Anthony Guerra has a great post on his blog Health System CIO called “Cutting the Line.” If you’ve never read Anthony’s blog posts, he’s a great story teller and that post is a great example. Take a second to go and read the whole post, we’ll be here when you get back.
For those too lazy to click over to Anthony’s blog, here’s an excerpt of the full story which highlights the shift to remote and mobile that he’s been seeing happening in society:
And it isn’t just Starbucks that has gotten into the business of cutting out the personal touch (which nobody really wants anyway — think banking). A few days after my Starbucks experience, I got an email from my gym notifying members that those sitting poolside no longer had to trek to the outdoor café to grab their lunch (and that line really stinks). Now, you could order right from your lounge chair and have your salad and smoothie delivered without missing a ray of sunshine.
Oh, and as if everyone suddenly got a “go-remote” memo at once, the next day I saw this signat one of my favorite burrito places. I guess everyone realizes their customers get no pleasure from waiting on lines. What do customers want? The product, the result — so why not have it ready, or deliver it straight to them?
The world, as we know, is going remote and mobile, and it’s going there fast.
We’ve all seen this happening in one way or another. Ironically, I went into Dominos and had this very same experienced. I’d ordered it all online. I walked in, told them my name and walked out. There was a bit of a rush that they had it waiting for me while I saw two poor saps sitting there waiting for their orders. If I didn’t have kids, I could have literally done that order with a simple voice command to Alexa. Although, I haven’t enabled that feature since I don’t want my kids ordering pizza at their whim.
What’s interesting is that there are very few experiences in healthcare that are like this. A few pharmacies have made it almost this easy to pickup a refill. That’s the closest we’ve come. Shouldn’t we be able to do more?
I think the answer is that we could and we should. I think the reason we aren’t is that we’ve overburdened our doctors and practices as a whole. Between meaningful use, ICD-10, ACOs, MACRA, etc etc etc, when have practices had time to work on innovative interactions with their patients. Doctors are running as fast as they can on the treadmill that is healthcare and now we’ve asked them to become data entry clerks while running on that treadmill. It takes a pretty special doctor to find the time to start thinking of and implementing consumer centric interactions with their patients.
I guess this is why I’m so torn by the current state of our healthcare system. There are so many opportunities to improve the experience for both patients and doctors. However, we’re all too burdened with minutia that there’s no room to innovate. The question I keep asking is when will we break free of the chains of bureaucracy and be able to implement these type of consumer focused innovations? At what point will some healthcare organizations break through the barrier and essentially make it a standard of care for which all others will have to follow? I look forward to that day.