When it comes to doling out health advice, Henry DePhillips, MD, FAAFP, doesn't just talk the talk ... he actually walks the walk.
As chief medical officer at Teladoc, the world's largest telehealth provider, DePhillips does more than talk about the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle. On any given day, the family physician can be found cycling the Natchez Trace or exploring his Leiper's Fork farm on horse or dirt bike with his family.
On the Move
"Fitness has always been in my fabric," said DePhillips, who has called Nashville home for more than eight years.
The Chicago native grew up in New England, where he participated in a number of activities including cross country and crew. He received his Bachelor's of Science from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and his Doctorate of Medicine at Philadelphia's Hahnemann University School of Medicine (now Drexel University).
DePhillips completed his family medicine residency at the Medical Center of Delaware and spent several years in private practice before joining the corporate arena, serving in leadership roles for a number of healthcare companies. In 2013 he joined Dallas-based Teladoc, where he oversees quality of the clinical program, including credentialing, quality assurance and maintenance of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
All in the Family
Throughout his journey, DePhillips has continued to find new ways to stay active. "Once you make the commitment to get and stay in shape, its amazing how much your energy level, concentration and quality of sleep will improve," he said.
Henry DePhillips, MD
Today, the father of four finds motivation to stay fit in his children. "Dirt biking allows us to spend time as a family, to see the countryside on trails and through woods and mountains," DePhillips said. "To be able to ride with them, you've got to be in physically good shape."
He has also discovered a passion for motorcycling and now participates in a local bike club. "I learned motorcycling was very physically demanding, from the full leather suit to learning to slide around turns. You become one with the bike," said DePhillips, who also hits the pavement on his road bike for a 25-mile ride several times a week.
On other days, he can be found power walking his dogs through the hills of Williamson County or on the lake with his family. In fact, the adrenaline junkie is halfway through his goal of hitting every lake in Tennessee. "I grew up water skiing with the wind in my face," he said. "The outdoors has always had a huge appeal for me."
Find What Works
Working from his home office (a converted birthing stall in his horse barn), DePhillips considers his move to the Franklin countryside a "lifestyle decision influenced by divine intervention." But despite his love for all things outdoors, DePhillips also maintains a heavy travel schedule, which makes hotel fitness centers a necessary ... though less ideal ... part of his fitness routine.
"When you speak publicly about healthcare, you have to be in good shape yourself, and you have to stay in good shape to continue to be productive," he said. To that end, the frequent flyer always packs workout clothes and maintains a predictable routine while on the road: a 15-minute stretching and strengthening program followed by an equipment-based wind sprint program.
"Within an hour, I can get a workout in, grab a shower and have a suit on, and you can fit that into almost any given day by sacrificing just a little bit of time," he said. "The key to working out is making the conscious decision that you're going to stay physically fit and making a commitment to do that four to six times a week."
DePhillips continued, "There will be days when you don't feel like it, or you don't have time, or you have to make a choice between watching the Titans game and bike riding. The first step is to decide."
He added the second step is finding activities you enjoy, and identifying those you don't. After years of knee-jarring track and cross country meets in his youth, DePhillips now avoids long distance running but finds plenty of other creative ways to keep moving. "If you decide to work out, do something you like," he counseled.
A Career with Meaning
DePhillips believes the same philosophy applies to a person's career choice. "If you're going to work, do something you enjoy," said the CMO, whose passion for telemedicine helps him stay professionally and personally motivated. DePhillips, whose experience includes the use of informatics to influence personal and clinical decision-making, finds his current role blends his skills in HIT, healthcare consulting and clinical practice.
"The notion of telemedicine is creating access to healthcare for people who don't otherwise have access and making it convenient on their terms," he said. "Research outcomes on cost effectiveness also shows it saves the system so much money and allows people to keep up with their health. It's unbelievably gratifying."