Apple’s Home Pod and High Deductible Health Plans

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What do Apple’s new Home Pod and high-deductible health plans have in common? Consumers, and many of them. In just over two years since Amazon’s speech recognition device, Echo, came on the market, over 8 million people now own one.[1]

High deductible plans aren’t slowing down but are on the rise, signaling they’re here to stay. A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows the percentage of adults aged 18-64 enrolled in an employment-based, high-deductible health plan (HDHP) increased from 26% to almost 40% in 2016.[2] That means that 4 out of 10 people who have employment-based insurance have a plan with an annual deductible of at least $1,300 for individuals and $2,600 for families. And for people who purchase health insurance directly, 51% have HDHPs.[3] This translates to people who are now approaching healthcare with their wallets in mind. Healthcare is the largest market in the U.S., and with HDHPs, it’s now a true consumer market.

Speech Recognition Device Sales Growing

Speech recognition is used every day by millions of people using Amazon’s Alexa via Echo. According to an article in Pocket-Lint, “Alexa will play music, provide information, deliver news and sports scores, tell you the weather, control your smarthome and even allow Prime members to order products they’ve ordered before. She updates through the cloud automatically and learns all the time. The more you use Echo, the more Alexa adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences.”[4]

Apple’s newly unveiled Home Pod offers similar benefits to Echo but with more privacy. Garett Sloane, in an article for Ad Age, reports, “Apple doesn’t have the same demands on its business to commercialize consumer data, and it’s taken a stronger stance against digital tracking. At the Worldwide Developers Conference, where it revealed the Home Pod, it also launched its next-generation operating systems and browsers, and it emphasized the ability to control Web tracking.”[5]

HDHPs + Speech Recognition = Huge E-Commerce Potential

Apple’s Home Pod’s privacy feature provides possibilities for the device to interface with medical partners to offer consumers HIPAA-compliant, voice-activated interaction with providers, hospitals and payers. In fact, much like Prime customers can order items from Amazon just by speaking commands to Alexa, Home Pod users could use Apple’s device to shop for healthcare services and procedures online. Especially if the device was partnered with HealthQRS, who already offers a HIPAA-compliant, online retail medical marketplace for consumers. The Home Pod’s speech recognition feature could integrate with HealthQRS’ platform which also accommodates speech recognition. Of course, Amazon and Google could offer these features as well if they provided the same level of security and privacy promised with Apple’s Home Pod. Amazon has paved the way with e-commerce in its retail business. No reason they couldn’t expand that model to healthcare and be a key player in the largest market in the world.

Complete Continuum of Care

Voice e-commerce for medical services opens up a wide range of possibilities for a complete continuum of care for people with chronic illnesses to those who just need a reminder to exercise. People in post-acute care, or people with physical challenges, or those who just don’t feel comfortable with a keyboard could all benefit from voice-activated access to healthcare services.

The greatest behavioral change agent is the consumer’s wallet. If almost half of people with insurance are subject to large out-of-pocket medical expenses, you better believe they want the ability to shop for lower prices and discounts. HealthQRS’ Retail Medical Marketplace allows consumers to shop for medical services and procedures right from the computer screen, smartphone or tablet. Consumers can book procedures, see how much they have in their FSAs or HSAs, choose how much to pay upfront, and then create a payment plan.

Limitless Possibilities

Imagine the possibilities for Apple, Amazon or Google if they choose to partner with HealthQRS to provide consumers private, HIPAA-compliant voice commands in healthcare shopping. HealthQRS’ uniquely disruptive technology is ready. We’ve built a platform that anyone can use to create an online medical marketplace. For instance, Apple, Amazon or Google could use HealthQRS’ system to open up a voice-activated medical marketplace for their customers and literally create the largest online medical market in the world.

HealthQRS’ innovative, cutting edge technology combines metrics from provider contract rates with payers, insurance verification, patient financial responsibility, payer claims adjudication logic, and in a millisecond, calculates the patient’s exact out-of-pocket expense. No one else is doing this. Our e-commerce strategy facilitates an online healthcare experience for consumers with shopping, scheduling and paying for procedures and services. People can find healthcare providers, services and procedures via smartphones, tablets or computers. Our powerful algorithms calculate the exact, true amount, not just estimates, that they will owe. We have over 12 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for consumers and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We can have providers, payers or facilities set up in a matter of weeks at the point-of-service and online. And because we are a software as a service (SaaS), our customers don’t incur any capital expenses, only a low monthly fee.

HealthQRS has perfected the art of shopping online for healthcare and has created a truly disruptive technology that allows the healthcare industry to be revolutionized into the consumer market. Give us a few minutes and we can help you disrupt the healthcare market like never before. Click here for a quick, 6-minute video about our e-commerce strategy or contact us for more information or schedule a demo.

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[1] Taylor Soper, “More than 8M people own an Amazon Echo as customer awareness increases ‘dramatically,’” GeekWire, Jan. 25, 2017, https://www.geekwire.com/2017/8-million-people-amazon-echo-customer-awareness-increases-dramatically/

[2] Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D. and Emily P. Zammitti, M.P.H., “High-deductible Health Plans and Financial Barriers to Medical Care: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2016,  National Center for Health Statistics, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/ERHDHP_Access_0617.pdf

[3] Ibid.

[4] Britta O’Boyle, “Amazon Echo: What can Alexa do and what services are compatible?” Pocket-Lint, Dec. 26, 2016, http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/138846-amazon-echo-what-can-alexa-do-and-what-services-are-compatible

[5] Garett Sloane, “Apple Will Market the Siri Home Pod as a Less-Creepy Alternative,” Ad Age, June 7, 2017, http://adage.com/article/digital/apple-market-siri-home-pod-creepy-rivals/309307/

 

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