Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health 2.0 and Healthcare: Innovative Ideas

Of all the areas of business that I have dealt with during my career the issue of healthcare has been one I keep returning to over and over again.  As an employer and someone who has worked with insurance carriers and healthcare providers I have to admit that the amount of innovation that is occurring in the area of the internet and healthcare is rather disappointing; but I do realize that this is easily explained by the fact that our healthcare system is a dysfunctional system.

Now we are beginning to see an interest on the part of technology start ups and VC firms to fund innovation to improve, or at least simplify healthcare from a variety of fronts.  Here are a few very interesting and promising products:


Simplee helps with medical bills by tracking medical expenses, managing health care costs, helping you pay medical bills, and finding the right medical plans and medical services for the consumer and their family.  While the focus has been on the ever increasing cost of health insurance, with premiums that have doubled in the last decade, we have not noticed that consumers are paying an additional 15% for the services that they use, even with insurance!  This "nickle and diming" costs the consumer an additional $3,000 a year on average and these additional costs and fees have increased by 50% in the last 4 years alone!

Health Tap is a program that allows one to gain accurate, timely, and personalized information so that consumers can begin to make better evidence-based healthcare decisions for themselves and their family.

ZocDoc is basically a service that allows you to find doctors in your local area and book appointments on line.

This new development is focused primarily on serving healthcare professions but allowing for the sharing of medical records on the internet.  I think it is innovative in the fact that it will allow medical practices to spend more time with patients, ensure that records are up to date and improve communications.  

This is the one innovation that I hope succeeds because it benefits both the employer and the employee.  Employers and health plans can now lower the cost of providing health care benefits, while offering employees and plan members a consumer-friendly way to get the most for their out of pocket costs.  From their website:

Castlight Health offers companies the following opportunities:
*   Reduce health care costs—guaranteed—so savings can be applied to other programs or                                                          to the bottom line
*  Successfully implement innovative benefit designs, including Consumer-Directed Health Plans, Reference-Based Pricing, and shared savings models
*  Make smart health care shoppers out of employees and plan members—empowering them to get the most for each dollar spent
Then, you can also review this slide show and note that their are some new applications where you can use your cellphone to monitor your blood pressure, check to see if a spot on your skin is cancer, or to remind you to take your medications!

While I have no experience with any of these programs and or products I do like to see that innovation is beginning to enter healthcare and hopefully eventually lead to empowering consumers, employers, and health care professionals!


Carl said...

More on Castlight:

Carl said...