Heading full-speed into 2018 as a locum tenens physician makes it hard to deny technology’s role in healthcare. While most people agree that technology can make all of our lives better, not all industries respond the same way. Everywhere you look there’s a new app or device changing the way doctors interact and treat patients. If there’s anything we’ve learned so far it’s that convenience and professional medical services go hand-in-hand — or so the uberization of healthcare would have you believe…
“Uberization is a buzzword that found its way into many industries. “Uberization” refers to the on-demand nature of many modern services by way of mobile technology. Just as Uber transformed ride-hailing services with its app, the uberization of healthcare seems to have a similar impact on medical services. But what exactly does this look like?
What is the Uberization of Healthcare?
Currently, the hassle of seeking professional attention for simple or mild medical concerns is still relatively high. When a medical condition doesn’t require an in-person examination to make an accurate diagnosis, technology is available to bridge the gap. This takes the form of things like telemedicine, health monitoring electronics, and startups like HealthTap.
Some companies like Lemonaid Health have streamlined the process even further to provide patients with quick starting points for various conditions. With a two-hour response guarantee and same day online doctor visits for $25, it’s easy to see why the uberization of healthcare is finding its niche. In participating states, patients can download the company’s app for direct access to healthcare professionals. Really, just let that sink in!
Honestly, locum tenens doctors represent a group of professionals that telemedicine is tailored to. For physicians who are already traveling and on a unique schedule, picking up additional work via on-demand healthcare is definitely an option. While there are still many job opportunities available for locum doctors, making a little extra money is pretty attractive this way.
A Disruptive Healthcare Model
In recent years, on-demand healthcare companies have seen huge growth, with over a million people already making use of telemedicine services. Still, there are concerns over whether the “app economy” provides a long-lasting business model for doctors and insurers. At the moment, the uberization of healthcare is targeting younger, healthier people with straightforward medical issues. Branching out into more advanced medical populations is still unfeasible given the development required for these types of services.
Of course, there are many doctors who are still very skeptical of the uberization of healthcare and whether it’s truly a force for good. Although healthcare is almost always in need of a little healthy disruption, there are doubts over the incentives for doctors to provide their best care. Additionally, there is the issue of employers and insurers controlling the value chain of healthcare as a whole.
All in all, it’s important that consumers avoid trading inconvenience for sub-par care or misdiagnoses. One positive upside to the wider reach that mobile healthcare technology can provide is connecting more patients and professionals online. Additionally, rural areas or low-income communities with less access to basic medical care have something to gain as well. While it’s substantially cheaper for patients consulting doctors virtually, the savings were erased once patients visited doctors physically. Otherwise, it was reported that nine out of 10 virtual visits were over health conditions that resolved themselves. In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see how new apps and devices can make telehealth a more viable solution for patients and doctors everywhere.
What are your thoughts on the uberization of healthcare? Do you work as a telemedicine professional in any capacity? Let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments below!