Toronto doctor hired by Apple to work on messaging

dr-mike-evansA Toronto medical doctor has been hired by Apple Inc. to help chart the future of family medicine after his YouTube videos caught the eye of the technology giant. Dr. Mike Evans (pictured), also known as “DocMikeEvans” and a former staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, has already started his new line of digital healthcare work with Apple. Evans, who declined to discuss his job in detail, is commuting between Toronto and Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., while his older son finishes high school. His new job involves worldwide health innovation.

“I think why they are engaging me is the messaging,” said Evans. “We’re searching for consistency, not perfection.”

Evans said Apple became interested in his videos that feature his voice and a cartoon doctor explaining common medical problems with the help of a whiteboard. As Evans speaks in the video, a hand draws relevant cartoons. He calls it peer-to-peer healthcare.

He began the series about five years ago. The first one asked the question: “What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” He said the videos may seem simple but each one may have up to 15 edits.

“We summarize the best evidence. We have lots of fun with them. They’re humourous. They’re easy to watch. They’re short. You just go to DocMikeEvans on YouTube and everything is there,” he said.

He said Apple approached him earlier but he turned it down and the company kept in touch. “They were most interested, interestingly, in how I worked with creatives.”

One of his most popular videos, with more than 155,000 views, is “What Can You Do to Get Through a Crap Week?”

Evans said the future of healthcare will be a combination of face-to-face visits, involving a doctor and a patient who trusts that doctor, and advanced technology.

“I think the way we engage people will totally change,” he said.

“What happens now is I see you. Let’s say you have high blood pressure. I prescribe you a pill for that. I see you two or three times a year,” he said.

“In future, I’ll prescribe you an app. One of our whiteboards will drop in and explain what high blood pressure is. The phone will be bluetoothed to the cap of your pills. I’ll nudge you towards a low salt diet.

All of these things will all happen in your phone. I see you two or three days a year. The phone sees you everyday.”

Evans said the future of healthcare will look at “our phenotypes around change” and figuring out what works “nudge-wise” to motivate for people to seek better health, disease management and healthier lives. For example, he said, some people might respond to the messaging on a watch, or a whiteboard in a video, while others might respond to social competition, or a reward.

“To be honest, I think we’ll all be different,” he said. “The future will be figuring that out.”

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Source: CBC News