Companies pay top dollar to get their information before your eyes. The information age has been replaced with the advertising age. It’s harder than ever for a patient to obtain unbiased health information.
A subset of patients has the resources to pay for an honest clinical opinion from experts. The rest are at the mercy of whatever the healthcare industry considers sound clinical advice.
I don’t expect any highly profitable top medical journals to address the natural biases in healthcare.
If you’ve practiced medicine long enough, you know that there is no such thing as a clinical fact. We can make educated guesses; each case differs from the next.
The same surgery or treatment doesn’t work for most people. You need the art of medicine to make a meaningful change in someone’s life. This art is the fair practice of medicine.
However, the healthcare industry is constantly competing to claim that their procedure or drug is the real solution. They’ll go to great lengths from publishing heavily massaged research to funding healthcare organizations to make specific recommendations.
Algorithm-based medicine is lucrative. You can dispense the same pill to the same ICD-10 code. You massage the algorithm to bring side effects below 10%, and you can now rinse and repeat for as many customers as possible.
If you’re a physician who wants to make the most money possible, this is the sweet spot. An assembly line clinic for hypertension and diabetes achieves this very well.
You open up the top of the funnel by getting in-network with as many payers as possible. You aim for a lower-income but insured population, and your medi-medi factory will create a lot of income.
This is how we have gastric bypass and cholecystectomy practices. If they meet the BMI cutoff or there is a stone on the US, done. Right to the OR. This isn’t the place for unbiased health information – profit is the primary motivation.
The Unbiased Health Information Model
Alternatively, you can service a smaller percentage of the population looking for unbiased information.
This kind of client knows that you’re supposed to treat hypertension with an ACE-I and high cholesterol with a statin. They understand that an ACL tear goes to the OR, and obesity gets weekly injections or a gastric bypass.
They are looking for industry insider information. They are empowered and determined but need the guidance of an expert.
It’s not that gastric bypass or an ACL repair is the wrong solution. But it’s rather suspicious that the family medicine sports medicine doctor aims for non-surgical management and the sports orthopedist wants to cut. Who’s right? How can the patient determine that?
1. The Customer
The customer is someone who will do a proper online search. They will look for arguments for an ACL repair and against it.
This client often isn’t short on money and will make time for things that matter to them. Their goal is to get an honest clinical opinion from an expert in their field.
They will find your information based on what you’re talking about online. Your content on IG or Linkedin or your website.
Very quickly, you will become a word-of-mouth item. People in certain circles will refer friends and family to you. You’ll be featured on certain websites where such individuals hang out.
To prove to these individuals that you offer unbiased health information, you must demonstrate why and how you’re doing it—no need to badmouth western medicine but point out why there might be a bias.
3. The Service
An informed individual who wants to avoid the rotating door of healthcare is looking to have a frank conversation with a physician. They will have a lot of questions.
They’ll often recognize a good clinician because this expert isn’t trying to shove an opinion down their throat. They are instead asking the patient lots of questions.
4. The Profit
Mainly offering information to a patient can be profitable. It won’t be a $500k a year insurance-based primary care practice. But the lifestyle and job satisfaction are higher.
This clinician has to charge enough to make their overhead on far fewer patient interactions. It’s quality over quantity.
You can’t charge $150 for an office visit. You need to charge $500 when you’re still green and $1,500 once you get some street cred.
5. The Product
What product are you selling to this client? Unbiased clinical expertise, for one. But you will also give them a detailed road map of what they need to do moving forward.
Perhaps you’ll annotate this dossier with some good research studies and reference other experts in the field.
They also pay you to care for and consider their case individually. They are overwhelmed by the decision tree and want someone who understands them to help them decide.