Media in Medicine: Dr. Stark, ZocDoc, iMedix

Dr. Stark

Reuters report about Dr. Howard Stark, a physician with a unique practice. In the same article, it shows a photograph of a smiling man in front of the computer. And the reason for the smile?


Stark has moved most of his practice, based in Washington, onto the Internet and he couldn’t be happier. Since he started his Web-based service two years ago, he has received 14,000 e-mails.

And yet, he feels more like an old-fashioned family doctor in a small town than a modern, harried physician.

“That’s 14,000 phone calls that we did not have to answer and that patients did not have to make,” Stark said.

He does not charge for answering an e-mail. “You have to come in one time a year for an annual exam,” Stark said.

Dr. Stark’s is another example of this big “office move” or “expansion.” The inclusion of media in medicine or for his take, his medical practice. Another foot forward, another example of this next page, it is interactive. Very much like Dr. Jay Parkinson in Brooklyn, New York? Could be.

What of questions about personal service?

He also gets updates on patients’ personal lives.

“People say how impersonal e-mail is. No way. It is so personal because I can hear what is going on with the kids,” Stark said in an interview at his otherwise ordinary office.

“It keeps me a lot closer to what is going on with my patients,” he added.

He gets a few laughs too.

The rest is free — prescription refills, quick questions about medication, even questions about unusual stings.

“What do I get? A picture of the scorpion that bit the patient in Belize,” Stark laughed. “I said, ‘it would have been better to send me a picture of your leg.'”

Is it the potential avenue, potentially a solution to the variety of growing issues of health care?

Health experts, the U.S. government, labor unions, employers and average citizens all agree the U.S. health care system badly needs improvement.

So what inspired him to shift his practice this way? Airlines!

The idea came to him while booking a flight.

“I was sitting here and making a seat assignment to go to Miami. And I said, ‘why is it I can make a seat assignment four months in advance and my patients can’t book a half-hour appointment?'” he said.

How sweet it is…?

“I feel like I have taken 21st century medicine back to being more like the old-fashioned physician who knows how your family is doing.”

Exciting stuff continue to unfold. Technology is being explored. Information and communication enhanced. More and more are willing to adapt and explore the many many possibilities of the current realm of the web.

Stark contacted a couple of friends with Internet experience and they designed DoctorsOnTheWeb (, a site that lets any doctor do what he is doing. So far, three other doctors have signed up to use the site, he said.

More importantly, what of patient’s privacy concerns?

The system works like a bank’s Web site. To avoid putting confidential information in e-mails, patients work on a secure server. If Stark wants to contact them, they get an e-mail merely directing them to pick up a message at the password-protected site.

It allows patients to ask about their health as issues arise, instead of waiting for the annual exam. “If you have any questions, it’s so nice to shoot an e-mail,” Stark said.

One of the many points of concern about this new wave of practice, what of the quality of his care for his patients?

Stark stresses that he does not make medical decisions based on an e-mail.

Read the rest of this news here. A must. There is some kick there about the thorny insurance again. Then again, as I have supposed above that this is quite similar if not the same model as Jay Parkinson’s. Thus, a possible solution to the uninsured as well.


Speaking of instant doctor’s appointments, here is some fun news from Mashable.

ZocDoc is an online appointment tool for searching for doctors and scheduling appointments as easily as making a restaurant reservation for dinner online. The company launched early last autumn in the New York city area, focusing initially on dentists.

Nearly 6 months later, ZocDoc has about 50 dentists that have signed on board to try out this free scheduling service, and is now ready to roll out its tools for doctors as well, beginning Feb 14th. When I first spoke to Cyrus Massoumi and Dr. Oliver Kharraz prior to the launch about its upcoming expansion, and was anxious to hear about how the company had grown in these past few months. “It’s all been organic,” Massoumi said. “Doctors are approaching us, asking when we’ll be ready to add them to our site.”



And, our dessert for today, yes, another networking site. But wait, networking for those seeking medical information. Please welcome the newly launched, iMedix.


Here’s Techcrunch’s account of this nifty new social networking site.

iMedix is a social search engine focussed on healthcare that has raised $2 million from angel investors. When you type in a search term, an auto-completed list of health and medical terms pops down to help guide your search. Type in “toe,” and it suggests “wound of toenail,” “tingling toe” “broken toe,” “blue toes,” “absence of toe,” and “hammer toe,” among others. Along the side column are profiles of iMedix members who may be interested in health topics related to the search. In this case, “sport injuries.” If the iMedix members are online, you can start a chat with them. If they are not online, you can send them an e-mail.

This ends today’s blog of epic proportions. 😉

Media In Medicine: What of the Insurance Companies & Other Issues?
“How Web 2.0 is Changing Medicine”, an addendum
Media In Medicine: More Than Mending The Broken
2.0 in Medicine and Definitely Beyond

Upcoming—Media In Medicine: I Love Film.


~ by Karina Descartin on 17 February 2008.

One Response to “Media in Medicine: Dr. Stark, ZocDoc, iMedix”

  1. […] Related—Media In Medicine: Dr. Stark, ZocDoc, iMedix —Media In Medicine: What of the Insurance Companies and Other Issues? —“How Web 2.0 is Changing Medicine”, an addendum —Media In Medicine: More Than Mending The Broken —2.0 in Medicine and Definitely Beyond […]

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