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Are Startups Shaping the Future of Healthcare?

Research shows that the United States pays $9,237 on healthcare per person, making it the highest healthcare spender out of the 184 countries in the study.  In 2013, the US healthcare spending came out to be in the $2.7 trillions, which meant, during that time, it covered almost one-fifth of the nation’s GDP.

From these figures, it is easy to see that we have a serious healthcare crisis on our hands: how do we cut costs in the healthcare industry as a whole while still providing a quality level of care to patients?  Startups are taking a crack at this dilemma. Read on to learn how they are paving ways in the healthcare industry, and whether healthcare startups help or hinder.

 Startup Makes It Easy for Patients to Connect with Providers  As  reported by Inc ., startup, Zocdoc, helps patients connect with in-network providers via their practice management software.  Patients simply have to go to the site and fill out their condition, procedure, or doctor’s name, location, and insurance plan. (Patients can also read reviews, fill out forms, and book appointments online on their laptops or via smartphone in the comforts of their home.)  This not only  helps providers  gain new patients but patients are able to save on healthcare costs by seeking care in house versus paying extra for an out-of-pocket provider.  Healthcare is Moving to Tech  Zocdoc is not the only startup that allows mobile access to care. In fact, according to Inc., since Obamacare, we are seeing a shifting trend in the health industry, where healthcare organizations are looking to mobile health technology to cut their costs

Startup Makes It Easy for Patients to Connect with Providers

As reported by Inc., startup, Zocdoc, helps patients connect with in-network providers via their practice management software.  Patients simply have to go to the site and fill out their condition, procedure, or doctor’s name, location, and insurance plan. (Patients can also read reviews, fill out forms, and book appointments online on their laptops or via smartphone in the comforts of their home.)  This not only helps providers gain new patients but patients are able to save on healthcare costs by seeking care in house versus paying extra for an out-of-pocket provider.

Healthcare is Moving to Tech

Zocdoc is not the only startup that allows mobile access to care. In fact, according to Inc., since Obamacare, we are seeing a shifting trend in the health industry, where healthcare organizations are looking to mobile health technology to cut their costs

 As Inc. notes, this shift is largely because Obamacare strays from the traditional healthcare model, where providers and facilities earned more when they treated more patients.  Instead, the new government healthcare system is value-based, where the focus is not on more patient treatment but providing treatment that will prevent patients from making unnecessary visits.  Because of this shift, we are seeing startups fill the cost gap by inventing apps that make it easy for patients to fill out health forms, learn about their illness, take proactive steps at managing their health, etc.  Nonetheless, in the upcoming years, we may see a shift back to the traditional healthcare model. Whether this affects healthcare mobile technology continues is uncertain.  Health Startups Should Not Be Treated Like Other Startups  While health startups still strive for similar goals as startups in other industries—providing fast-access and user-friendly service—they are not one in the same.  As  reported by Forbes , it is unwise to clump healthcare startups with other startups such as Uber, and it largely boils down to what consumers want from these two types of services.  With Uber, consumers are looking for a cost-effective way to take them to their destination. Healthcare, on the other hand, is diagnosis, treatment, caregiver, and disease focused.  According to a survey Forbes mentions, price does not even rank in the top  four care dimensions . (Actually, rapid diagnosis and treatment is the biggest priority, with high professional standards, caring caregivers, and clear and tailored disease information coming in second, third, and fourth.) What this shows is that your typical healthcare startup is not your typical startup.    Final Thoughts  Are startups shaping the future of healthcare? To an extent. Startups provide technology that makes it easier for patients to access the right providers, get the treatment they need, and cut down on costs along the way.  However, health in itself always starts and ends with the efficiency, training, and knowledge of the provider and the facility the patient is in. Startups assist with that. Do you agree?  Leave a comment.   

As Inc. notes, this shift is largely because Obamacare strays from the traditional healthcare model, where providers and facilities earned more when they treated more patients.  Instead, the new government healthcare system is value-based, where the focus is not on more patient treatment but providing treatment that will prevent patients from making unnecessary visits.  Because of this shift, we are seeing startups fill the cost gap by inventing apps that make it easy for patients to fill out health forms, learn about their illness, take proactive steps at managing their health, etc.  Nonetheless, in the upcoming years, we may see a shift back to the traditional healthcare model. Whether this affects healthcare mobile technology continues is uncertain.

Health Startups Should Not Be Treated Like Other Startups

While health startups still strive for similar goals as startups in other industries—providing fast-access and user-friendly service—they are not one in the same.  As reported by Forbes, it is unwise to clump healthcare startups with other startups such as Uber, and it largely boils down to what consumers want from these two types of services.  With Uber, consumers are looking for a cost-effective way to take them to their destination. Healthcare, on the other hand, is diagnosis, treatment, caregiver, and disease focused.  According to a survey Forbes mentions, price does not even rank in the top four care dimensions. (Actually, rapid diagnosis and treatment is the biggest priority, with high professional standards, caring caregivers, and clear and tailored disease information coming in second, third, and fourth.) What this shows is that your typical healthcare startup is not your typical startup.  

Final Thoughts

Are startups shaping the future of healthcare? To an extent. Startups provide technology that makes it easier for patients to access the right providers, get the treatment they need, and cut down on costs along the way.  However, health in itself always starts and ends with the efficiency, training, and knowledge of the provider and the facility the patient is in. Startups assist with that. Do you agree?

Leave a comment.