I read an interview with Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth Inc. He has written a book entitled ‘Where does it hurt? An entrepreneur’s guide to fixing health care’ where he sees the need for systems-changing innovations in health care.
Today, we go to the doctor and take the medications that they tell us to take. We have the surgeries that they tell us to have using the doctors that they tell us to use and go to the hospital that they tell us to go to.
They see us as ‘the sick’ who need to be provided services to heal us, cure us or just make us feel better.
His company and a few others look at us as consumers who are trying to manage their own health and wellness. Personally, I know that I have changed my approach to get more involved in managing my own healthcare.
The processes in place for today’s healthcare will have to change to accommodate this new approach.
He suggests that ‘a primary care provider needs to be enabled as a broker who helps the customer look at his or her health as a portfolio to be managed and find the products and services that they need.’
A number of years ago, my primary physician recommended that I go for a total hip replacement. He selected a doctor covered by my medical insurance. If I had followed his instructions, that doctor would have performed the surgery at this facility. Since it was my hip, I found a contact within that hospital and asked who they would have perform the surgery. I contacted that person – he and I discussed the various options [ceramic, titanium, chrome plated cobalt steel]. This resulted in a successful surgery. It might have been successful with the first doctor, but I felt more at ease with my choice.
If I approached this like a consumer, the process would have been different. I would have shopped for the doctor. I would have shopped for a hospital. I would have shopped for the hip replacement [I chose chrome plated cobalt steel and there were several manufacturers.] The process would have been entirely different.
I am not saying that this will be the new process, I am saying that the process will change and it will change greatly. It looks like a good place to innovate.