The average patient has anywhere from two to 10 health apps to manage their healthcare and access information. The typical patient’s healthcare interaction can involve data intake points and systems that include: a health plan portal to make sure their care is covered by their health insurance, a website to search for covered providers and find their office phone number, making a phone call and hoping for available appointments, filling out paperwork with information that should be stored electronically, and the list goes on.
This complicated rigmarole for accessing care is untenable. Healthcare consumers experience user-friendly and seamless interactions in other industries and have raised their expectations for similar ease-of-use in their healthcare. To meet that demand, healthcare organizations will need to adopt a platform-centric model, simplifying the current patchwork of point solutions into a single digital space that integrates into the myriad of functions needed. In other words, it’s time for health systems and payers to embrace “platformization.”
In an ideal scenario, all these actions happen in a single, multifunctional platform that houses all the necessary information and communication tools to navigate the complicated healthcare ecosystem. This platform technology is a “super app” for healthcare, like WeChat, Amazon, Google and many more. The concept isn’t new for most technology veterans, and consumers are already familiar with its use case across other industries and disciplines. Bringing the super app/platform model to healthcare is the next step to elevating the patient experience. In addition to making care more convenient, platformizing healthcare changes the healthcare consumer’s experience in three ways:
Enables greater access to providers and care
Through the health platform, healthcare consumers are more in control of their care. They have an accurate dashboard that tells them how much of their deductibles they’ve used that year, an exhaustive list of benefits their insurance provides, a tally on their FSA and HSA spend, as well as a marketplace of FSA-approved products to shop in. Most importantly, in the same platform, patients can quickly schedule appointments with their existing providers, and easily find new in-network providers when needed. In between their regularly scheduled visits, they have direct communication channels with their providers and pharmacists to ask questions and seek support for treatment adherence, as needed.
Promotes a holistic approach
Providers can map out what we call “the patient journey” in the healthcare platform – taking every interaction between a patient and their care providers and documenting them in one place. Currently, when a patient makes a one-time stop at an urgent care or somewhere for an episodic health issue, their primary care physician often doesn’t know about it. A platform approach allows providers to orchestrate care that encompasses the full patient health and history, circumvent any repetitive data entry, and remove any redundant or contradictory treatment planning. Providers can work more effectively in concert together and identify issues with their patients more efficiently. For example, leveraging the healthcare platform can help identify drug prescriptions from different providers that should not be mixed. Patients can further inform the diagnostic and treatment planning process by integrating their wearables and existing platforms like Apple and Google Health with traditional healthcare data to create a 360-degree view of the consumer with immediate actionable information.
Fosters more personalized care
Finally, with better data flow across patient journeys and AI algorithms, a health platform enables health systems and insurers to make care more individualized for their patients. In the same way every Amazon user has a personalized shopping list or a list of recommended shows on Netflix, a platform for healthcare can help identify health focus areas, set reminders for medications, and create motivation and incentives to encourage positive health choices. Healthcare consumers will also have access to extra resources, including content and research from their providers and highly trusted authorities in healthcare, like the Cleveland Clinic.
While healthcare consumers need a provider to guide their health, it’s the consumer that is setting the pace and keeping the momentum of the experience going. Features, such as reminders and additional research-based information, help fuel consumers to meet health goals that lead to healthier lives.
In the early 2000s and 2010s, we saw banking, entertainment, social media, and shopping coalesce into platform interfaces with great success. Healthcare is poised to follow suit in the coming years, as patients become increasingly willing to leave their providers for more technologically savvy, streamlined, and available competitors. Beyond retaining a competitive edge, “platformization” has the potential to prompt significant health benefits to individuals and boost organizations’ bottom lines via improved access to care, a holistic approach to care, and more personalization. It’s time to make healthcare less frustrating for patients and roll those 10 apps – with their unique usernames and passcodes – into one easy-to-use platform.
Michael Serbinis is the founder and CEO of League. With more than $1B of exits, he is known as a visionary leader and entrepreneur who has built transformative technology platforms across several industries. With his expertise in quantum computing and AI Serbinis founded and helped build Kobo, Critical Path, DocSpace, and now League.