Dr. Darshan Shah, Founder of Next Health on What it Takes to Disrupt the Healthcare Industry
A self-proclaimed “recovering plastic surgeon,” Dr. Darshan Shah discusses the difference of “healthcare” and “disease care” and what we can do to look and feel our best.
Dr. Darshan Shah is the Founder and CEO of Next Health, a Los Angeles chain of medical health optimization centers. Not only did I try Next Health's Energy Plus IV Treatment Therapy, I sat down with the doctor himself to talk about the future of health and wellness.
LM: Let's start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company.
DS: I've been a physician since I was 21 years old, with experience in almost every field of medicine and surgery. Next Health is a culmination of my vision to totally change how we think about "health care." It brings the latest technology and advancements in the healthcare space to everyone, in a fun and interactive environment.
LM: Tell me your origin story. Why did you start this company?
DS: I often jokingly refer to myself as a "recovering plastic surgeon." In all seriousness, I started Next Health because I was personally frustrated with what our health care system has become, including our own warped individual perceptions of what "health care" is. During my almost 25 years as a naval doctor, general surgeon, and then as a plastic surgeon, I saw thousands of patients "outsource" their health to the medical system that is disease-focused and reactive.
By "outsource" I mean people take very little time to educate themselves on how to stay in optimal health, and they trust a physician to give them a clean bill of health in a yearly 20-minute visit. We started Next Health to, first and foremost, re-educate the masses on what it means to take control of your own health and to give people a place to participate in the rapidly developing scientific revolution in health and wellness.
LM: You talk about how healthcare and wellness spaces are way overdue for disruption. What exactly do you mean by that, and how do you think it can be accomplished?
DS: Our "health care" system is really not health care; it should be renamed "disease care." Doctors, specialists, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals are all geared toward diagnosis of disease and the treatment of symptoms with a pill or surgery. It is reactive, not proactive. Very little time is spent in the determination of the root cause of what is causing the disease process in the first place.
We spend 90% of our health care dollars in the final three years of our lives, which is a shame. In addition, most of the incredible scientific breakthroughs and advances in health technology being discovered right now are locked away for the management of advanced disease or for the uber-wealthy. I think we are all ready for something better--to spend our time and money on increasing our lifespan, healthspan, and vitality, and to democratize the advances so we can all participate.
LM: What was your inspiration for your aesthetic/branding?
DS: We aspire for Next Health to be on the edge of scientific discovery and wellness philosophy, while also totally changing the public's perception of what "getting a check-up" really means. Our aesthetic needed to be on-trend and forward-looking yet inviting and fun. Doing a deep dive into what our ideals were as a business, and taking into account the personalities of the founders gave us a clear path to our brand image.
LM: What makes Next Health so unique and successful?
DS: I would say there are many things, but mostly the "unexpected." People don't expect to come to a facility like ours, where you can walk in and try the latest technology in health optimization, like cryotherapy or infra-red. They find it unique that they are able to "buy" biomarkers and genetic tests off the shelf. They love our staff, who are passionate about their health and eager to share knowledge with the clients. Most of all, the unexpected feeling of, "This is a place I want to come to every day!" is what ultimately has contributed to our success creating a large, loyal member base.
LM: What is your take on the future of health and wellness?
DS: Hold on to your hats! There are major changes coming rapidly. We are seeing an exponential curve in the rate of scientific discovery in the health and wellness space. We have learned more about our brains, bodies, and longevity in the past five years than in all of human history combined.
As we apply artificial intelligence, machine learning, and new sensor technology to the field of medicine, we will see stem cells, CRISPR DNA editing, 3D organ printing, and cellular regeneration create an environment where we could add decades of healthy living to our lifespans. The trick is to reach that point with as much vitality and youth as possible, because we may be able to "lock in" your current health state for a long, long time. Next Health will be THE place where people can optimize their health and take advantage of the longevity revolution when it comes.
Next Health is living up to its mission to help people look better, feel better and be better.