New York, NY – The general perception is that the healthcare industry has lagged behind with innovations using technology and service design. In reality, there are many initiatives in place that don’t come to the surface until you’re ready to notice them. For instance, it’s only recently that I sat on the NYC Subway and saw information about both Capsule and NYC Well. These two New York City-centric initiatives (launched at the end of 2016) not only challenge the way we interact with patients, they are also an inspiration of all that we have yet to achieve. More recently we’ve seen initiatives with power players like Lyft and Uber – transcending the realm of transportation and partnering with doctors and specialists to help patients get the support they need. But it begs us to ask the question – how can we leverage the learnings from these initiatives and apply them to other aspects of care?
So…What’s in it for Patients?
Capsule CEO Eric Kinariwala co-founded the company as a reaction to a broken consumer experience. He saw it as an opportunity to change the game: Often times patients have long waits, they have to rifle through dense leaflets and 4 out of 10 people have to deal with an out of stock prescription. The solution: First, they rebuilt the fulfillment system creating things like predictive inventory management and smart refills. Second, they put patient service first by connecting virtually with your doctor and delivering medications to you when and where it’s convenient to you. Third, they know that medication management is key, so they offer adherence reports to help doctors keep tabs on lapses in treatment. It’s a holistic reimagining of the pharmacy utilizing digital channels and new technology to better service prescription drug patients and their doctors.
With one in five people struggling with mental illness in New York, NYC Well was the brainchild of NYC First Lady Shirley McCray, who made the culture around mental health a top priority for New Yorkers. But New York has had similar outlets in the form of hotlines and more since the mid 90s. So, what’s different? McCray and her team identified gaps in city resources and the lack of services and sustained care options. They also identified a key trend: Tele-mental health and tele-medicine is becoming more and more popular, focusing on meeting patients where they are. Through NYC Well, patients can call, text or chat to reach a counselor and talk about the issues they are facing (in over 200 languages!). Furthermore, counselors can help find in-network therapists, following up with patients after their sessions. And it’s working – since the program’s inception, over 170,000 New Yorkers have participated. Among those callers, 13% of calls prevented the potential for self-harm or violence to others.
Lastly, the Uber and Lyft healthcare partnerships present an exciting new opportunity. Not only can healthcare providers call a ride for a patient, but this service can also cover the billing aspect. For instance, missed (no-show) appointment rates are as high as 30%, costing healthcare providers hundreds of billions of dollars a year.. Utilizing rideshare services can potentially yield positive results: patients make it to their appointments, high ambulance costs are averted, and healthcare providers save a significant amount of money. All of this occurs within the provider’s existing technological systems Moreover, 80% of patients cite improved satisfaction due to the ridesharing initiatives.
Why This Matters
Patients are increasingly demanding care on their terms, on their schedules, and on their turf. It’s easy to say that the onus is on the various providers to facilitate a better method of interaction. However, these specialized offerings from various aspects of business and society showcase the need to create tools and opportunities that both patients and providers can leverage for their own benefit. By using tools, the provider can focus more on the care aspect for the patient, while the patient is able to access treatment in a way that keeps them at ease. In fact, in many ways, we could argue that tools like this are a necessity so that all stakeholders can spend more time on the interactions that truly matter, all the while creating cost and time efficiencies that could drastically improve the state of healthcare in this country.