Copy of Zinkel, Drew2011

Dr. Drew Zinkel, MD, MBA 

ER physician at Regions Hospital, Medical Director for virtuwell and Health Plan Associate Medical Director for Quality at HealthPartners.

While it’s true that Dr. Zinkel is busy, the photos of his beautiful family all around his office show us that his priorities are aligned for a healthy balance. His eyes light up when he talks about his wife and three children, and as a dedicated leader at HealthPartners, he is in many ways a light to healthcare, the emergency room and the future of virtuwell.

We were able to ask him a few questions about #meded, the future of care teams and more!

You were recently honored by the Minnesota Business Journal’s 40 under 40. What do you attribute your success to?

Mentorship. I think that has been a big part of my career. It’s key to have the right mentors help you through the process and help you with your future goals.

How do you see quality and patient safety integrating into #meded?

Quality positions that never existed before are available. Part of the issue is that because patient safety is new to the curricula a lot of the faculty haven’t been educated that well unless it has been their passion to learn more about it. I helped create a fellowship in patient safety and that’s allowed me to mentor others in that area, which has been great.

What are your thoughts on leadership for physicians or in general in health care?

I don’t think leadership is for everybody. If it doesn’t fit with your personality it doesn’t make your career better; I think for some it makes their career worse if they are forced into a role and don’t want to do it. I think anyone that’s teaching residents has to enjoy leadership because that is your role.

In regards to broader leadership roles, you have to want to do it and you have to want to educate yourself to improve.

What can you say about advanced practice clinicians and education in the future?

At virtuwell most of our clinicians are nurse practitioners. If you’re leading a type of clinician that you haven’t trained or don’t typically train it makes me think about how can we integrate education throughout different positions. For example, in certain areas PAs, NPs and residents are doing the same things. Why is there not more integration in those areas if that the case?

And again with virtuwell, how do we educate on telemedicine? I only see consumers and members wanting this more. You can upload a picture quickly online at 3 a.m. and be treated without leaving the house.

Do you have any advice?

  1. Do what you are interested in. If I didn’t enjoy working in my three roles, I would stop doing it.
  2. Always look for ways to improve what you’re doing.


Leave a Reply