Uber-izing Diagnostic Imaging Continued

Oct 15, 2017

As I was saying, if it were that easy or evident, we would obviously have done it. Not so easy counters, Richard Thaler, the latest Nobel prize winner for Behavioral Economics, in this prescient New York Times article from 2013, Overcoming Obstacles to Better Health Care. He argues for “a fee for health rather than fee for service model” and that getting the most out of imaging technology needs guidelines and a holistic approach. We are seeing the beginnings of this with value based healthcare and the development of the Clinical Diagnosis Support guidelines.

As for healthcare providers, there is plenty of waste in the system that can be reduced with on-demand services. This recent article caught my eye, One-third of MRI exam time is wasted. Imagine the possible savings moving from a one size fits all fixed scan time to a patient or clinical condition based schedule which adapts during the day. However are hospitals willing to risk patient satisfaction with long wait times when we expect our Uber ride to show up in a matter of minutes?

A possible solution could be improving the patient experience from scheduling to diagnosis with better information sharing. Patients would be willing to share more information when they know it will help reduce costs and improve outcomes. With smart devices a patient could be provided better information and more services in the comfort of their home, all the way to the hospital and back.

The pace of technology is becoming more pervasive with cheaper access like free public WiFi and smart personal devices that cost a few tens of dollars. While building these services we need to be sensitive to the needs and affordability for the most vulnerable sections of society. As this is healthcare and not just a cab hailing service, the gains can be truly transformational if we get it right. Imagine a future where diagnosis is timely, reliable and accessible to many many more people around the world – now that would be truly Uber-ized healthcare.

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