The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

How To Achieve Better Healthcare for Less with Dr. Michael Zema

Dr. Michael Zema, author of Modern Healthcare Delivery, Deliverance or Debacle – A Glimpse from the Inside Out, shares his journey into cardiology, how we can better the healthcare system, and essential skills for future medical leaders.

  • [00:35] Getting to know Dr. Michael Zema
  • [05:07] The Journey to Cardiology
  • [08:38] Dr. Zema’s Inspiration to Write his Book on Modern Healthcare Delivery
  • [09:37] How Society can Achieve Better Healthcare for Less
  • [17:50] Essential Skills for Future Healthcare Leaders

The Journey to Cardiology

Dr. Michael Zema grew up in a typical middle-income American home. For the longest time, he knew he wanted to follow a chemistry career and even had mentors who propelled him towards achieving that goal. Interestingly, the longer he pursued science, the more he got pushed towards medicine. Dr. Zema loved science, but it came to a point where he had to choose between chemistry, his first love, and medicine. He sat for the MCAT, did very well, and got accepted into medical school.

As a senior at Weill Cornell Medical School, Dr. Zema got the chance to experience several sub-internships where he interned in numerous different fields in the hospital. It was during this time that he stumbled upon dermatology. However, during his full medical internship, he was exposed to the fascinating world of cardiology and dermatology was completely thrown out of the picture. His mentors believed in his ability, and he considered cardiology to be far more interesting than dermatology, so he decided to pursue it.

How Society Can Achieve Better Healthcare for Less

Our healthcare systems occupy an average of 18% of our GDP and are on a steady upward trajectory. Unfortunately, the professionals who run the medical world still rely on a volume-based approach where practitioners are compensated according to the number of patients they meet. Dr. Zema believes that the only way we can better our healthcare systems is to switch to a value-based system. This proposed system will see healthcare practitioners compensated according to the value they add to a patient’s healthcare.

The sad reality is that although quality has improved over the past couple of years, this proposition is practically unattainable. Firstly, the medical world requires a shift in behavior and a strategy that can fix the money holes plaguing the entire system. The good news is that it’s feasible, but we all need to take the first step.

Essential Skills for Future Healthcare Leaders

The medical world is a unique industry for analyzing and developing leadership for two reasons. First, because of the sheer size and second, because so much is at stake. The impact of an unmotivated workforce practically cripples a country’s healthcare. Hence, future medical leaders need to develop specific skills to boost their chances of improving and leading healthcare into a better space in the future. The skills include, but are not limited to:

  1. Empathy and social skills.
  2. Ability to see the bigger picture
  3. Attentive and active listening skills
  4. Manage up and lead up
  5. Maintain transparency
  6. Respectful and cautious use of digital media

Follow Dr. Michael Zema on LinkedIn and also check out his latest book Modern Healthcare Delivery, Deliverance or Debacle – A Glimpse from the Inside Out. 

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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