Ari Bernstein, MD, Thought Leader on the Future of Telemedicine in a Covid-19 Era

Ari Bernstein, MD, Board certified physician, best-selling author and investor in telehealth companies Fruit Street Health & CovidMD, shares how COVID-19 is opening new doors for telemedicine. “COVID 19 broke down many barriers we have faced over the last five years, in a matter of two months.” – Ari Bernstein MD.

The current climate is uncertain and not without hardship, fortunately, Dr. Bernstein is no stranger to breaking barriers to success. He was raised by a single mother and while other children were in sports camps, Dr. Bernstein pursued science camps during the summer at Cold Spring Laboratory on Long Island New York. He eventually went on to participate in a research internship during college and eventually obtain a medical degree followed by a residency in internal medicine from New York Presbyterian Queens. Long, grueling shifts and stress led to a debilitating back injury that left Dr. Bernstein unable to work for five years. 

Uncertain if he’d ever be able to walk or work again, Dr. Bernstein devoted his time to his family, personal development, and co-authoring a best-selling book with Jack Canfield, “Success Formula”. 

After five years of surgeries, rehab, and personal growth, Ari emerged a near medical miracle. He regained his ability to walk normal but those uncertain years had given him a gift of equal value: a revelation. 

For so many, leaving the home to seek medical care is costly and inefficient. On the same thread, many talented doctors have gifts that are isolated and hindered by timely in person patient visits. 

Ari’s personal experience motivated him to invest in Fruit Street Health, the first telehealth virtual company devoted to Diabetes prevention. Innovative software and highly trained dieticians bring all the knowledge to the comfort of patient’s homes. Fruit Street Health patients can take pictures of food with their smartphone, track steps and activity, monitor blood pressure and weight all while receiving customized care and feedback, entirely online. 

As of 2020, approximately 70% of the country is overweight. Obesity is a root cause of many other health complications including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and strokes. These health issues cost healthcare and insurance companies millions of dollars each year, but even more importantly, cost thousands of Americans their lives. 

The solution to this growing issue is prevention. Prevention is the future of medicine. The model of healthcare in America is entirely skewed, rather than focusing on preventing illness and disease, most solutions are reactionary. Telemedicine and telehealth seek to change that, making the doctor to patient interaction more convenient and accessible for both parties which will contribute to the prevention of many chronic diseases.

Telehealth is a cutting-edge solution, however, insurance companies balked at paying for virtual care, preferring their customers to be seen in person. That is, until a world-wide pandemic made many in person interactions virtually impossible. 

“COVID 19 broke down many barriers we have faced over the last five years, in a matter of two months.” – Ari Bernstein MD.

Adjusting the mentality of an entire nation will not be easy, but greater emphasis on telehealth is a step in the right direction. In many cases, especially now, telehealth is both safer and more cost effective than a standard trip to an urgent care office or the emergency room. While there are, and always will be, cases that must be treated in person, many minor cases simply clog up ER waiting rooms and take the attention of doctors and nurses away from more critical patients. 

The COVID -19 outbreak in New York City in early March, brought awareness of the need for telehealth to the public.  In a matter of days, many hospitals were running out of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Dr. Bernstein sought out N95 masks, which were selling for hundreds of dollars on Ebay, as a means of protecting himself and the nurses he worked with. 

The founder of Fruit Street, Laurence Girard, made the critical and timely decision to form CovidMD, a telehealth company focused on responding to the pandemic. Dr. Ari Bernstein made a further investment to support this endeavor.  

Dr. Bernstein recognizes that our nation’s road to recovery and adjusting to a new normal will not be without its challenges. Although, this is one vision that he is ready and willing to see through to fruition.

Dr. Bernstein reiterates that the key to success is simply perseverance. “Never give up.” He has instilled this same mentality in his young son, while assisting coach his baseball team. Dr. Bernstein saw another opportunity when the founder of Fruit Street launched a new professional soccer team, New Amsterdam FC and decided to invest into the vision. What began as an investment opportunity for him, has turned into much more, as he hopes to help generate the next generation of great American soccer players while also serving the community. As we enter into a new era of health care, it is clear that things will be changing. Ari, however, looks forward optimistically to the future and the youth of America who will embrace telemedicine, pursue innovation and, hopefully, win the 2026 Fifa World Cup.

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Company Name: Fruit Street Health / CovidMD
Contact Person: Ari Bernstein MD
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Country: United States