In a February 18 Wall Street Journal Op Ed, Innovator’s Dilemma author Clayton Christensen explains why the Obama Administration’s ACOs ( Accountable Care Organizations ) have no chance of reducing our health care spend. To bend the spending curve, argues Christensen, ACOs must get doctors and patients to fundamentally change their behavior. The top-down, government-designed and -administered Affordable Care Act offers no compelling reasons why doctors or patients should want to change their behavior.
What makes consumer-centric health care such a powerful concept is that it’s entirely conceived around drivers for compelling behavior change.
Here are some examples:
It’s inevitable that, in a few years, the only affordable government-mandated health insurance will be high-deductible plans. But these plans have consequences for consumers: Every year, they will be forced to pay the bill themselves for their family’s first $5,000 doctor visit expense.
Imagine how difficult it’s going to be just to make an in-person doctor appointment when our mandated healthcare system adds 50 million more covered lives. Currently, on average, there is a 21-day wait for an in-person doctor’s appointment. Because we will have these newly mandated insured people, forecasts indicate that our healthcare system will require about 150,000 more primary care physicians than we will actually have.
So, consumer-centric health behavior change starts with a big problem that begs for a solution: Increasingly, consumers must pay for doctor visits out of their own pockets, and they will be frustrated with the difficulty of scheduling an in-person doctor visit when they want it.
In the world of disruptive innovation, timing is everything. Fortunately, we are entering an era of amazing technology innovation in consumer health products and services (e.g., telehealth, wearable electronics, social media consumer engagement and coaching services with incentive rewards, the medical home, and quantified self-medicine). These technology innovations have the potential to significantly improve the quality and outcomes of healthcare delivery while substantially reducing the MLR (medical loss ratio) and delivery cost of health services.
My greatest passion is helping entrepreneurs build some of the game-changing consumer-centric health delivery companies that will change the world! To learn more about some of them, take a look at MDLIVE, Audax Health Solutions, Misfit Wearables, and Watermark Medical.
I am scheduled to speak about these ideas at many major health care summit events this year. Check out Upcoming Events on this website and follow me on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the icons.