ZDoggMD spoofs archaic physician culture and EHRs in new Doc Vader videos

Hospitalist dons the familiar black helmet in a three-part series that evokes the Dark Side in which doctors become detached, disconnected or burned out because of kludgy electronic health record software.
By Bill Siwicki
11:14 AM
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The hospitalist known by many as the satiric ZDoggMD imagined himself as Lord Vader and produced a trilogy of humorous videos featuring “Doc Vader” dealing with the often-frustrating problems of communicating his needs within a hospital.

The videos’ titles spoof the mega-popular Star Wars films.

Here's “Doc Vader, Episode I: The Pager Menace." 

“Doc Vader, Episode II: The Clone Wards.”

And “Doc Vader, Episode III: Revenge of the Fax.” 

“I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid, and have always been fascinated by Lord Vader and his Dark Side/Light Side dichotomy – so much of this character feels familiar to me,” said Zubin Damania, MD, a hospitalist and the founder of Turntable Health and ZDoggMD, who last year came out with the rap song “EHR State of Mind,” which spoofed the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys duet “Empire State of Mind.”

“We go in idealistic, hoping to change the world, and meet an Imperial system so dysfunctional that we often get burned out, turning to the metaphorical Dark Side, becoming detached or disconnected, ‘More machine now than man.’”

That last line was the hero Obi-Wan Kenobi describing what happened to the once-heroic Anakin Skywalker after he fell to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader.

“Especially with the advent of the electronic health record,” Damania added. “The idea of a Dark Lord of the Sith brought to his knees by the mundane yet horrific daily grind of our medical system was simultaneously hilarious and tragic to me.”

The videos are sponsored by DrFirst, a vendor that sells a secure text messaging technology for healthcare called Backline.

Many physicians, however, remain stuck in the Dark Ages of communication, Damania stressed.

And with the increasingly complex technological demands of healthcare, many physicians probably wish they had the power of Darth Vader to break through the mayhem and bring order to the galaxy. And when it comes to communicating with nurses and other caregivers, they might imagine being able to reach out with their minds and communicate using The Force.

But this is the real world, not Star Wars, and physicians by and large are stuck with phone calls for communicating.

“It feels like ‘a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away,’ because here we are, in 2016, using 1990s technology to talk with one another. We know there’s got to be a better way, because we use it daily via our smartphones in our civilian lives,” he said, referring to text messaging. “So what gives? Ah, Imperial regulations, archaic medical culture, and a lack of elegant solutions.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT