I’m a polarizing figure.

Kevin, MD linked to the WSJ post today and said “An interview with Jay Parkinson is always polarizing.”  

I find this fascinating.  There are three typographic groups of commenters that always show up in every high profile post:

  1. Curmudgeon doctors (The Boomers).   They’ve lived through the glory days of fee-for-service medicine and enjoyed the $400,000 salaries they made “back in the day” as a primary care doctor.  Now, as their career is winding down, they’re working harder and harder just to make ends meet.  They’re demoralized and they feel the system doesn’t value them like the good ‘ol days.  They criticize me often times both professionally and personally.  Typical comments are “this will never work” or “nothing replaces a physical exam” or “this guy is just some dumb kid who doesn’t know a damn thing about practicing real medicine” or “people won’t pay for healthcare!" 
  2. Young or progressive middle age doctors.  They immediately get it and are looking for a way out of the current state of medicine.  They feel slighted by a system that hasn’t given them the personal and professional satisfaction they thought they’d have as attendings.  They feel stuck.  They want to feel valued.  They’re used to their patients not valuing their service but they want their patients to value their service.  Unfortunately, they can’t really provide service because they’re so financially pinched.  They’re working like dogs for someone else’s profits.  They want to simply do their job better.  They want to make their own money.  They can’t figure out a way to differentiate themselves and take the financial risk of going into business for themselves.
  3. Consumers.  They immediately get it because they’re sick of 4 hour waits for 5 minute ineffectual doctor visits.  They’re used to Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Whole Foods.  They’re used to service and that very special consumer experience.  They’re used to spending their own hard earned money on valuable products and services that are all enveloped by that nice consumer experience found in other industries.  They’re getting fed up with spending a hell of a lot of money on healthcare insurance (or not, because it’s simply so expensive they don’t see the value in it) and paying hundreds of dollars per month for an appointment 52 days from now and then a four hour wait for a five minute doctor visit.  They’re the ones who "won’t pay for healthcare” because they feel like they shouldn’t.  Why would I pay for an appointment 52 days from now, a four hour wait, and a five minute doctor visit?  They’re simply savvy consumers.  But there aren’t any other options for them.  Primary care doctors are getting rarer and waits are getting longer and longer.  Consumers are much smarter than doctors from Group 1 think.  This group says things like “thank you” and “it’s about time” and “if I lived in Brooklyn, I’d sign up immediately” and “this is going to up the quality of our care and empower us as individuals to make the right choices about or health” and “I was the "50 year old” mother of four, health care informations systems consultant who spoke to you after your presentation. I can only say–Finally someone is getting it!!“

I challenge any one of you to look through the comments from these blog posts and find me a comment from a consumer that hates what Hello Health does.

This is why Hello Health will be a huge success – we answer consumer demand.  The right doctors (from Group 2) will fill the demands of Group 3 (typical consumers) if they are given the opportunity to fill this demand and make their own money doing so.

To quote the Barbarians…"It’s gonna be awesome.”