The main reason Apple and Amazon are opening clinics? Healthcare providers aren’t responding to consumerism

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When healthcare providers can’t – and won’t – keep up with every other industry in embracing consumerism, companies are forced to take drastic measures. The old adage, stick to what you do well, is being challenged by Amazon and Apple. To control healthcare costs, the giant corporations are taking matters into their own hands as they establish and operate their own medical clinics for their employees. Companies that have on-premise medical clinics for employees is nothing new or unique. But Apple and Amazon, are actually hiring their own staff to run these clinics.

According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, “Amazon will launch a primary care clinic in the coming months for a small number of employees at its headquarters in Seattle. After considering outsourcing clinic operations and hearing proposals from vendors, Amazon decided to develop the clinics internally and began hiring staff in July.”[1] Not only Amazon, but Apple is creating AC Wellness, “a group of primary health clinics for its employees and their families. In August, Apple had hired more than 40 people to staff the clinics.”[2]

We recently attended Becker’s healthcare conference in Chicago. In a three-day conference, there was only one session that had “consumerism” as part of its title. We attended that session, but not much was discussed about consumerism. And yet consumerism is the single largest thing impacting healthcare right now.

KaufmanHall recently published the results of its Healthcare Consumerism Index.[3] MediRevv, a revenue cycle company, recaps the study’s key findings in an article, Healthcare Consumerism: The Disconnect Between Knowing What Needs to Change and Putting a Strategy in Place to Get There:[4]

Pricing 

According to the survey results pricing pain points are a huge mitigating factor in consumerism. In addition to better financial transparency of how much medical services cost, the bigger question for debate is how much medical services should cost. The survey shows there is a long way to go to deliver better pricing management against the demands of consumers.

Key Findings:

  • Nearly 25% are not pursuing organizational efforts to provide more price transparency for patients and families
  • Less than 50% respond to consumers’ requests for price quotes within a defined time period
  • Only 10% of organizations list prices online.

Mike Peluso, CTO with Rectangle Health, wrote an article about making “healthcare commerce” into a user-friendly experience. He says: “Studies show that nearly 75% of insured consumers are willing to pay up to $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses each year and 25% would be willing to pay bills up to $200 at the point of service if they have been given a good faith estimate in advance of the service. Hospitals must be more focused on satisfying the modern patient by not only providing excellent care, but also by offering efficient and user-friendly payment options.”[5]

People want to shop for their healthcare services. They are willing to pay, even at the time of service. But they want to know how much it’s going to cost. And they can’t get a straight answer! The industry is not responding to consumerism in healthcare. At the conference, we spoke with a medical doctor who also has a J.D. She said her own organization couldn’t give her accurate pricing for her parents.

We are truly mystified as to why this industry refuses to treat people like consumers. The Becker’s conference opened our eyes to the fact that the industry is not waking up. Nothing of substance is being said or done about price transparency and consumerism. Hospitals are suffering financially. Moody’s has said they are on a course that is unsustainable. Many are filing bankruptcy or closing altogether. When you add to that the fact that companies like Amazon and Apple are fed up with out-of-control costs and creating their own clinics, healthcare has a serious, serious situation.

What few solutions are being used today only give estimates. No one shops based upon an estimate. So when people say that patients don’t want to shop for their healthcare, it’s because they don’t have any way to shop. If you don’t know the price until after the fact, you can’t control costs. There is no excuse to keep treating people like this. People vote with their feet and they are creating their own clinics in their workplaces.

The answer is simple: Consumerism in healthcare needs to be the Amazon experience.

A solution exists to give people the Amazon experience in healthcare and it’s ready to be implemented today. HealthQRS provides people a full retail experience in healthcare just like they are used to receiving from Amazon for retail goods. From their smartphones, consumers can search for services and procedures in their network, see true prices – not just estimates – schedule the service, search for discounts, pay for the service or set up payment plans, find transportation, receive appointment alerts, wellness alerts, and even see a doctor via telemedicine. You name it. We offer it.

HealthQRS provides providers with the infrastructure to create an online experience for consumers including accurate pricing (not just estimates). We allow you to easily bundle prices so there’s no surprise billing. We enable telehealth connectivity as well. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network. HealthQRS integrates fully to your EHR and can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions and improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds.

HealthQRS is the perfect vertical application for integrated delivery networks. We provide regulation compliance and serve as a marketing tool for your facilities. In addition, HealthQRS allows you to be compliant with the new CMS transparency rules beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps.

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers. We also have a point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Why not contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo? Embrace consumerism today.

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[1] Alia Paavola, “Here’s why Amazon and Apple are betting on medical clinics,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Sept. 10, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/facilities-management/here-s-why-amazon-and-apple-are-betting-on-medical-clinics.html

[2] Paavola, “Here’s why Amazon and Apple,” https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/facilities-management/here-s-why-amazon-and-apple-are-betting-on-medical-clinics.html

[3] Paul Crnkovich, et al, “2018 State of Consumerism in Healthcare,” 2018, Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, https://www.kaufmanhall.com/sites/default/files/2018-State-of-Consumerism-Healthcare.pdf

[4] Lisa Skriver, “Healthcare Consumerism: The Disconnect Between Knowing What Needs to Change and Putting a Strategy in Place to Get There,” Aug. 24, 2018, MediRevv, https://www.medirevv.com/blog/healthcare-consumerism-the-disconnect-between-knowing-what-needs-to-change-and-putting-a-strategy-in-place-to-get-there

[5] Mike Peluso, “Healthcare Commerce as a User-Friendly Experience,” Rectangle Health, https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/498900/Rectangle_WP_July2018.pdf

 

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