How Telemedicine Companies are Changing the Industry
December 4, 2015
First Stop Health
Uber has transformed transportation by lowering costs and elevating convenience to a new level –– and telemedicine is doing the same thing to healthcare. In both industries, the traditional delivery model has been completely disrupted. Uber connects the driver and the consumer directly in an incredibly efficient way, taking out the middle man of taxi companies. In healthcare, telemedicine creates convenience and transparency where none has existed before.
But what seemed like an impossible task––to make highly-regulated industries accessible and affordable again––is an opportunity for these two services to emerge as the new normal. They both create a space for affordability around things that appear impervious. And they put the money and time they save back into the hands of consumers.
You can order an Uber from anywhere with the click of a button. And now, with telemedicine, you can get a medical diagnosis and treatment/prescription without ever leaving your home or office. Both put control back into the hands of riders and patients, allowing them to choose the option that is the most convenient and affordable.
(Almost) Immediate Service
Innovative technology allows both Uber and telemedicine companies to produce faster results than their original formats. Ordering an Uber happens in real-time as you watch the available cars loop around the blocks on your app’s map. You can literally see where your potential driver is and when you can expect to be picked up.
With telemedicine companies, you avoid spending hours in an emergency room or urgent care waiting room or days to see your primary care physician. Instead, First Stop Health’s average amount of time to speak to a doctor is less than 5 minutes. This near-immediate service changes the way we see and use healthcare. With the shortage of physicians in the U.S. continuing to grow, wait times will only get longer as waiting rooms become more crowded and available doctors become more scarce.
Telemedicine aims to change a complicated and hard-to-navigate healthcare system. With so many layers to the traditional healthcare structure, patients worry about paying for and understanding their coverage more than healing the illness or injury they’re suffering from. Healthcare, as a whole, is an intimidating system in which costs are not only impossible to determine prior to treatment, but out-of-pocket costs continue to rise every single year.
But both Uber and telemedicine focus on streamlining the interaction between the customer and the service. They connect the providers directly with the customer, making the person the focus of the experience. While traditional healthcare revolves around regulations, high costs, and increasing pressure on physicians to see patients faster and in greater numbers, telemedicine centers around the patient.
Both Uber and telemedicine companies accomplish what their costly predecessors did, but in a way that impresses and delights the user. When you order an Uber, you get from point A to point B just as you would have if you hailed a taxi. And when you call your telemedicine provider, you receive a diagnosis and treatment, including a prescription when necessary, just like if you saw a doctor in person. But the technology that drives both solutions makes the destination, or the result, faster and more cost-effective.
Connecting with service at our fingertips has made these simple, no-cash-exchanged services possible. As a telemedicine customer, you owe nothing out-of-pocket, except your medication costs if you are given a prescription. And with both telemedicine and Uber, the whole transaction happens electronically. You can forget your wallet at home and still get the service you need.
The Uberization of healthcare is doing great things for both employers and employees: It puts the power of convenience back in patients' hands by eliminating many of the barriers of getting treatment without delays. Truly disruptive innovations that can upend heavily regulated and entrenched industries are not brought to market very often. In the case of both Uber and telemedicine, the change is only just beginning.