Healthcare has long been known as a service only those with insurance can truly access and reap a benefit from. Those without insurance cannot access care in the same manner, are potentially afraid to access emergent care because of the risk of incurring large bills or put off necessary preventative care leading to negative health outcomes. There exists a shroud of mystery around healthcare billing and coding which further exacerbates the confusion and frustration with the system.
What if we started treating healthcare like a consumable product? Wouldn’t you love to visit your health provider and know exactly what the cost of a service was, what you’d receive from that service and not receive anything that you didn’t want? What if you had the access to concierge care without the monthly fees? What if you could access any provider that you wanted without worrying if they were “in network”? A system like this could truly change how healthcare was consumed on a large scale effectively reducing healthcare costs in the process. The benefit of a system like this is the development of an entrepreneurial network of clinicians that could provide care independently, enhancing access to the patients of our communities.
Hospitals are masked as non-profit entities but have become money making behemoths over the years. Profit margins of 9-10% were achieved with exorbitant amounts of money placed into specialty programs that offer benefit to a very few select patients. Surgeries have become the backbone of a hospital’s finances with efforts placed on recovery through surgery and away from health prevention and promotion activities. We as a society have fed into this mentality through a need for instantaneous change and an aversion to longer term efforts that produce slow, but effective, incremental change.
To see the change we want in our health system, there must be a demand for transparency, an intolerance with the status quo and a strong desire for something new. Conducting traditional healthcare models through new technologies is not change. Change is creating a new system that actually results in better health not just for a specific few but for everyone.