On December 27, I closed MDPrevent, the preventive-medical practice that I co-founded three years ago in Delray Beach, Florida. The practice was created with the premise that patients would be better off if doctors focused their attention more on preventing disease than simply treating it. In clinical parlance, “primary prevention” means preventing disease occurrence, while “secondary prevention” means early diagnosis and treatment of existing disease before it causes significant harm.
The thrust of MDPrevent was primary prevention: to help patients identify their risk factors for the major chronic diseases and leading killers, such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and cancer, and to help them make lifestyle changes to prevent these factors from evolving to illness. I focused on lifestyle counseling, rather than diagnostic tests meant for early detection.
But ultimately, the three major healthcare industry players—the providers, the payers, and the patients—all shared some responsibility for our failure.
Some may say that most start-ups fail. But what happened to MDPrevent is a cautionary tale. My incentives for creating this new model were more altruistic than financial. I previously cofounded, built, and sold a successful healthcare-services company. After spending years involved with the care of institutionalized elderly past the point where prevention makes any real difference, my ultimate goal became demonstrating that doctors could afford to focus on prevention without sacrificing their livelihoods. Of course, to start focusing on primary prevention, most doctors would have to undergo further re-education, as few have training in nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and the like.