20 Aug Uber-izing the Patient Experience in Healthcare
Post written by Tamara StClaire
This is not a typical story about “The Uber of XYZ” so stay tuned. It’s a simple story of the first time I ever used the service. And as a first timer it was a surprising experience.
During HIMSS 2015 in Chicago, I needed to go from my hotel to a dinner downtown. I opened the app on my phone, entered my destination and was immediately told that a man named Ricardo would pick me up in a Cadillac Escalade with XYZ license plate.
As I opened the back door to get in, the car was spotless and Ricardo said, “Welcome, Tamara.” I was surprised, comforted and pleased with these details. It gets better! After a few moments, I noticed Ricardo had excellent taste in music. He was playing a song by The Iguanas, which is unexpected given how obscure the group is. Then it hit me: Ricardo was playing music off of my phone.
During our conversation, I told Ricardo that it was my first time using Uber, to which he told me that the first ride was free. Incredible.
The story of my first Uber experience is about more than the almost-shocking level of incredible, personalized service it provides. It’s also about how different it was from what I was used to. Uber, and to a degree other companies powering the sharing economy, introduced an entirely new way of thinking about something that had previously been relatively stagnant for a long time – getting from point A to point B.
But that’s not where the innovation ends. The transportation industry is undergoing a much larger transformation to an era of driverless vehicles. In fact, the CEO of Uber is already preparing for the day when his fleet is comprised entirely of driverless cars. It will be like the “cloud” of transportation.
My first experience with Uber made me wonder: how often do we tell stories like this in healthcare? And moreover, what is the innovation in healthcare that is transformational, but actually only a catalyst or stepping stone to a much broader change in how the industry operates?
The answer to those questions may not yet be completely clear. But what is clear is that the healthcare industry is working towards improving the patient experience. By considering alternative payment models, developing and improving mobile health applications and bringing the doctor’s office directly to the patient, staying healthy could soon be a process and experience just as enjoyable as Uber is making transportation.