What do you think is the biggest problem in healthcare today?
There are 2 biggies: the unbearable cost, and the outdated paradigm. Simply put, most people pay 2x more than they should or could be paying right now, and we have an old system that’s not working on so many levels because it is based solely on a disease generation (pathogenesis) model. The new one that many of us are involved in building is based on health generation (salutogenesis) model, which makes so much more sense. It doesn’t replace our understanding of disease; instead it supplements it with a deep dive into what actually nurtures and supports health. And while the pathogenesis model is entrenched in big centralized industries which are usually big corporations headquartered in other states, the salutogenic model resides locally in the places we work and shop, live and learn, raise our kids, and connect with other real humans! It is a concept of healthcare grounded on a local and community-based level.
How does your practice work?
We provide nonstop pediatrics, gynecology, adult medicine and urgent care with unlimited phone, text, and email access to your personal physician or provider. We have 3 locations in Boulder county for onsite visits. When patients have a need to be seen after hours, we unlock the office and take care of their urgent issues.
We pair our program with various major medical coverage options provided by several low-cost HealthShare plans that offer global coverage. 24/7 worldwide-that’s how we live–so our healthcare needs to fit that lifestyle. The net result is full-stack, concierge level, high touch healthcare at half the cost of the stingiest “bronze” plan on the insurance exchange. Also, the max out of pocket expense for things like deductibles and copays are much lower, and we never order a lab or scan or medication without letting folks know exactly how much it will cost them.
Since there is such a huge “Wizard of Oz” screen in conventional healthcare costs, our core value is to be the world champion advocates for our patients’ health and also their wallet. We believe it’s actually our job as your physicians to understand the healthcare marketplace and help you navigate its confusing complexities to get the best care at the best prices—especially since healthcare bills are still one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the US.
How does your model differ from some of the other new emerging healthcare models?
Basically, most people find the old conventional healthcare systems to be both highly inefficient and highly impersonal. There are new trends like retail clinics and tele-doc services which are far more efficient, but they’re still very impersonal. Our mantra is super high-efficiency with a deep personal connection to our patients, which evolves over time and is independent of where you happen to be on the globe—you’re always able to connect to your personal physician or provider. Those long-term relationships that are based on trust are—in my opinion—the single greatest thing which has eroded in the current system, and we need to fight hard to get back to that. That’s where we actually need to go: back to the old days. That’s our bias. Everyone is biased, whether they acknowledge it or not. We’re proud of our bias! We’re biased that natural remedies are usually a better place to start than pharmacological ones (unless of course, you have an imminently life-threatening condition). And we’re biased towards the best interests of our patients as individuals rather than being beholden to a hospital system or insurance organization that so often dictates what doctors can or can’t do when they are simply trying to achieve their patient’s best possible health and wellbeing.
Who does the Cloud Medical team consist of and what are your next steps?
In addition to our founding team which includes me and one of Boulder’s most beloved physician-healers, Dr. Charles Tawa, we recently hired several new rock stars to help us take Cloud to the next level, including our “Chief People Officer” Ariel Radack Kassner, and our clinical team consisting of Sheila Kupersmith, FNP. We have a phenomenal support staff and our practice has several big moonshots for the next 12-18 months. The first is to harness the power and the intelligence of the collective; I mean of the local community. Boulder County is unlike any place on earth in terms of the kinds of people who are attracted to come live here, so many of our patients are world-class performers of their own right.
We believe in creating Omni-win strategies that can help enhance the overall health of our community in meaningful ways. This is all about really digging deep into the true sources of health on a societal level. We’re trying to do in healthcare what Kimball Musk and his team is doing for the food industry. It’s amazing and inspiring what is happening here, and you just get a sense that we are in store for real breakthroughs in how we exchange value and relate to one another on a macro level. The biggest mistake we can make is to believe there is no other way than the status quo.
So, in addition to our Cloud Medical practice, we are launching the Cloud Collective as a platform to accomplish these deeper societal goals…which include, among other pretty wild ideas, a net-zero cost Cloud membership. This would provide unlimited primary care that effectively costs nothing. In the end, higher quality is fairly easy to accomplish at a higher price. The problem is that our current baseline healthcare costs are already out of control, and our quality of care in significant areas of the healthcare system isn’t where it should be. So, our goal is to improve quality while simultaneously driving costs down significantly for our patients.
What do you think the most important things are for running a successful business?
By far and away, in my personal experience, it’s two things that matter the most. First, it’s the team. Having the right people involved makes a massive difference, and the second and related thing is that any time you’re building or innovating anything, I’ve found that coming at everything from honesty, transparency, and humility, and being aware of our own shadow and self-sabotage mechanisms matters a great deal. It sets the tone and the energy for whatever it is you’re building. That’s why having a great team where it’s possible, to openly acknowledge and consciously work on those individual aspects together, is so vitally important. We all bring some baggage. It’s how we work with it that determines the kind of company that gets created–and you better believe that it’s gonna impact your health — big time.