Like many doctors, M. Samir Qamar, MD ‘00, is the go-to person when family members and friends want a quick fix for their ails. One such time many years ago when his sister phoned him complaining of a bad cough, he remembers saying, “I wish I could listen to your lungs.”
An innovator in the then new and fast-growing telemedicine approach to mainstream American medicine, Dr. Qamar was frustrated with the one glitch in treating patients remotely – he couldn’t listen to heartbeats, look into their eyes, get vitals, and feel their embodied symptoms and pain.
That’s when the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate had an epiphany. The answer was at his fingertips (literally): smartphones and computers. He asked his sister to place the bottom of her cell phone against her bare upper chest and take a few breaths – voila, he could hear her lung sounds.
Enter the birth of MedWandTM, one of a myriad of creations that has earned the Las Vegas family physician the title of serial entrepreneur in health care and technology circles. The handheld MedWand helps to advance telemedicine by allowing clinicians to remotely obtain real-time vitals, access heart and lungs, look into ears and throats, obtain EKGs, and monitor chronic conditions during video visits.
During the last two decades after completing his residency training at Penn Medicine - Lancaster General Hospital in Pennsylvania, Dr. Qamar has leveraged his frontline medical experience to create tech devices and clinical practice innovations that deliver patient-centered and comprehensive care to patients of all ages and at all stages of health.
Before MedWand, where he currently serves as co-founder and CMO, he founded MedLion in 2009 to provide low-cost subscription-based, high-quality primary care through a network of direct primary-care practices nationwide. In 2018 before the pandemic, MedLion converted to a completely internet-based virtual primary care model. Prior to MedLion, Dr. Qamar began a concierge medical practice in California, where for many years he also served as the official house doctor for the famed Pebble Beach Resorts.
His forward-thinking innovations have been featured in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
Qamar considers himself blessed fulfilling a childhood dream to become a doctor. He’s the classmate whose yearbook dubbed him “Physician” under his senior photo. He enrolled at RUSM from Italy where he met his wife Hisana Qamar, MD. Today they run a successful Las Vegas medical practice together, in addition to their projects that expand primary care access to underserved people around the globe.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon to a United Nations diplomat, Dr. Qamar and his family moved to cities and countries across the globe including Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Indonesia, Italy, and England. As expats, they received quality medical care, which inspired him to want to deliver similar care to all his patients and their families.
“I never wanted to be confined in a place where you could only see patients for seven minutes because of insurance,” he said. “I like to eliminate the middleman. Now, sometimes I’ll spend an hour listening to a patient’s story in the examination room.”
Dr. Qamar likes his patients to think of him as their partner in health and strives to establish relationships with patients and their families to help guide them through their life and health challenges with care that is based on lifestyle and unique needs.
Donning his signature bow tie, Dr. Qamar speaks French, Italian, and Hindi in addition to his English. “Dr. Q” as his patients call him, is a frequent keynote at medical and technology events worldwide. Recently, he shared wisdom he’s gained with medical students at RUSM’s White Coat Ceremony.
His message for med students: “By going to medical school, you have the opportunity to improve humanity and have a wonderful life at the same time.”
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