Job Title: President, HealthPointe Medical Centres
Why He’s Top 40: For trying to bring new ideas on bone- and muscle-injury rehabilitation to the healthcare system.
What Do You Like Most About Edmonton?: “The city’s mentality is excellence while maintaining a down-to-earth feel. It is an inviting city.”
It’s fitting that Dr. Dhiren Naidu asks to do his Top 40 Under 40 interview at Clare Drake Arena. That way, he can multi-task, answering questions about his life while watching two of his six children, eight and 10 years of age, take part in a hockey camp.
Sport, family, teamwork: These are all important aspects of Naidu’s personal and professional life.
Naidu and Dr. Jamie Irvine founded HealthPointe Medical in 2007 in an effort to make care more patient-friendly. And to do that, they built a team of medical doctors, therapists and nurses to help a patient address his or her needs under one roof. The clinic addresses rehab issues, ranging from chronic pain to spinal pain, along with sport medicine and arthritis-related issues.
“In our public system, you go to the doctor, and then you’re told to go see a therapist or to go see a different specialist,” says Naidu. “And then your doctor doesn’t know who you are seeing or what treatment you are getting.”
And, the patient often has to take many days off work for a series of appointments.
But, the team approach – advocated by Naidu – sees patients in the chronic pain and concussions program commit only two to three hours for a HealthPointe visit, where he or she will see several different doctors, nurses and therapists, all in a row. That means treatments begin earlier, and patients aren’t often left waiting months for referrals.
“I don’t have all the answers, but I have some ideas on how to make the system better,” says Naidu. “There should be more of a customer-service component to health care.”
Naidu is also the team doctor for both the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. He’s an associate professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, where he also monitors the health of the varsity teams.
For the past seven years, Naidu has worked on a University of Alberta research team that looks at concussions in sports. He’s presented his work on international and national stages. The team’s findings on head injuries have been presented at conferences to helmet manufacturers, Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the National Hockey League.
But what Naidu says is that 90 per cent of concussions get better very quickly. “Just don’t take another hit until the concussion is better.”
And, if that schedule doesn’t seem busy enough, Naidu has six children, between the ages of one and 10. Even at home, he doesn’t get away from the idea of being part of a “team.”