Categorized | Publisher's Letter

Still a mess but innovators to the rescue

Few things can frustrate business owners more than the topic of healthcare insurance.

We have had nearly 200 years to figure this out in some capacity and it seems like we are no closer to a solution than we were pre-ACA. Our old system was broken and our new system is broken.

It’s such a complex problem; I don’t pretend to have the answers. It’s against my nature to point out problems without offering solutions, but I’m at a loss. I fear even the smartest and most influential in America have no better answers. It’s simply a mess.

What I do know is that business opportunities can be had when fundamental changes happen that re-route how billions of dollars flow within an industry. So, let me introduce you to a term, “telemedicine.”

HealthSpotTelehealthMgr with Video Visit copy (3)The term isn’t new. In fact the roots of telemedicine can be traced back to the 1950’s. Times are different now though.

Consumers who are increasingly more comfortable with technology appreciate the convenience. We are not just talking about diagnosing from a telephone.

Innovative provider companies are using wearable sensors and video-conferencing to deliver high quality care. How high quality? That is perhaps up for debate, but considering most doctor visits are for relatively minor conditions and simply require a script, this emerging industry provides an intriguing value proposition.

Major players are starting to take notice. Insurance companies and hospitals are playing along and large employers are leveraging this new solution.

I heard a Crowley executive talking recently about this new kiosk in the breakroom that she described as a virtual doc-in-a-box. I thought it was interesting and had to take a look myself.

Katy Keene, manager of employee programs at Crowley proudly showed me the new kiosk. William Manzie, telemedicine manager for Miami Children’s’ Hospital was in town and gave me a demonstration by video conferencing his colleague back in Miami. “Co-pays are only $10,” he said. I left thinking that the combination of technology, cost, convenience, and the employer benefit of minimizing employee downtime all sounded like a winning combination.

Healthspot, an Ohio company was the partner that brought this kiosk to Crowley and also the ones that fostered the relationship between the hospital and insurance companies. Kudos to them for spotting a business opportunity in a turbulent industry. Let’s hope this may be a part of the overall solution to our rising healthcare costs in the United States.

brian headshotUntil next time,

Brian Barquilla


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