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EPISODE #25 HOW DO WE HEAL THE HOLES IN HEALTHCARE? – medicine of the future with Dr. Berzin

  • Published on: 27 September, 2020
  • Last update: 18 October, 2020

THIS WEEK ON WHAT’S THE JUICE PODCAST

Life update: my mama is FINALLY home after 6 grueling months and we’re adapting to her post-COVID needs with help from her wonderful caregivers. It truly does take a village, and there’s no way I’d be able to cope without my community.

That’s why this week, I decided to release my episode with Dr. Robin Berzin of Parsley Health where we explore the very real gaps in healthcare that have only become more apparent over this past year. How can we move to a prevention-focused model of medicine where patients genuinely feel heard and supported? How do we advocate for ourselves and our loved ones so that we’re seen as the complex humans we are with unique and individual needs? Dr. Berzin’s goal with her practice is to help us stop “living ourselves sick” by genuinely getting to know each patient for their unique lifestyle and needs, and identifying early symptoms related to common conditions like PCOS, hormonal/thyroid imbalances, autoimmune diseases, and more. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: modern medicine is incredible on so many levels, and yet there’s still room for improvement and integration as chronic disease only continues to rise. Dr. Berzin and her team are in the middle of a healthcare revolution, and I’m HERE FOR IT.

Ready to take your health into your own hands? Let’s get juicy!

Robin Berzin, MD is a Columbia-trained physician, digital health expert, and leader in functional medicine. She’s also the founder and CEO of Parsley Health, an innovative membership-based medical care program that truly puts patients first. As a Cancer sun, her passion for helping others makes SO much sense: nurturing, loving, balanced, and genuinely wanting to serve people—all the traits you want your doctor to have.

I had such a fangirl moment getting to chat with Dr. Berzin, and tbh, the feeling was mutual! SO much fun. That’s what happens when you put two fierce women who are passionate about holistic health in the same [virtual] room! Getting to the root cause of health issues, recognizing patterns, nerding out on data and results…that’s my kinda gal! 

Let’s start with what’s wrong with our current approach to health…

Look, I’m grateful for modern medicine and there are many things going right these days, but on an individual level, so many of us are struggling with chronic conditions. And part of that is because the healthcare system isn’t set up to really take care of us.

  • It’s not accessible. At a high-level look, healthcare is expensive, insurance is confusing, medical bills are confusing (don’t even get me started on the discrepancies on my parents’ COVID medical bills), and it’s hard to get an appointment on a moment’s notice.
  • It’s built to be efficient…for everyone except the patient (you). Appointments are short, intake forms and questions are limited, 
  • It’s reactive—not proactive. We don’t get tested until the problem is already at its worst. Preventative care really isn’t preventative…not when we might only have one 15-minute appointment per year.
  • It’s treating the symptoms—not the cause. Our healthcare system is built on whats when it should be focused on the whys and hows
  • We’re not being heard. Women and people of color, in particular, have typically not been heard in medicine. Our pain is not recognized or we’re just not treated the same. 

That last point is so so SO important to me—and to Dr. Berzin: We all need to be heard—listened to, valued, respected, taken seriously. Phew…and that applies to a whole lot more than just healthcare. Listening to each other more and better should be at the top of everyone’s mind these days. With that being said, a need for people to be heard is part of what inspired Dr. Berzin to found Parsley Health in the first place.

How Parsley Health is setting a new standard for healthcare…

Dr. Berzin and her team are in the middle of a healthcare revolution, and I am 10000% HERE FOR IT. A supplement to health insurance (not a replacement for it), Parsley Health is a membership program that makes healthcare personal, holistic, and truly focused on healing. Patients get 5 in-depth visits per year with their provider, plus 365-day/year virtual access for quick needs like medication refills and urgent questions.

Here’s what it adds to or improves upon in the healthcare world:

  • Accessibility. Patients can see a doctor, get testing done, have their results interpreted, and more from home, without long wait times. 
  • Proactive testing. They know what to test for—way beyond the standard “comprehensive” tests you might get at a physical. This might mean looking for autoimmune markers, testing for heavy metals, stool & urine samples, nutrient levels, hormone levels. 
  • Looking at the body as a whole. They know that physical health can affect mental health and vice-versa. How the gut can affect the skin. They’re looking for the underlying cause and not just treating the symptoms!
  • Holistic treatments. Dr. Berzin and other Parsley Health medical providers recognize the value of prescription drugs in some cases, but they’re not always the default. They might prescribe specific lifestyle, nutrition, or environmental recommendations instead of or in addition to prescription drugs.
  • Listening. Intake forms are robust, appointments are longer and more thorough, and patients are made to feel heard and understood.

So, it’s partially on healthcare providers to listen thoroughly—but we’re not totally off the hook. Healthcare should be a two-way relationship: you’ve got to share your thoughts and how you’re truly feeling and ask as many questions as you need to. Bringing us to the VERY important point of advocating for yourself. Because someone has got to!

How to Advocate for Yourself & Loved Ones

Many of you know all the details of my parents’ battle with COVID-19 in March 2020 (if not, you can hear alllll about it here) and how I had to strongly advocate for them to receive the best care FOR THEM. I’m eternally grateful for the doctors in my life, who helped me approach the topics and overcome the hurdle I really didn’t know existed. I don’t want anyone to feel clueless or helpless when it comes to their health. 

Here’s what Dr. Berzin recommends…

  1. Own Your Own Records/Info

If you ever end up in the hospital—or, like in my case, someone close to you does—you want the doctors and healthcare team to be able to provide the best care possible. Part of that means having accurate, up-to-date info about you. Dr. Berzin recommends using something like a Google Doc that can be easily updated, shared, and accessed for stuff like:

  • List of medications you’re taking 
  • Allergies (food, medication, etc.)
  • Chronic or acute conditions 
  • Medical history (procedures, abnormalities, etc.)
  1. Ask Questions 

Doctors can sometimes run on autopilot, she says. They move fast, use acronyms and language and concepts that we might not understand. If you need clarification or don’t feel good about something, please speak up! Be relentless if you have to! If there’s any time to be relentless, it’s when your health (your life!) is at stake. Some really helpful questions you can ask: 

  • Why is that? 
  • What do expect that to do? 
  • How long do you expect that to last? 
  • How has that worked for other people?
  • Are there other options? Is this the only option?
  • Why do you think this is the best option?

A glimpse into the future of healthcare tech…

“We haven’t really cracked the surface yet on how much tech can make healthcare more usable”

Dr. Berzin

There are just SO many areas of health we can do better in…it gives me a glimmer of hope, especially knowing that people like Dr. Berzin are out there, listening and building and advocating for all of us. I really can’t wait for you guys to hear her passion for helping people heal on this episode! She’s just doing the Lord’s work out there!

Stay juicy!

Xoxo, 

Olivia

CONNECT WITH DR. ROBIN BERZIN

DR. ROBIN BERZIN ON IG: https://www.instagram.com/robinberzinmd/ 

PARSLEY HEALTH ON IG: https://www.instagram.com/parsleyhealth/

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