Reaching More People Through Telemedicine: An Interview With Dr. Laura Purdy, MD

by | Nov 14, 2022 | Issue 159, Issues | 0 comments

"It's all about the relationships for me," Dr. Laura Purdy said. "That's relationships with business owners, other doctors, peers, colleagues, innovators, nurse practitioners and RNs and, of course, patients." ...

“It’s all about the relationships for me,” Dr. Laura Purdy said. “That’s relationships with business owners, other doctors, peers, colleagues, innovators, nurse practitioners and RNs and, of course, patients.” 

Dr. Laura Purdy, MD, is a board-certified, family medicine physician based in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is licensed in 48 states, enabling her to practice telemedicine effectively across the country. For 14 years of her medical career, Dr. Purdy served as a physician in the U.S. Army, where she discovered the value of telemedicine. In civilian medicine, she is working to educate medical professionals and patients alike about the growth and benefits of telemedicine. 

To that end, Dr. Purdy has founded several businesses and has been featured on major networks and other high-profile media as a thought leader in digital healthcare. Driven by a strong desire to help as many people as possible, she strives to establish high-quality, advanced telehealth systems and bring much-needed services to those who otherwise fall through the medical cracks. 


Diverting the Spotlight 

Dr. Purdy has a personal philosophy of selflessness. 

“I’ve never sought to do anything for myself at the expense of another person. I would rather sacrifice myself if it meant somebody else gets to succeed,” she explained.


Facing the Music

Dr. Purdy’s original career path goal was to be a pianist. 

“I was a childhood prodigy. I accompanied orchestras, choirs, musicals, soloists, ensembles, weddings, churches and more,” she shared.

She was most comfortable in her supporting role — she didn’t like having all eyes on her. But an unfortunate incident in her teen years during which a show was stolen from her soured her love of a music career. It contradicted her personal philosophy. 

“I said, ‘I quit. I’m out. I will fail in this industry because I’m not like that. If this is what it’s like, I don’t want to be part of it,'” Dr. Purdy explained.


Embracing Medicine

“My dad said one day, ‘Why don’t you go be a nurse?’ It sounded great, so I agreed,” she shared.

Dr. Purdy began shadowing other nurses and discovered it wasn’t for her. She wanted to be in a position to make significant decisions for the good of caring for people. So, she decided to become a doctor.


Joining and Learning in the U.S. Army

“Just so you know, I’m not paying for your grad school,” Dr. Purdy’s dad told her. 

“Well, I wasn’t going to pay for it, either, because that’s not a good business decision. I’ve always been a businesswoman,” she replied.

Dr. Purdy turned to military service as an opportunity to have medical school paid for while she contributed to the war that, in 2006, was just a few years old. 

“In the military, I’d get to do something meaningful and not have to worry about institutions, health systems and health insurance influencing my practice of medicine. Instead, I was going to learn how to be a doctor,” she explained.

It was while she was serving as a doctor in the military that she discovered the value of telemedicine. 

“In the military, people deploy. In my unit, twice a year, the medics deployed in groups all across the continent of Africa. And so I learned that telemedicine was both capable and necessary,” she said.

In line with her philosophy of helping as many as possible, telemedicine became a way to function effectively in a resource-strapped environment. 

“We had to figure out how to take what we had at our disposal and use that to do the best, be the most efficient and deliver the most healthcare to the most people in the most efficient way. The military taught me that. Every day, I mentally give credit to what I learned in the Army,” Dr. Purdy explained.


Telemedicine’s Extended Reach

Telemedicine is a great way to support your goal of putting others’ well-being at the forefront. It casts a wider net to serve those who either don’t have primary care facilities nearby or cannot access them. 


The COVID-19 Revolution

“We were put in a position where we needed a rapid adoption of digital health,” Dr. Purdy said.

Before, both patients and doctors were skeptical. Telemedicine was much needed, but it was hard to do. The silver lining in the dark COVID-19 cloud provided the entire industry with a period of rapid refinement and growth in people’s trust. They were willing to give it a try out of necessity.

“Governments were willing to change their laws,” Dr. Purdy explained. “It reestablished the way we define doctor-patient relationships and the legal practice of medicine. It revolutionized the industry. My vision of establishing advanced telehealth systems across the country was becoming a reality.”


New Expectations

Just like many banking services are now conveniently done online, patients are now expecting certain medical services to be provided the same way. 

“Trips to the doctor’s office or emergency room will be reserved for actual life and death situations, while primary care will be managed outside the institution. Technology will develop systems and tools for more and more remote medical care,” Dr. Purdy shared.

This approach will give patients more and better access to quality care and allow doctors more flexibility and options in their patient interactions.


A Promising Future

“This is real medicine, the same thing you get at the clinic,” Dr. Purdy said. “But it’s not a substitute for the primary care physician. There are still tests and procedures that must be done in person.”

But it is a wonderful tool for the physician to use. And Dr. Purdy has fully immersed herself in it as a physician and businesswoman. 

“I love the digital healthcare business — working with startups, growing businesses, guiding them, teaching best practices and how to be successful,” she explained. 


TopDoc Clinics

“I came upon TopDoc Clinics through a referral who knew that I enjoy the business of medicine and helping startups,” Dr. Purdy said.

TopDoc Clinics needed somebody to be in charge of their professional corporation and to oversee the medical activities. She accepted.

“We have two locations — Miami and Redondo Beach, California. The teamwork is incredible. We’re doing real good for people in the communities. We’re connecting with local doctors and patients and providing needed services. It’s a joy and an honor to work with Top Doc,” she shared.

It’s the relationships that keep Dr. Purdy going. 

“It’s putting good into the world that motivates me. It’s the most fun, exciting thing I could imagine,” she concluded.

TopDoc Clinics and telemedicine fit Dr. Purdy’s philosophy quite well!

Gaye Newton

Gaye Newton