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CloudView blog

Ideas and insights to help health care providers stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health care environment.

ZDoggMD’s “Lose Yourself:” A Lyrical Analysis

by Jessica Myers, Public Relations Intern, athenahealth

It’s been less than three weeks since doctor-rapper Zubin Damania, better known as ZDoggMD, dropped his newest rap parody, “Lose Yourself.” In that short time, it’s taken the healthcare Internet by storm. Set to Eminem’s classic hit, ZDogg’s version speaks to the challenges today’s health care providers face as they balance important patient relationships with mounting regulation, student loan debt, exasperating technology, and the constant demand to do more with less. The song is resonating with countless physicians who feel caught up in the system and bound for burnout.  And if you listen closely, there’s also cause for optimism in the song’s call for a healthcare overhaul—the move toward Health 3.0.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to check out “Lose Yourself,” you can fix that by watching it here, on athenahealth’s Social Hub.

One thing is certain: ZDoggMD’s rap and thoughtful lyrics give Eminem a run for his money. The song is quick and complex, with so many cultural and industry references that it can be difficult to catch them all.  Let’s delve into a brief close reading of “Lose Yourself.” For added fun, listen along; timestamps are included with each lyric.

If you had one shot, one opportunity, to unbreak healthcare, in this moment, would you capture it or just let it slip? (:31-:47)

In introducing the song, ZDoggMD links his movement with one of athenahealth’s primary goals: unbreaking healthcare. We all know that healthcare is broken and is failing providers and patients in far too many ways. Are we going to capture this opportunity, like ZDoggMD exhorts us to, or just let it slip?

She won’t stop—student loan default ain’t pretty (:56-1:00)

This one, so close to our hearts and bank accounts, doesn’t really require explanation: it’s well known that student loan debt in the United States is the largest type of debt in the country, exceeding $1 trillion, and that medical school loan debt has more than doubled in the last fifteen years. “Ain’t pretty” is right.

HCAHPS is reality… (1:10-1:13)

HCAHPS—acronym for the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems—is a national standardized measure for comparing patients’ perspectives on hospitals across the board. While effective for improving patient satisfaction and creating a standard measure across hospitals, this survey is often a cause for concern among  many institutions which worry about boosting their scores.

…the Press Ganey means those depressed ladies get hosed with those Valium (1:13-1:17)

The Press Ganey survey, a component of HCAHPS, measures how satisfied hospital patients are with the facility, providers, and staff. Again, a noble pursuit—but trying to increase patient satisfaction rates (and survey scores) can often lead to increased healthcare costs and inappropriate medical care. A 2010 survey showed that “48% of healthcare providers reported altering medical treatment due to the potential for a negative report on a patient satisfaction survey.” That’s a decision no provider should have to make. 

Heartbroke, she’s so sad, system broken so bad that she knows when she thinks back to that oath she took that’s when it’s back to the goal again (1:22-1:30)

We’re all familiar with the Hippocratic Oath, spoken by newly minted MDs at medical school graduation ceremonies. While it changes from school to school, with some reciting the exact translation from the ancient Greek and others modifying it to reflect specific values, the oath represents a promise to respect other physicians, to benefit patients and their families, and to contribute positively to society as a whole.

Tear this muthaclickin’ crap off (1:58-2:00)

In a ten-hour shift, one doctor can record as many as 4,000 clicks through the EMR. ZDoggMD, athenahealth, and other providers have realized that this workflow is not sustainable as it exists today. The visit with the patient has fallen to the wayside of computer screens and insurmountable records and clicks.

That Obama drama bleedin’ on (2:38-2:40)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known more conversationally as Obamacare, was an attempt—seen by some as unsuccessful—to streamline and strengthen the nation’s access to healthcare. Studies have discussed how the ACA is affecting doctors’ incomes, the doctor-patient relationship, and private doctor practices, to name a few.

Health 3.0 is our shot, hospitals, nurses, and docs, this may be the only opportunity we got (2:57-3:03)

This is the real moral of the song--a rallying cry amidst a sea of humor and frustration something we can all rally around. In order to unbreak healthcare, ZDogg exhorts us to make Health 3.0 happen. The days of autonomous physicians doing work behind closed doors (Health 1.0) has long passed, and the mechanistic and impersonal administrative technocracy (Health 2.0) is doing us no favors. We can no longer sit and wait for the next stage of healthcare to happen; we need to create it for ourselves.

In ZDoggMD’s own words, we can’t lose ourselves in the system.  We’ve only got one shot, and we’ve got to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime chance.

How would you unbreak healthcare?  Tell us on the Social Hub.

Jessica Myers graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor's Degree in English (Honors).  She is currently interning at athenahealth while working on her Master's degree in English at Northeastern University.

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