Volume 4 Issue 19, September 12, 2017
Amid the unknown of public healthcare financing, our new healthcare marketplace is rapidly evolving. This transformation is fueled by several interrelated developments:
- Innovation in service models
- The expanded use of technology in clinical delivery and operations
- Increased consumerism and private healthcare spending
- The demand for transparency in healthcare offerings
- The growing desire to preserve time for personal pursuits
We are already experiencing these changes across the healthcare spectrum. Here are five scenarios that are evidence of what is to come:
- Dental impressions at home – Candid, a new startup, utilizes in-home impression kits that allow orthodontists to remotely design clear aligners and send them to users with a treatment plan. The cost is 65% less than traditional braces.
- Amazon subscription healthcare – Amazon-type subscriptions and prescriptions are becoming available for all healthcare needs in addition to other healthcare-related products. Most of these purchases are less expensive and more diverse than what you can find at Walgreen’s or CVS. You can make your impulse buys online, as well. Why shop there anymore?
- The gig economy is embraced – As I wrote recently, home care and residential supports for people with disabilities are increasingly provided by independent contractors and other entrepreneurs outside of the traditional employee model. Apart from cost effectiveness, these new models make it easier to contract with family members and friends, increase flexibility in scheduling, and reduce workforce demands at a time when we have nationwide labor shortages.
- Surgery "to go" – Many surgical procedures are now offered in outpatient clinics or surgical centers, as consumers are clearly stating their preference, while hospitals struggle to adapt. Do you prefer your endoscopy at your local GI clinic (total time = 2 hours including exit session with your physician) or at the university hospital (total time = 5 hours excluding a separately scheduled exit session with a physician)?
- On-demand therapy – Instead of waiting several weeks for a mental health center intake there are numerous organizations that offer live audio/video intake and on-going therapy, as well as asynchronous counseling (e.g. text as it makes sense for you to communicate your health status). You can subscribe monthly for services like these and modify the fee based on your changing needs.
One of the verifying economic signs is that each of the above scenarios are being endorsed by private insurance and, to a lesser degree, public funders like Medicaid and Medicare. Not only are payers listening, they are now reinforcing innovation.