Does Apple Realize Money – Not Wellness – Motivates Consumers?
Acquisition by acquisition, talent by talent, Apple is putting together a team of companies and professionals signaling its intent to enter the healthcare market in a big way. “From its leap into healthcare in 2014 with its HealthKit application programming interface in September 2014 to the June 19 revelation of Apple’s work with the tiny start-up Health Gorilla, Apple has made a series of moves in healthcare that clearly indicate the company has plans for the space that will somehow manifest on its mega-popular iPhone and iPad products,” reports Bill Siwicki for Healthcare IT News.
The HealthKit and other apps used by Apple allow consumers to monitor things like vital signs and sleep patterns. And adding an electronic health record company to its mix will certainly expand Apple’s access to data for 83 million patients if it acquires Athenahealth. But Apple is missing what will profoundly move the needle in healthcare: an application that affects the consumer wallet.
As Apple prepares to go big or go home in healthcare, we suggest they pull another company into their mix of winners: HealthQRS. HealthQRS has the e-commerce solution that will allow Apple to combine its consumer-focus with a retail medical platform to create a true consumer model to help consumers use their iPhones, iPads or Macs to shop, schedule and pay for healthcare services and procedures and know exactly what the out-of-pocket will be before they buy.
Understanding the motivation of consumers – and giving them what they want – will make the difference in whether Apple makes a dent in healthcare or transforms it completely. Because people think – and act – with their wallets.
Money – not wellness – motivates consumers
The Employee Benefit Research Institute/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey of 2013 examined availability and participation in three types of wellness programs: a health-risk assessment, a health promotion program that included a number of different types of benefits, and a biometric screening. The survey found when people participated it was due to positive reasons, but that 70% of respondents said they did not participate because they felt like they could make changes on their own. When asked what might increase participation, respondents said they would probably participate if they were offered a $250 cash incentive. 
In an article in Psychology Today about what motivates people to make healthy choices, author Christopher Bergland concludes that positive reinforcement works best and that “The ‘carrot’ is usually a better motivator than the ‘stick.’  Bergland also reports that “Unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to the majority of deaths in the United States,” citing a study by Matthew Reeves, a Michigan State University epidemiologist, that “found that only 3% of Americans maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Apparently, there aren’t enough carrots out there that matter. And the effects of bad dietary choices and little to no exercise often don’t show up until after decades of abuse. Unfortunately, when the results do show up, it’s because we have chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes. Fitness prompts and wellness programs offered by insurance companies haven’t made a dent in chronic illness and the healthcare financial debacle. A few obvious reasons center around people relying on health insurance or the government to pick up the tab. Or because getting a reward in six months for walking today doesn’t offer an immediate win. And we Americans really like instant gratification, so the fact that we can smoke cigarettes for years before getting cancer leads to people still lighting up. Yet, we’ll show up for big financial savings at furniture store sales or car lots to save $1,000. Big discounts get our attention because money is a big motivator.
The wallet is the greatest behavioral change agent in healthcare
For years, many insured Americans have enjoyed carte blanche for their healthcare needs. Insurance companies paid the majority of the bill with consumers paying small copays for office visits. Many policies offered 100% coverage for procedures after a small deductible was met. This setup allowed people to push the responsibility for their health onto doctors and insurance companies. As deductibles have grown and people feel the pain in their wallets, they are realizing that there really is no healthcare Santa Claus. This, in turn, is causing people to think twice about their diet and fitness as well as which medical procedures they need and which ones can wait.
E-commerce solution affects the wallet
If the wallet can manifest change in healthcare, then we need to give people a way to shop for discounts and lower prices. And that way is through the e-commerce solution from HealthQRS. Because HealthQRS’ e-commerce solution impacts the consumer’s out-of-pocket expense and ultimately how much money stays in the wallet.
Apple is entering the healthcare market and they’re poised to impact it in a huge way if they take a few necessary steps to address financial ramifications for consumers. If Apple pulls e-commerce into the mix they’ll have a complete package to tackle wellness to chronic illness and everything in between, with interoperability between providers and providers and providers and patients. An e-commerce solution from HealthQRS will pull it all together and Apple will be a key player in the largest consumer market in the world.
HealthQRS provides the missing link
HealthQRS ties it all together with our innovative, cutting edge technology. Our platform 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 can help you establish an e-commerce retail solution that will attract consumers and grow your market share. We can install retail solutions in your “storefronts,” i.e., your hospitals, clinics and practices, that allow your office teams to tell consumers exactly what they owe. You can provide automated alerts to patients for necessary preventive services they need as well as how much they will cost, and they can schedule and pay for those services right from the alert. They can even use Apple Pay to pay! These cutting-edge features are popular with employers and can serve as a marketing tool for your organization, helping you to expand your reach and become the “go to” facility for healthcare.
You may not be Apple, but it’s time to disrupt the status quo and utilize both an e-commerce and storefront retail solution for your consumers. Why not contact us right now for more information or click here to schedule a demo? We invite you to learn more about HealthQRS’ solutions. Click here for a quick, 6-minute video about our e-commerce strategy.
 Bill Siwicki, “Timeline: How Apple is piecing together its secret healthcare plan,” Healthcare IT News, June 23, 2017, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/timeline-how-apple-piecing-together-its-secret-healthcare-plan
 Christina Farr, “Apple should buy Athenahealth to expand in health care: Citigroup,” CNBC.com, June 15, 2017, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/15/apple-should-buy-athenahealth-to-expand-in-health-care-citigroup.html
 “What Motivates Wellness Program Participation,” The Employee Benefit Research Institute, Fast Facts, Jan. 9, 2014, https://www.ebri.org/pdf/ff.263.wellness.9jan14.pdf
 Christopher Bergland, “What Motivates People to Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices?” Psychology Today, Jan. 30, 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201501/what-motivates-people-make-healthier-lifestyle-choices