Why Can’t Medicine Be On-Demand?

For Convenience’s Sake

Look around your city, and chances are you’ll see an urgent care or freestanding emergency room on nearly every corner. Why has this happened?

Well, for one thing, patients like the convenient access.  We like well-placed locations next to the grocery store, and easy parking. We like that we can get in and out without even making an appointment. Healthcare is becoming commoditized, and patients are moving toward more rapid and convenient care.

Nearly Constant Demand for Healthcare

But here’s something you might not know – depending on the time of year, or even the time of day, demand for healthcare is all over the map.  In the dead of winter, the waiting rooms are packed with cold and flu sufferers.

Other days, like the middle of the summer when people are healthier or on vacation, the waiting room a ghost town. Demand in the summer drops by as much as 30%. Beyond that, there’s a weekly rhythm. Weekends and Mondays are busier. And a daily rhythm. Busy in the morning and evening, not so much in the afternoon.

What does all this mean? It means that there are major inefficiencies in the system.

Those dozens of walk-in urgent cares we talked about? Many of them have pretty quiet waiting rooms in the middle of the summer. But they still have to keep the lights on. In the middle of winter, they see big fluctuations in patient volume throughout the day and the week.  In spite of that, they are paying the rent on that prime location, and staff that are there even when patients aren’t. Those costs get passed on – to patients.

In the past, doctors got around all of this by filling their schedule as much as possible.  Even if it meant you had to wait four days (or four weeks) to be seen. This maximized the doctor’s productivity, and made sure that there was less inefficiencies. In this model – which has become the norm – the patient loses. You can’t be seen promptly for your issue, and you are forced to sit in a waiting room because the schedule is full.

Now, we’re seeing an ever increasing trend toward on-demand services. Instead of waiting for a cab, we request an Uber.

Healthcare On Demand

Instead of walking the aisles of the grocery store, we summon Instacart (“Get thee mine kale!”).  And now with Remedy, you can request a medical provider to your door, usually in less than two hours. One objection that we often hear is, “Yeah, but I’ve seen Royal Pains. Isn’t a house call expensive?” While it may be more than the traditional office visit described above, a Remedy house call is about the same price as Urgent Care, and way less than the ER.

Not only that, Remedy is highly efficient at delivering healthcare. Instead of thousands of dollars being wasted on a facility that is only busy some of the time, the Remedy medical team expands and contracts to fit the need. So when the flu is at its peak, we send more providers into the field. In the summer, when patient volume is lower, we aren’t wasting money on an empty building. That’s savings we can pass on to patients.  

You probably use tons of software services that are “in the cloud.” Think of Remedy like a “cloud” of healthcare providers that can be accessed on your terms. As we reduce inefficiencies in the healthcare market, we will be able to bring more and more services directly to you and at a lower cost.