Little Improvements To Healthcare Process

I saw an advertisement for a site where you could share your thoughts on improving the healthcare system.  I went to the website, but I was disappointed.  It didn’t seem to have many patient inputs.  There are huge issues for us to deal with around this many of which are wrapped up in reform (whether that’s the right answer or not).

But, if I put my re-engineering hat on from the 90’s, I think there are lots of little improvements that I would make.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Online appointment scheduling for physician’s offices.  It would be great to do this outside of normal business hours or understand the open time slots.
  • Real-time updates if the physician is behind schedule – text message alerts.
  • Kiosks at the pharmacy for picking up refills so that pharmacists could spend their time on first-fills and counseling.
  • A forum to allow consumers to create a profile about communications preferences and relevant behavioral profiling that would help healthcare companies provide them with relevant information…and allow this profile to follow them as they moved from company to company.
  • Some type of online certification for health information websites so that we knew which sites to trust for information.
  • Simpler plan information so I really knew what was covered and what my costs would be.
  • A virtual coach to help me interpret information, guide me to content, decide when to get a second opinion, provide me with pre-screening, and manage worries (i.e., do I have the flu or just a cold).
  • Online portals and PHRs that were engaging, portable, and learning systems.
  • Better communications design and literacy considerations.
  • Full genomic profiles that not only told me what I was genetically pre-disposed to but what I can do about it.
  • Aggregation of all the cool tools into a front-end where I could manage a condition thru without having to have multiple logins and different pieces of content to put together.
  • Easy to understand billing.
  • A way to stop having to repeat myself on the phone, in the office, at the pharmacy, at the clinic, etc.
  • No waiting in line – ER, Urgent Care, pharmacy.
  • Automatic, real-time suggestions (did you know there’s a generic alternative to that?  did you know the urgent care down the road 2.3 miles is open and will save you $50 compared to your ER copay?).

I’m sure I could go on, and each of these has implications.  For example, to have no waiting in line means creating more locations which creates more costs which ultimately requires them to create more demand to stay business.  A vicious cycle.

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