I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Samant Virk. Dr. Samant Virk is Founder & CEO of MediSprout, a company focused on connecting doctors with their patients through innovative technology solutions. Sam’s vision is to address the shortcomings of healthcare by building technology around one of the cornerstones of medical practice, the provider-patient relationship.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Having practiced clinical medicine for almost 15 years, with a specialization in Neurology and Interventional Spine, I came to the realization that the healthcare system is broken. More physician time is being spent filling out insurance paperwork, playing phone tag and chasing follow-ups — and less time treating people, helping families and serving communities. Time spent in physician-patient interactions, the core of any medical practice, is now being governed by insurance companies and complex billing and payment systems, federal and legal mandates, the pharmaceutical industry, and technology that was intended to improve the business of care.
The reason I became a doctor was to make a meaningful impact on my patients’ lives, to give them the personalized level of care they deserve, and to have a relationship with them that fosters their ongoing health and well-being.
All of this translated into an opportunity for me to take the lead in creating technologies that safeguard personal interaction and create better and more efficient options for patients to access care. A few years ago I founded MediSprout, a company that offers a simple to use, easy to implement, HIPAA-compliant, virtual video product called V2MD. V2MD is a secure, reliable way for practitioners to better connect with their existing patients to build relationships and provide ongoing care. My mission since then has been to educate both medical providers and their patients about the benefits of using telehealth, and this pandemic has brought attention to how critical virtual visits are, with many more practices and medical institutions now offering them.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
As a history buff I enjoy reading biographies of people who have accomplished great things in history. Any book on Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill is a great place to be entertained and inspired while also learning. They were both giant men who overcame odds, stuck to principle and were amazing writers and orators.
Another book I find to be a great leadership guide is The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The old man, Santiago, is the ultimate, subdued leader who is on a mission and displays the characteristics including patience, persistence, respect and channeled emotion without the large outspoken personality that we attribute to many leaders today. Simple and alone, he is fearless and committed without any audience to appreciate him.
Right now I’m finishing a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin titled “Leadership: In Turbulent Times,” which talks about some of the country’s great leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt and how their ability to manage uniquely different circumstances was forged, while sharing so many similarities in their upbringing. Those challenging life experiences as they were growing up helped to shape who they were as leaders — it’s inspiring and motivating and has a lot of life lessons woven throughout.
I great great joy from music as well. The variety depends on the mood — it can range from Dylan to Black Sheep, from Toby Keith to Arcade Fire, from Charlie Parker to Don McLean. I like music because it’s a way to escape or a way to better connect with yourself or with others.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the corona virus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
When we built MediSprout, we never imagined the kind of impact it could have on the healthcare industry, physician colleagues, and patients during such an historic and challenging time. To put it into perspective, each week for the last three weeks, MediSprout has built and launched a white label telehealth solution for a major health system in the NY metro area with more than 1,000 individual providers each, including administrators and scheduling staff, joining from each hospital. This does not include the huge volume of medical offices that have joined our platform from individual offices to large single and multi-specialty groups during recent weeks as well.
We really believe that it’s capability to address everyday medical needs will make it part of our lives for good — and this is what we set out to achieve when we first launched the company.
Since the beginning of this medical crisis, healthcare providers have learned many lessons about the adoption of telehealth solutions for practices and it’s given us many reasons to be hopeful for its staying power:
- Patients and physicians will use telehealth to still stay connected even in isolation. A patient’s healthcare needs do not end just because we are unable to go to the doctors office. There was skepticism around whether people would actually use telehealth during a time like this to stay connected to their doctors. What we’ve learned is that this is a resounding “yes.” Patients of all ages have quickly adapted to using telehealth services.
- Telehealth is a great way for doctors and patients to connect — we’ve seen the greatest benefit occur when telehealth is used as a tool to improve continuity of care connecting patients to doctors who already know them. The power of telehealth is magnified exponentially when you combine the video/audio connection with the benefits of a past relationship. This in-depth understanding of past medical history and current medical status makes the engagement far more valuable than that of a sterile provider-patient interaction where no relationship previously exists.
- Telehealth provides access to quality medical care no matter where your patients live. For many, including those who can’t afford to travel to the in-person visit, those who live in remote areas with limited access to medical treatment, and even people who live in urban areas who are too ill or too busy to take public transportation, the trip to an in-office medical appointment can be a hurdle too big to cross. With telehealth, we have seen firsthand that location should no longer be a barrier to getting quality medical care
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
We are living in unprecedented times, and as a result, there are so many sources of stress during this pandemic — it’s normal to feel anxious at times when a global infectious disease is impacting all aspects of your life, and those around you. If you have friends or loved ones feeling unusually anxious or concerned right now, there are a few few important things you can do to help alleviate some of that stress:
- Help those around us understand they’re not alone — we really are all in this together around the globe. Check in often with friends and family members who are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety and lend an ear and reassurance that we will all get through this. Take advantage of the technology we have like Zoom or FaceTime to connect and see your friends and loved ones.
- Encourage those you know who are anxious not to spend too much time watching the news. While it can certainly be informative, it can also overwhelm those who may be more prone to feelings of anxiety.
- Encourage those you care about to get moving. It’s more important than ever to get outside and exercise, even if it’s a walk around your neighborhood. Mediation is also very helpful for many to help bring a sense of calm, even if only for a few minutes every day. It all helps to distract you from what’s going on in the world right now.
- Encourage those you feel may be suffering to reach out to their medical providers via telehealth; there are so many resources out there for those suffering from anxiety, and virtual doctor visits allow individuals to connect with their doctor from their living room, so they don’t have to be worried about a trip to the doctor.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
The first thing someone should do is call their medical provider. While many doctors’ offices are still open, this is a great time to take advantage of telehealth because it connects patients and providers via video chats they can do at their convenience. One of the biggest advantages of telemedicine — across all medical specialties, especially within mental health — is accessibility for all patients, including those who are convalescing at home, patients who lack adequate transportation, and those who live in rural areas without convenient access to a doctor.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.’
It has been relevant in many parts of my life from medical school through to creating MediSprout. Doing something you believe in or achieving something great takes perseverance, resilience and believing in yourself even at the most difficult times.
Despite any trying moments that we encountered in building MediSprout, we stayed the course because we believe so strongly in our mission.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
The goal of inspiring change is what led us to develop MediSprout — to create positive changes that have a lasting impact on the healthcare system. We exist to help doctors stay connected with their patients, and to nurture a lasting relationship focused on their health and well-being. And our goal is to continue to educate the population about the importance of virtual visits — and that became more apparent than ever during this pandemic. Virtual visits have allowed millions of people to stay safely home and connect with their doctors about their health concerns, keeping them away from exposure to additional germs, and protecting our medical community at the same time.
Even as the world begins to open its doors again, there is no reason that a patient with a cold, a possible ear infection, sinus issues, or seasonal allergies, among other conditions, has to spend hours at their doctor’s office, waiting to be seen. We want to eliminate the need for patients in rural areas to have to travel to their doctors for routine follow-up care or questions, when those can be addressed virtually, saving patients precious time, gas and money.
MediSprout, with its telehealth platform, V2MD, has always encouraged the adoption of telehealth by promoting its many benefits, particularly its convenient access to care, and saving patients and providers valuable time and expense. In our new reality, the only benefit that matters is the health and safety of our patients and our medical care providers. Through this pandemic, not only have doctors and patients realized how telehealth can save lives, they have seen how they can deliver and receive the same great care virtually that they may have received in person from their own doctors. Now in this new reality, telehealth will remain critical for our future beyond COVID-19.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/medisprout/