Dr. Schwimmer is a nephrologist and internist practicing in the Upper East Side. He’s exactly the kind of specialist Sherpaa loves to work with. He’s got a remarkable personality, a highly analytical mind, a mission to make healthcare better, and he’s far more tech savvy than us.
What’s your favorite thing about being a doctor?
Helping people solve complicated problems and keeping them healthy is genuinely satisfying. Most people feel like they don’t really understand what the kidneys do — they’re the brains of the blood, the balancers of multiple other body systems. So in my work, I help people with different issues like kidney stones, high blood pressure, and even serious problems that require hospitalization like kidney failure. Making people feel in control and at peace during difficult times is my favorite thing about being a doctor.
What makes NYC special to you?
I grew up in Brooklyn, and I’ve spent most of my life in NYC. I’m a big fan of public transportation — I love being able to get to dramatically different places with a short subway or bus ride. Most of my close friends and family are here, and no place feels like home the way NYC does.
Besides being a doctor, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy spending time with my lovely wife (a nurse practitioner and midwife), our six-year-old daughter, and our French bulldog. Other hobbies include photography and bare-soled running. Lately, I’ve also been trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee with a refractometer and an AeroPress.
Tell us about your decision to become a doctor.
Before going to medical school, I thought about becoming a doctor very carefully. Growing up, I was able to work with many types of physicians, such as pediatricians, neurosurgeons, and emergency doctors, and I developed a deep appreciation for what it’s like to care for people who are very healthy and very sick. Working as a nephrologist and general internal medicine doctor allows me to do exactly that. I spend about half my time in the office and half my time in the hospital. Last week, I cared for people ages 22 − 101. I honestly feel like being a physician is how I can do the greatest good in the world.
We all know healthcare is broken. What is it about Sherpaa that makes you feel like you’re part of the solution?
I’m an advocate of using patient-friendly technology to improve healthcare. For example, I’ve been an enthusiastic user of patient-physician email for years, and I believe it should be free, secure, and universal. Jay Parkinson and I were part of the first wave of medical bloggers, and we both share an appreciation for well-designed systems that make healthcare more friendly, efficient, and easier for everyone.