Healthcare in the Design World

The consensus seems to be that we must move towards a simplification of our health care processes. Today, at PSFK, I noticed that there were two companies discussing the future of healthcare in the "well designed" world. One company, Help Remedies is taking the mystery and "upsell" or flare out of medicine packaging. This seems like a great idea, simplifying the medicine, bring it to pure, austere levels. The pitch was to look at Tylenol rapid release, and the packaging. How much "upsell" there is the package itself, like the Nascar sponsorship (making it feel like they are all about the SPEED, rapid release).

Another idea pitched was that for Hello health seeks to mediate the doctor process, and SIMPLIFY it through the web. By providing online consultation sessions health care becomes more accessible. They are creating an online forum for rating and reviewing doctors, and providing an advanced interface. But, is this really this case? At $200/hr they have a business model in place (sourcing doctors all over the world, vetting them eventually through community ratings, and capturing the profit), but it doesn't help the less fortunate. Those who have the access to computers and the internet (in its ubiquity) but are miles away from being able to spend so much on a short term consultation does not improve the process.

Also, for those who are lucky enough to have health care, I assume are not willing to absorb this cost. They want to pass the cost on to their insurance agency (as would I). This is a fixable issue, once the case is persuaded to the agencies.

The bigger issue with hellohealth is, are we seriously ready to let go of the need of the touch of the doctor. The real interaction, in person, provides me with a better feeling of security that my ailments have been properly evaluated, instead me trying to type it in and send it to a doc via email or video chat.


jayparkinsonmd said...

Hi there...thanks for the comment.
One very important point that wasn't made fully clear in the talk today is that Hello Health is about enhancing and augmenting in person doctor-patient relationships with good online communication. The first visit via Hello Health is always in person with your doctor.
Also, no single entity can be created to solve all of health care's problems. We're doing our part to at least solve the issue of access to a doctor for those who can either pay cash or have to pay cash for health care (the 50 million uninsured and other 50 million underinsured)...having health insurance doesn't mean you have access to a high quality doctor. We're trying to solve the access problem for a large portion of our population.
The deal is this...Facebook started with the kids who immediately got it. Then 5 years later, your parents are friending you. Hopefully in 5 years, our parents and those less fortunate will be friending our Hello Health doctors and having an in person relationship augmented by good online communication.

Nat Findlay said...

Hi -- I was fascinated by your post on hello health.Hello Health helps doctors enhance their relationship with their patients.There are lots of problems with the healthcare system . Hello health can't solve all of them. But it does solve the issue of access for many who to chose to use it.Hello Health is very affordable, relieves the "mainframe for medicine" the hospital ER from dealing with health issues that have it overloaded.
Your opinion that the use of technology and associated business model of hello health does not improve the process is frankly imature and warrants you to do better research.

Nat Findlay
CEO hello health

Jinal Shah said...

You raise some good points. I was at the panel too and was disappoint that some of the larger issues were not raised. I get the idea of simplifying medicine, but at what cost?
There is a reason why there is so much competition in the marketplace for a simple paracetamol.
Help has a great idea but they did not address their business plan or their pricing at all. Design cannot be a differentiator unless you are playing on a level field.

I wrote about it here,

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