Telehealth as an Epiphany Moment

| Health Care, Technology

Doctors were among the last adopters of personal computers, but everything changed with the advent of wireless tablets and smart phones. Doctors love their iPads and iPhones. So do consumers.

Timing is everything for information technology to be disruptive. We may be at an epiphany moment.

Epiphany moments have happened before. Consumer banking (ATM and online banking) dramatically lowered the costs of delivery for banking services while disruptively improving the experience of consumer banking. More epiphany moments in just the last decade:  How we do price comparison shopping; how we buy and listen to music; how we buy and read books, newspapers, and magazines; how we book travel, restaurants and events.

Everything changed with the launch of iPhone, Android and iPad.  It’s inevitable that consumer services optimized around these devices will play a big role in personalized wellness.

The epiphany moment requires the convergence of three disciplines: Big Brand consumer marketing, healthcare systems and policies expertise, and cloud/mobility technology.  Synchronized together, these will be an incredible disruptive force that can fundamentally change the doctor-patient relationship.

MDLIVE is an early stage telehealth company that I mentor. CEO Randy Parker’s vision is to create an Apple quality level consumer experience that reinvents the doctor-patient appointment into an online event that is easy, fast, inexpensive and highly professional. Most MDLIVE users will first go to the web landing page and sign up. Then we expect smart phones and tablets to be the most convenient way MDLIVE consumers will access the service. It will be users’ choice whether they connect via phone or MDLIVE’s highly secured HD video conferencing optimized for mobile bandwidth conditions.

Here’s how to think about telehealth:

Telehealth is disruptively priced – usually about 50% the cost of an in-person doctor visit. A telehealth doctor appointment costs about $40, or half the price of a physical visit to a doctor. Prescription discounts and lab work discounts can reduce the price of these services by about 50% over traditional choices. MDLIVE also intends to give the consumer a wide choice of very affordable online therapy consultations (e.g., weight loss, anxiety, depression, marital stress, anorexia).

Telehealth is disruptively convenient.  No matter where you are, you can get a live doctor online in about 60 minutes or less. The American Medical Association and Medicare estimate that over 50% of in-person doctor visits are unnecessary. Surveys across the country show the wait time to schedule an in-person doctor visit with a primary care physician is about 20 days. Then, time in the doctor’s waiting room is usually one hour – all for an in-person doctor appointment that lasts less than 10 minutes!

I believe that MDLIVE and other disruptive technological innovations will revolutionize the way we get health care for our families, and, at the same time, significantly lower the staggering $2.6 trillion annual price tag of health care in our country. The epiphany moment is upon us.

Watch this MDLIVE video to learn more about how telehealth technology can change the way consumers get quality health care for their families.

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