Getting Closer to an Uber-ized Healthcare?
By Marc Edwards, B.Sc. , PMP, Content Analyticss, bpms, MBA
You may recall that a while ago, I talked about Uber and how its business model could someday impact healthcare (here, here, and here). While it was fairly clear that something along this path would eventually occur, it was hard to determine exactly when (if it hadn’t happened already) and what exactly this new business model would look like. While we might not be there yet, I believe we are now much closer.
A colleague of mine, Jennifer LeDrew, introduced a new website to me called Maple that now allows anyone within the province of Ontario, Canada, to receive full, 24-hour, 7 days a week, medical consultation within the comfortable confines of their own home, or anywhere else for that matter. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:
- Once you have registered with the site and selected a pricing structure, you can go and request a consultation.
- You will then be quickly assigned to a doctor.
- Depending upon your ailment, you’ll get an assessment, diagnosis, sick note, and/or prescription within minutes.
Think of the potential benefits; no more hours spent in the emergency ward waiting to see a doctor, no more wrangling of sick children for a late-night visit to the hospital – all you have to do is connect to Maple and speak to a doctor even if your child is still in bed! An added bonus is that everyone you’ll consult with is a trained medical doctor. I think the appeal of this service is pretty obvious and I would be surprised if this is already happening elsewhere in the world. Anyone know of any examples?
Now, you may be from another industry, like government or manufacturing, or you might be from a different part of healthcare, like home care, and you’re wondering, “This is all very nice, but what does this have to do with me and the industry that I’m in?” Well, think of this; in the future, as your clients’ use of technology becomes more sophisticated, will they expect your organization and the services you provide to be available anywhere and anytime? Think about it, if they can already order products, food, travel, lodging, and entertainment online in real time, why can’t they do the same for medical consultation as well? Besides, what if you decide to not pursue this digital transformation but your competitor does? Do you want to be left behind?
That being said, I can still picture some of you shaking your heads while reading this and saying, “But there is a physical aspect to the services I provide to my client that can’t be done through a computer screen!” Most definitely, I agree! But couldn’t portions of your services, especially the more routine ones, be placed within this new business model and then tailored to the individual client? It is also possible to use this enhanced service as a revenue generator by establishing a subscription model similar to the one used by Maple.
This wasn’t what I was initially thinking of when I was referring to an “Uber-ized healthcare”, but it could have just as much impact as an Uber-ized healthcare all the same. Also, it would be interesting to see how artificial intelligence will affect this model; so instead of speaking with real people, users would interact with a “medically trained and knowledgeable” algorithm. Who knows?
In conclusion, I think that this is another clear example of how digital transformation is driving industries into areas that they weren’t seriously considering before. For me, what is also striking is how quickly things are changing and how important it is to be able to adapt to this change. That’s why I’m so excited we at Rextead Consulting are deep into digital transformation and continue to look forward to help organizations take advantage of technologies to deliver true innovation, something that the people behind Maple have already started to do.
What do you think of Maple and their attempt to tear down the barriers between the health provider and patient? Would you use something like this for yourself or your family?