, now?” I persisted.

“I listen to my patients. They want immediate results around their eyes,” Jaliman said. “And over the years in my practice, I hear the same complaints, especially from people with sensitive skin or adult acne. The usual cleansers dry them out or provoke redness; after many people wash their face, their skin feels tight and dry. My goal in developing gentle cleanser was to create a product that took off all the dirt and impurities but left the skin feeling hydrated.”

She also commented that patients would stand in her office and read labels, and some dismissed certain products because of their ingredients. So Jaliman sought out the purest ingredients–and a lab that would work with her to create the finest, most effective products.

“Not all labs wanted to do this because it’s incredibly difficult,” she admitted. “It was no easy goal. I made many different formulas.” She noted that her products have very low numbers on the Environmental Working Group‘s list. Her eye cream and cleanser are formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, gluten, and synthetic dyes and fragrances.

She explained that while the big corporations have the advantage of big budgets for research and development and marketing and promotion, she has an advantage in immediacy of feedback. “I have thousands of patients that I could give the product to. They tested it for me and gave me honest feedback. We then changed the product many times over the course of the year and a half of development.”

Jaliman was a stickler for maintaining her products’ efficacy. Air inactivates antioxidants, so she sought out a high tech tube that wouldn’t allow air in for dispensing the eye cream. Before launching Sea Radiance, she had a beautiful and informational website built. The consummate marketer, she included the new products in a gift bag for stars at the Academy Awards.

She handed me samples so I could try them for myself. I felt so good about the purity of the products that I shared the cleanser with my 11 year old daughter. She left for school saying, “My face feels so good, mommy!” It’s a sentiment I’m happy to echo: my skin feels softer since using Sea Radiance cleanser, and my crow’s feet are smoother with the eye cream.

I’m also happy to see such positive, utilitarian results from Dr. Jaliman’s entrepreneurial efforts. The medical technology revolution doesn’t just benefit consumers–it also, with some responsiveness and inventiveness on their part, potentially benefits doctors.


My latest on the HuffPo. Visionary Medicine: Neurosurgery Simulation and the Potential to Save Lives
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My latest on the HuffPo. Visionary Medicine: Neurosurgery Simulation and the Potential to Save Lives

Last weekend I attended a conference on brain surgery simulation–a fledgling technology with enormous potential. Here is the article I wrote about it.

Visionary Medicine: Neurosurgery Simulation and the Potential to Save Lives

Doctor Bederson remembered my interest and invited me to a conference he arranged last week on the science and applications of brain surgery simulation.

Simulation is regularly used in other high-risk industries, such as aviation, nuclear power, and the military. Pilots practice taking off and landing in simulators and also handling emergencies. I, for one, am grateful they have done so, every time I step onto a jumbo jet.

Simulation is also a tool in many areas of medicine. Residents practice intubating on mannequins; surgeons learn a running whipstitch on a chicken breast. Cardiothoracic surgeons refine their skills on pig and beef hearts. Residents are better trained and better prepared because they have worked this way, learning and refining basic skills before being turned loose on real patients. Safety is enhanced; outcomes are improved. There are many benefits to practicing a skill in a simulated environment.

Brain surgery simulation, however, has remained elusive, both because of its inherent complexity and because of the exquisite, mushy, wet, softness of the human brain itself. It’s also hard to distinguish critical structures within the brain from each other. For example, the optic and the olfactory nerves are similar, as normal brain and pathological brain can be…

Posted: 11/15/2013 7:33 pm

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If Given a Fair choice, most consumers would choose alternative medicine over conventional health care By Mike Adams

This article is taken from

(NaturalNews) As a strong proponent of free market economics, I have long wondered why free markets don’t seem to be operating in the health care industry. Today, it finally hit me with great clarity, and I’ll share that with you here. But first, a primer on free market economics:

As the free market theory says, “greed is good” because innovators can only get rich by figuring out how to deliver more goods, services and life improvements to consumers who purchase those items. The genius who figures out how to build a better car— or a less expensive car of the same quality — earns the business of consumers and is financially rewarded as a result. Greed drives innovation, the theory goes, and innovation benefits consumers even as it fills the pockets of corporate CEOs, too.

This model works under one critical assumption, and it turns out that assumption is not true in health care today (for reasons you’ll see below). Which assumption is it? That consumers will rationally purchase only those things that are in their own self interest (things that benefit them) and, equally importantly, that consumers have access to the information they need to make an informed decision.

So, for example, if a solar panel manufacturer figures out a way to make a new line of solar panels with twice the current efficiency at the same cost as current solar panels, consumers will rationally choose to purchase those solar panels and will experience a benefit as a result (but only if they have access to accurate information about the improved performance of those solar panels). The CEO who runs the company that figured out how to make the new, improved solar panels will also reap the financial rewards at the same time.

This is called free market theory in a nutshell.

How it all fell apart in health care

But all this falls apart when corporations are selling products that harm consumers under an irrational system protected by government intervention. Many pharmaceuticals, vaccines and treatment services (such as chemotherapy) actually harm consumers far more than they help them. Knowing this, no rational consumer would choose to purchase such products. So the health care system must engage in some rather devious marketing distortions to cajole people into buying their faulty products:

#1) People are TRICKED into thinking they need these products that harm them. This is accomplished through disease mongering (pushing fabricated diseases such as ADHD), emotional advertising and bribing physicians in order to influence their drug prescribing behavior.

#2) People are LIED TO about the risks of using such products. Drug companies, in particular, routinely lie to consumers by burying negative clinical trials, bribing researchers to produce positive study results, exaggerating claimed benefits in television advertisements and other similar methods.

#3) People are ISOLATED from information they need to know in order to make a rational decision about conventional medicine’s products. They are not allowed to know the truth about the dangers of drugs as revealed in clinical trials, for example. The FDA even conspires with drug companies to hide this relevant data.

#4) People are FORCED into a monopolistic choice by the government outlawing alternative choices such as natural cancer remedies or certain nutritional supplements. Once again, the FDA plays a key role in discrediting natural alternatives. The health insurance industry also enforces this monopolistic approach by covering conventional sick-care therapies (such as heart bypass surgery) while not covering natural therapies that help prevent degenerative disease.

#5) People are KEPT IGNORANT of the actual costs of health care through Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance coverage. Consumers have no idea what they’re being billed for most medical procedures because they’re not footing the bill! So hospitals, clinics and cancer centers bill whatever amount they can get away with.

Why this recipe works for the sick care industry

Remarkably, this recipe of deception has achieved tremendous success, creating a trillion-dollar global market in bad medicine largely based on quack science combined with manipulative marketing.

Of course, it’s not really a free market to begin with. This market is a protected, monopolistic market that’s propped up through government regulatory action designed to eliminate competition. It only exists under the illusion of a free market, where consumers think they’re making a “free choice” about what drugs to take, not knowing they have another option to avoid taking those drugs altogether and do something completely different to protect their health.

Government intervention harms consumers

One conclusion from all this is that when the government gets involved in protecting one particular industry while allowing “greed” to run its course inside that protected industry, the result quickly becomes harmful to consumers even while corporate CEOs (in Big Pharma) accumulate wealth. We see this in Wall Street as much as we do in health care… notice how the trillion-dollar bailouts all went to the wealthiest money criminals even while debasing the currency held by the working masses?

On the Big Pharma side of things, rather than creating better and more innovative products, these companies are in the business of marketing disease first, followed by introducing a chemical pill designed to treat that disease. This is precisely the story behind restless legs syndrome, for example, or the recent push to use drugs to control your uric acid levels.

When governments interfere with free market economics, they inevitably create an unfair playing field that favors one group of companies over another, and that favoritism will always result in financial exploitation that inevitably harms consumers.

The best way out of this would be to deregulate all health care and end the monopoly on medicine currently granted to Big Pharma (and even doctors at the state level). By allowing all providers of health services and health products to compete on a level playing field, without government favoritism, selection orcensorship, consumers would quickly learn which products or services work best to protect their health, and they would rapidly shift their purchasing behavior in that direction.

This would cause a windfall of profits in the realm of natural health and alternative medicine, by the way, even while sharply reducing the profits of Big Pharma and the sick-care industry (because it produces virtually no positive results). In fact, this is precisely why the government is not pursuing a free-market approach to health care right now: Because to allow consumers a truly free choice about how to treat their own health would spell the end of some of the wealthiest corporations in the world — the drug companies whose very existence depends on ignorance, deception and scientific fraud.

Conventional medicine must force consumers to use it!

This is why the FDA continues to censor the truth about nutritional supplements, by the way. It’s the reason why Medicare won’t cover Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy treatments. This is why the AMA has waged a 100-year war on the chiropractic industry. Conventional medicine works so poorly and is such a total failure in terms of its results that it has to force consumers to use it. Sometimes at gunpoint! (With the forced chemotherapy treatment of teens, for example.)

No other system of medicine in the world is such a total failure that a government has to force its own citizens to use it through a campaign of disinformation, monopolistic controls and active censorship of alternatives.

Today, Americans think they live in a free country. But most do not realize their entire health care system is structured in direct opposition to free markets and free choice. The sick-care industry can’t afford for you to have a free choice, because to do so would destroy their entire business model.

Opting out of sickness and into health

You can, of course, opt out of the entire system as I have done. I spend exactly $0 on health insurance, doctor visits and health care. With all the money I save by not writing checks to a system of failed quack medicine, I instead buy superfoods, nutritional supplements, gym memberships and organic fresh produce that I juice and drink every day. This level of personal health commitment combined with true freedom of choice terrifies both the government and the sick care industry which is precisely why Obamacare mandated that all Americans must buy sick-care insurance or be fined by the IRS.

Think about it: If conventional health care really worked, would they have to send IRS agents after people to force them to buy into it? This is “gunpoint health care” where you get to choose any system of medicine you want as long as it’s the one the IRS says you have to choose. Sounds a bit like Communist China, doesn’t it?

What we really need is a truly free market for health care products and services. …a level playing field where natural remedies can be honestly marketed with accurate health claims and where healers of all kinds can engage in healing services without being arrested or threatened with imprisonment. State medical licensing boards, in particular, should be completely dissolved. They are the monopolistic power hubs that enforce conventional medicine monopolies at the state level while criminalize alternative cancer doctors.

A truly free market in health care would revolutionize health in America while ending the dark age of Big Pharma dominance over the entire industry. One day soon, let us hope we may have an opportunity to invoke truly free market economics that will unleash a new era of freedom and healthy living while giving the natural side of medicine its well-deserved opportunity to compete against the failed system of conventional sick care.

In a fair competition, 4 out of 5 consumers would choose natural medicine over conventional medicine. That is precisely why they cannot allow such a freedom of choice to exist.

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