The Uber Healthcare Model

How about applying the concept that Uber brought to the shared ride service, towards healthcare? Is it possible? Need a doctor, press a button. 24×7. A first responder comes online, listens to your problems, connects you with the right physician for immediate assistance. Read reviews about the physician, commentaries of the service and even post “likes” for your great experiences and to share with friends. Is that going too far?

Imagine

You are not feeling well, it’s 2am (or 2pm), you tap your Medical Hub on your kitchen (bedroom, bathroom) counter, select General Discomfort, a primary care nurse connects via secure video conference and asks you a few questions (they already have your Electronic Health Record). Place your finger into the embedded sensor and look into the screen. Vitals are taken, then nurse comments, thank you, Dr. Fagen will be with you shortly. The doctor reviews your symptoms, vitals and discusses the results, electronically orders your antibiotics, and they are delivered within the hour.

You can be located in rural Montana, Northern Quebec, urban San Diego or Chicago or NYC. It does not matter. You received excellent care, with no wait, at reasonable cost, in the comfort of your home.

Future world? Heck no! The technology is available today. I could have replaced Medical Hub with RxPense®, but I am more interested in changing a mindset, than selling a product right now. Yes, I’m frustrated with administrators and bureaucrats telling me who, how, when, where and how much it’ll cost to get well. Products are relatively easy to manufacture (complex to develop) but changing the regulatory mindset, government bureaucrats and general consensus is way more difficult. How much convincing do the powers at large really need in order to see what is obvious to most patients.

Some states and provinces currently prohibit telehealth consults, they’re completely legal in many others, including California and New York. The Ontario Telemedicine Network is pioneering the effort in Ontario, but there are obstacles within and amongst the other provinces. The number of areas in which they’re prohibited is sure to drop in the coming years, as resistance is eroding and more and more people are recognizing the benefits of telemedicine.

Some analysts are even of the opinion that telemedicine could play a major part in easing many of the health care woes that trouble us today. Those living in remote locations don’t have nearly as much access to medical services as us urbanites. Even in urban centers, it’s difficult, cumbersome and costly to see a physician during normal working hours, let alone after hours. Why should I sit in a clinic or medical waiting room, coughing on and infecting others?

“With advances in non-invasive sensor technologies, growth in availability and adoption of world-wide connectivity (IoT) and the falling costs of real-time and embedded home medical devices, healthcare institutions are now empowered to gain valuable insight into the real-time health of at-risk or chronic patients.”

Telemedicine reduces Emergency Room visits, Hospital admissions, Primary Care utilization, Long Term Care, home admissions, Patient travel costs, Walk-in clinic utilization and Patient Morbidity! Given that doctors can take calls in their off hours, telemedicine also gives them the ability to earn some extra income.

What if you lived in New York but had a virtual exam by a payor –approved, nationally certified physician, who had set aside an hour a day for Telehealth consultations in LA? Sound crazy? I think not. Just let me know what button to press.

What if you lived in Vancouver and needed a physician who spoke French? What if you could access a Quebec-based physician in minutes? That’s something I would like to call Progress! Merci!

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