I just had about an hour conversation with Judy Boros from the I L O Institute about the future of healthcare. Such a difficult question to answer – What is the future of healthcare? What will healthcare look like in 5 to 10 years?
Well, it’ll look much the same. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Of course, the rich I’m speaking of are the specialists. The poor are the five minority primary care voices on the RUC fighting a losing battle against the 24 other specialty physicians that sit on this 29-member committee that decides reimbursement for the country ensuring that skewing reimbursement towards expensive procedures and “doing more” will continue.
Unless doctors are incentivized to adopt technology, communicate with their patients, be accessible, and care about healthcare costs, absolutely nothing will change. It’s a dismal future we’re facing.
I have no hope in the industry to change anything. Hillary tried to change things in 1993 and got crucified. Now she’s one of them and her mandated health insurance policies are a pathetic handout to the industry that created this behemoth, unsustainable, bankrupt, “16.3% of our economy is run on scrawly-handwritten notes,” quagmiring hairball we call healthcare in America. Considering the next administration stays in power for 8 years, in 9 years the expected national healthcare expenses will encompass something like 30% of our GDP. And CNN said the housing crisis is currently the public’s number one issue?
Of course, healthcare in America is the best healthcare someone else can buy.
I put all my hope in the cash-paying consumer. Once they figure things out – once they’re given the opportunity to see that healthcare can be delivered like Whole Foods sells food and Apple sells iPhones; once they finally understand that they are being raped by doctors, hospitals, and labs when they have to pay cash for healthcare; once they see that there are doctors that will treat their medical problems and communicate with them like they communicate with every other profession in America; and once they are informed consumers responsible for paying a significant portion of their healthcare expenses out of their own pocket because their doctors are armed with cost information at the point of care – THAT’s what will drive change.
And it will start with hellohealth in Williamsburg.
When I launched my practice, the media was all over it. I was even invited to be on the Colbert Report on November 12th. The Today Show, Oprah, CNN, the NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News – they all contacted me but decided to wait to see how this plays out. Since opening my practice on September 24, 2007, my website has gotten over 7 million unique hits. I’m just a doctor in Brooklyn who uses the internet to communicate and makes house calls. Interesting eh? When we launch hellohealth, the media will be even more all over it.
Do you think there are consumers wanting service at a reasonable cost? Do you think that consumers are fed up with a healthcare system that continues to expect them to pay more and more for longer and longer wait times?
I sure as hell do. Absolutely everyone can buy a 39 cent stamp nowadays (or whatever it costs today) but FedEx sure delivers on the consumer experience and has done quite well for themselves. And FedEx has forced the US Postal Service to attempt to compete (of course they’ve failed fairly miserably) – which is what I expect this backwards healthcare system to also do in response to hellohealth.
CNN again called me up yesterday “because Sanjay wanted to know and we thought you’d be the best person to ask” if there were any websites available to consumers that measured an individual physician’s quality.
Geez….of course not Sanjay.