Improving Heart Health and More with Mark Abrams, Head of Patient Engagement at Heartbeat

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Improving Heart Health and More with Mark Abrams, Head of Patient Engagement at Heartbeat

Recommended Book:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Best Way to Contact Mark:

mark@heartbeathealth.com

Company website:

https://www.heartbeathealth.com/

Check out this Link:

https://outcomesrocket.health/podcast

Improving Heart Health and More with Mark Abrams, Head of Patient Engagement at Heartbeat

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas, great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is slow. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

Welcome back once again to the podcast. Really appreciate you tuning in today, I have the outstanding Dr. Mark Abrams. He's the Head of Patient Engagement at Heartbeat. Heartbeat is a startup based out of New York City that uses a multi disciplinary team of cardiologists, engineers, educators, and more to help prevent diagnose and treat heart disease and its risk factors for people at any age. Through improving access to knowledge and clinical care in a modern way they hope to make cardiovascular disease a thing of the past. Dr. Abrams is a cardiologist in New York, New York and is affiliated with New York Presbyterian Hospital. It's a pleasure to have him on the podcast today. And I'm looking forward to the discussion. Welcome to the podcast Mark.

Thank you so much.

Hey It's a pleasure. Now tell me Mark what is it that got you into this health care field to begin with?

Well it's kind of a funny story I guess. I always wanted to be a doctor growing up and it really started when I was in middle school. So we all know there are these TV shows on that portray doctors and various lights. But there was one that was kind of the first reality show about doctors that I could remember called Trauma Life in the E.R. on TLC and I watched it and it followed these doctors and surgeons around doing these emergency surgeries and things like that and really got me excited about the idea of being in the health care field. And then as I got older and a little bit more mature I realized the real impact that doctors have, not only on the individual patient but really on whole communities and that got me more excited to continue on that path and really do what I'm doing today which is helping patients but also helping populations.

Well that's exciting man and I think it's really great that you decided to come into this space because it is definitely a need for some new ways of doing things and digital health is one of those ways. So I'm excited to dive into the things that you and your team have cooking over there. What would you say today is a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda? And how are you and your organization approaching it?

So the topic is definitely patient satisfaction and I think that really permeates to a lot of other ideas out there. But what we're doing differently than a lot of places is something that you mentioned in your intro which is that we really do have a multidisciplinary team working together everyone bringing their own expertise to focus on patient care. And we've started with cardiovascular health which is a huge issue especially in the United States. It's the number one cause of death kills more people than all cancers combined. And for the most part is largely preventable if people have the right information and make the right lifestyle changes so not to say that it's low hanging fruit because you know lifestyle changes are definitely difficult. But it's something that our whole team is very excited about doing better than as a nation we are right now.

Now for sure it's definitely a big liter of mortality in this country so it's great that you guys decided to start in that niche. What would you say is an example of how your organization Heartbeat has created results or improved outcomes by doing things differently?

Yeah. So it starts by thinking about what the endgame is and for us that's really to prevent heart disease before it happens. And so we're a fairly new company and obviously in order to prevent heart disease we're going to need a lot of patients to demonstrate that the good thing is that heart disease actually starts many many years even decades before people present with their symptom whether it's a heart attack or shortness of breath or they get referred to a cardiologist because their primary care doctor found something wrong with blood tests or an EKG. So what we're doing and how we're trying to create these results is by getting people in early and getting them excited about their heart health which is something that a lot of doctors have trouble doing. And part of the reason is probably a little bit of implementation science and how people interact with the health care system but also as a doctor and going through medical school and training and everything I've had a lot of family members just ask me questions about their health instead of asking their doctor. Even before I was even really qualified to answer those questions. So what we're doing a little bit differently is we're trying to create that atmosphere that makes patients feel comfortable approaching, us reaching out to us as if we were their family member to get reliable answers instead of trying to find the information on their own. So what we're really doing is preventing this cycle of heart disease that people are stuck in right now. And so a couple of examples of what Heartbeat is doing to attract these younger people and get them interested in their health before it's a problem. Are things that fall into what we call our heartbeat life category which is things like run with a doc where you can actually book an appointment and go exercise with a doctor and ask them questions about exercise, diet, and kind of normal lifestyle things that you might have questions about that really do impact your health. Another example that we've had some early success with so far is something called Eco Meditation where we take a typical heart test called an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound video of the heart eating that we use typically to diagnose heart problems with the way the parts valves are functioning or the way the heart muscle is functioning. And we've paired that up with a meditation where someone guides you through live imagery of your own heart and takes you on a journey as you watch videos of your own eating heart in real time to get you motivated about taking care of the thing that keeps you going every day. So those are just a couple of examples of how we're doing things differently to get people excited about their heart health because although it may be something where by the time you get excited it's almost too late for the current people stuck in the cycle we want to break that and really get people in in their 20's, their 30's when they can actually make a difference by doing things over many decades.

I think that's pretty cool Mark and you know one of the things that comes to mind is the Insurgents of Wearables and now Apple having FDA approval for some of the things that they're doing I might open up the field for more of this. The challenge that we face is how do we pay for this? Have you guys overcome those obstacles?

It's a great point and it actually gets us very excited when Apple had their announcement the other day about the ECG feature of the new Apple Watch. I think a lot of doctors out there that are working in the traditional health care systems are probably nervous about what that means and all the phone calls they'll get from patients. So we're actually excited about it because it's something different that's going to get people excited about their health and in terms of how we pay for that. I think there are two ways of looking at that. One is the short term and the other is the long term. Obviously everybody would love to see the health care system in the US have a cost savings but sometimes you have to put a little money out in order to get it back in the long run. And I think that's probably a phase that we're in right now where do you see consumer technology industry like Apple which hasn't really been in the medical device industry at all really breaking into an arena where not anybody has gone before directly targeting consumers with a device for medical diagnostics and although you are hear different opinions about that, I think it is something that's exciting and we do need to give it time to really see whether it's going to cost our system money or it's going to save us money. Heartbeat in general is where an organisation that thrives on that and we're excited to be involved in this process. It's a great time to be in cardiology.

Yeah without a doubt Mark and there are a lot of these things are an accumulation of time and and they just they don't just happen. It's a process of build up and many years of keeping up with your health and what you're eating and getting excited about it is definitely a great way to go about it. Today, what would you say one of your setbacks has been as you guys have been building the company and what have you learned from that setback?

Yeah it's a it's a great question. I think you know when I think about our setbacks as a company I really think about my own professional career so far and something that comes to mind is when I was going through my training process I really got to see firsthand how rising the system and in a medical center is typically about climbing the ladder as it is and many arenas. And when I started working with my colleagues at Heartbeat what we did differently is there really isn't a ladder per se. Everybody has an equal say and the fact that I have professionally I would say as a physician that I didn't get before I joined Heartbeat and it's a position called the Chief Resident. And what that is is an administrative role for a medical resident which is a training program where you really get to try to make a difference in the education and the implementation of training programs at hospitals. And when I didn't get that I was really devastated. Looking back on it though it actually has helped me and my vision for what I bring to Heartbeat a lot because it showed me that you don't really need to climb a ladder in order to form a path. And sometimes making your own path with people that are interested in the things that you want to accomplish also is sometimes much more powerful than falling into the line that other people have in mind for you. And so as a company we've been you know so far it's still early but we've been very dedicated to an open atmosphere where it's a safe space of sharing ideas iterating on those ideas. And even if some of them don't work, out the learning process is definitely there and more valuable than any one thing that we may have tried in the past.

Yeah that's a great call out you know and what could seem like a setback could oftentimes be what propels you forward and not getting that Chief Resident position really sort of catapulted you into trying to figure out how you can add value. And I think it's pretty cool that you envelope that into what you're doing at Heartbeat now. I'm excited to see how you guys really turn this into something that impacts populations in the way that they are taking care of themselves. So I know that you guys are pretty early on right now but what would you say one of your proudest moments to date has been with the group that you've formed?

My proudest moment is probably the first day that I was in the office. But oh I'll get to something that's a little more tangible than the first I'll just describe the feeling that I got being in the same room as an engineer,a designer,business people, a data scientist, an educator myself, and a cardiologist just all sharing ideas and brainstorming on a whiteboard. It was honestly something that I had never experienced before and I really got to see the power of synergy in that room at that one time and that energy really is something that hasn't stopped. We all encourage each other. We all feedback on each other's ideas. We all have different opinions and biases and we all call each other out on that. In order to really achieve a common goal. And that's very powerful. And the example that I'll give to you is Heartbeat's program that I started which is still very early on called Heartbeat A Lead which really asks people in the community to nominate themselves, their friends, or family members with things that they're doing that they're proud of regarding their heart health. So so far we've had an awesome turnout of people putting in their names. People that grew up in underprivileged situations, eating very unhealthily in their childhood now teaching their whole families how to cook and how to exercise. We've had people who have gone all the way through extensive heart disease resulting in heart transplants and now going back to their own communities and talking about heart health. And that's what I like about what we're doing and that's why that's probably my proudest moment so far because even in the digital space which is how we deal with our Heartbeat A Lead applicants I'm really seeing what Heartbeat is doing is affecting communities. And even though it's early I'm sure that's going to turn into hard outcomes at some point because I can already see the excitement.

That's pretty awesome man. Congratulations.

Thank you.

So we're getting close to the end here Mark. I know. It's amazing how fast these things fly. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course. And what it takes to be successful in medicine today. The one on one course of Dr. Mark Abrams here. So I've got four questions for you lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners, you ready Mark?

I'm ready.

All right. Question number one what's the best way to improve health care outcomes?

I think number one we have to give patients more engaged in their care and really make them feel part of their health care team.

What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

I think it's easy to do when we're trying to change health care systems but we really can't forget why we do what we do which is the patient's front and center.

How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Great question and I think the answer is that you have to be the change and then you'll always be relevant.

What's the one area of focus that drives everything in your organization?

In one word I'd say it's innovation.

Love that and what book would you recommend to the listeners, Mark?

A great book that I read a while ago and recently reread. It's called The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman and it's a book about an immigrant family from a small tribe called the Hmong tribes who moved to California and they have a young child who's diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder. But their understanding of medical illness is something that we doctors refer to as health care literacy was very low and they really didn't understand what was going on with their child even though the doctors knew what was going on with their child and I think it points out something very important which is that we may have a lot of research that tells us about disease how to diagnose it how to treat it but if we're not bringing in patients into their own health care team in a way that they understand and buy into then we're really not accomplishing very much in terms of patient health and patient satisfaction I recommend reading that book and really really thinking about how it affects our health care system today.

And it's such a great point that literacy piece you can know it all you could know how to treat it but if you can't explain it it really is not going to help you with things like medication and here and soon. And what happens when a patient leaves the hospital. I think a lot of things fall through the sieves so to speak. When you get to that point I mean it's a phenomenal recommendation by Mark here. And folks if you want to check out the transcript and all of the things that we discussed links to this book as well as the company go to outcomes rocket health slash heartbeat and you're going to find it there. Mark this is awesome. Really appreciate the time you spent with us if you can just leave us with your closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get in touch with you.

Absolutely so thanks so much for having me on your show. It's really been fun talking to you. The last thing that I'll leave everybody with is to really think about a personal experience that you've had with the health care system and think about what was wrong with that or what made you hesitate in reaching out to your doctor. I know we all want to do better with our lives in terms of our health because that's kind of that's an asset that we have that nobody would trade anything for. And I'd encourage you to join Heartbeat and our mission to not only prevent heart disease but also get involved in learning about your own health and reach out to us. So the best way to get in touch with us is to either go to our website heartbeathealth.com or you can e-mail me personally mark@heartbeathealth.com and I'll get right back to you.

That's awesome. So there you have it folks. Take a note. Reach out and for you Mark we give you a big thanks for joining us today.

Thank you.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas, great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is slow. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

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