Providers Lag as Healthcare Consumers Set Agenda
Most healthcare providers and systems are not providing these types of options. They will say the reason they don't provide them is because patients don't want them. It's a chicken-and-egg thing. How do you know if a patient doesn't want them if they have never tried them before and they don't know what they are?
HLM: We've been hearing about the transformation of healthcare for years. What is different this time?
CW: The risk is being shifted to the consumer. I am on a high-deductible health plan at work, which means I bear the first $5,600 of risk. So, when my wife called and said 'the doctor says I need an MRI,' I said 'I don't think so. Let's ask the doctor four questions and see what happens.' She asks the doctor:
- 'Do you know how much the MRI costs?'
He says 'no I don't but I will find out.' It was $2,400 dollars.
- 'Doctor, if you get the MRI image will you change your care for me?'
He said 'No it's not going to change anything at all.'
- 'Doctor, do you know I'm on a high-deductible health plan?'
'I had no idea at all.'
- 'Doctor, do I still need the MRI?'
'No you don't.'
I wouldn't ask those four questions if I didn't have a high-deductible health plan. That is an important change. You change the risk and you start changing the way the risk is managed.
The other thing is that we do now have technologies that we can use for these things. The virtual care where you can take a picture with your smartphone, send it to the doctor, he can look at it and give you an opinion. In a couple of minutes you can resolve a problem that would have with the old model taken a couple of weeks.
And you have people that want to experience things in healthcare like they experience everywhere else. When I buy something from an online retailer they know me and they provide recommendations to me and I never have to input the same information twice.
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