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Monday, October 07, 2013

Is it time for Subscription Based Healthcare?

I'm going to start with stating the obvious. This is the digital age, where pretty soon, everything is going to be controlled by either your cell phone or more recently your smartwatch.



The services industry is going gaga over providing the best service to you right where you are, mostly through the use of these digital devices.

All you have to do is subscribe to a service.

You can get food delivered to you at any point of the day / night. You can get updates on news, views, rants, campaigns, cricket matches, football scores or even the colour of the month! You could get a phone company servicing you either online, virtually, or even in person at your home on demand. Banks lure you into internet banking and send people over when you want to open an account. Basically, everything is at hand, where and when you need it. Almost everything. 

Healthcare is being left behind, and I intend to correct this. Why can't we have a subscription based healthcare delivery system. Sections of the industry are heading this way already. You can get your blood tests done at the comfort of your own home at any time. You can order in prescriptions if you know your chemist well enough. You can now even get emergency care at home with services like Topsline and others like healthspring.

What you can't get is an appointment when you want with your preferred doctor.


I propose a subscription based Doctor Patient relationship wherein you basically subscribe to a particular Doctor for his consultation services annually. You agree on a particular fee, and pay the Doctor in question, for which, he provides you free consultations and priority appointments for the said period.


This works at an advantage for both the patient and the doctor. 

The patient knows he has someone he can go to almost anytime for an opinion or just to clarify doubts, without waiting endlessly in a queue. He also has the comfort of emailing, whatsapping, messaging, videoconferencing etc etc with the Doctor without the Doctor feeling shortchanged for offering his opinion for free.
 
The Doctor, knows, he has a reliable patient who wouldn't go elsewhere (it's a fear all doctors have, trust me), the number of no-shows would decrease, and even if you are a no-show it causes no harm as nothing is lost in terms of time, patient space etc. The doctor is also assured of a continuous stream of information towards your health and can be in a better position to diagnose you!

The possibilities are limitless. The economics brilliantly simple and cost effective to both. The only factor going against this would be time and commitment. I really think this can work. I have a lot more thoughts about this, but I don't want someone stealing my idea just yet. What would you look for if you were to opt for such a service and how much do you think would be a fair annual subscription amount? Please do leave a comment and let me know your views.


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