Tim Cook wants Apple to be more consumer-friendly in the healthcare market

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Apple made headlines as CEO Tim Cook recently announced at the shareholder’s meeting the company’s intent to enter the healthcare market and take “a more consumer-friendly approach.” The company plans to bring medical records to iPhones. Kudos to Apple. Streamlining patient records and making them more accessible could help break down communication barriers and, in the long run, save money. It will certainly help providers.

If Apple is going for a more consumer-friendly approach, though, we encourage the company to focus on what consumers want. People are financially strapped to pay for healthcare expenses and are very stressed. High deductible health plans have forced people to take health into their own hands and act more like consumers than patients. They put off treatment because they either don’t have the money or can’t get a straight answer to this simple question: How much is this going to cost me?

Recent statistics show that people care more about money than health records:

  • 60% of Americans are significantly stressed out about their healthcare[1]
  • 61% of Americans have no money saved for their healthcare expenses[2]
  • 64% say they have avoided or delayed medical care in the last year due to expected costs[3]
  • 34 percent of households had a major unexpected expense over the past year[4]
  • 39% of households could cover a $1,000 blow with savings[5]

CNBC touches on the consumerism trend and Apple’s true opportunity when it states:

“The $3 trillion health sector represents such an enticing opportunity for health care players, as it’s considered behind the curve when it comes to technology. There’s also a growing trend of consumerization in health care, with Americans increasingly paying out of pocket for their health care rather than relying on employers or the federal government to pick up the tab.”[6]

If Apple’s quest is to make healthcare more consumer-centric, we suggest starting with a retail strategy. What could be more consumer-friendly than helping people keep more money in their wallets?

A simple-to-use, yet complete e-commerce medical marketplace is the tool to help people save money on healthcare. The ideal solution is a platform that gives consumers the ability to comparison shop with lists of actual out-of-pocket expenses, select the highest quality services for the lowest price possible, and to finish the transaction while they are in the application, unlike the solutions that only offer estimates or appointments.

HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce medical marketplace platform on the market. We essentially created the “Amazon platform” for healthcare, and our solution can be used for virtually any healthcare model including hospitals, clinics, post-acute care providers, outpatient surgery centers, behavioral health and freestanding imaging centers. Our solution also can be used by employers and their employees to help lower or manage their healthcare costs. We are available as a Software as a Service (SaaS), so there is no capital investment, only a low monthly fee.

Our retail strategy helps navigate – and connect – patients to the lowest cost/highest quality health services in their networks. It’s extremely easy to use. Think of it like a Priceline or Expedia for healthcare, where a user simply types in the procedure or service he or she needs, and a list appears on the screen complete with exact out-of-pocket costs.

Our built-in navigation can direct consumers to telehealth services as well. In addition, our software is enabled for voice recognition. So, a person could say, “Hey Siri, help me book an office visit with my cardiologist.” Or, “Hey Siri, how much would it cost me to get an MRI?” And our system would direct them to what they need.

HealthQRS’ solution could allow Apple to provide a true retail experience for consumers – even the employees of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan – and help kill Warren Buffet’s tapeworm. We have over 12 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. Our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer provides more information. Click here to download the flyer. We invite you to contact us right now for more information or click here to schedule a demo.

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[1] “Stress in America: Uncertainty about Healthcare,” American Psychological Association, Jan. 24, 2018, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/uncertainty-health-care.pdf

[2] “New CarePayment Research Shows Americans Can’t Afford Their Medical Bills,” Feb. 14, 2018,

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180214006069/en/New-CarePayment-Research-Shows-Americans-Can%E2%80%99t-Afford

[3] Ibid.

[4] Taylor Tepper, “Most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $1K emergency,” Bankrate, Jan. 18, 2018, https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-0118/

[5] Ibid.

[6] Christina Farr and Paayel Zaveri, “Apple CEO: We can make a ‘significant contribution’ in health care,” CNBC, Feb. 13, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/13/apple-ceo-tim-cook-can-make-significant-contribution-in-health-care.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain

 

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