WTF Health – ‘What’s the Future’ Health? is a new interview series about the future of health and how we love to hate WTF is wrong with it right now. Can’t get enough? Check out more interviews at www.wtf.health.
One of the new faces – and mega tech companies – to be at #HIMSS18, I caught up with Uber Health’s head of strategy Lauren Steingold just after the launch of their HIPAA compliant ride share service for patients.
Lauren talks about the year-long approach Uber took to get into #healthtech, what they’re looking to do next, and her first impressions of HIMSS.
What advice does the tech company have for healthcare? HINT: uber’s ‘on-demand’ ethos extends to the way providers can sign up for their service. It’s a self-service sign-up (no cumbersome contract negotiations with procurement, whaaaat?) with next day implementation. The bar is set, Health Tech.
Moore’s Law is coming to medicine. And it will look and feel a lot like Uber: with rich technology underpinning, consumer-service oriented and friendly, and shaking up the professionals at the front line of the business (from taxi drivers to physicians).
Eric Topol, physician and editor-in-chief at Medscape, told a standing-room-only audience at the kickoff of the 8th annual Health 2.0 Conference that the democratization of health care is coming based on consumers’ use of eight drivers: sensors, labs, imaging, physical exams, access to medical records, transparency of costs, and digital pills.
As physicians with roots in the Bay Area, we use Uber all the time. The service is convenient, (usually) swift and consistently pleasant. With a few taps of a smartphone, we know where and when we’ll be picked up — and we can see the Uber driver coming to get us in real time.
When the vagaries of San Francisco public transit don’t accommodate our varying schedules, it’s Uber that’s the most reliable form of transportation. (It might be that we like having some immediate gratification.)
So when we caught wind of the news that Uber’s founding architect, Oscar Salazar, has taken on the challenge of applying the “Uber way” to health care delivery, there was quite a bit to immediately like. From our collective vantage point, Uber’s appeal is obvious. When you’re feeling sick, you want convenience and immediacy in your care — two things Uber has perfected.
And who wouldn’t be excited by the idea of keeping patients out of overcrowded emergency rooms and urgent care waiting rooms? The concept of returning those patients to their homes (where they can then be evaluated and receive basic care) seems so simple that it’s brilliant.
In 2004, I was managing a hospital division at the University of Chicago and our clinic director walked into my office and asked whether I thought that all physicians should be issued with smartphones. My first internal thought was, “Hmm, what’s a smartphone?”
Today, we all know how dramatically different mobile phones are than they were a year or two ago, much less back in 2004. But as the power of mobile technology increases, tech entrepreneurs have taken a lead on challenging old rules that haven’t been discussed in decades. What if the development of the smartphone could give us some clues into the future of healthcare IT?
Recently, I was on a business trip to Boston and met a friend for dinner. As we discussed where to go, I wanted to go someplace close, thinking that getting a taxi would be a pain. My friend pulled out his smartphone and requested a car to pick us up through the car-sharing service Uber. If you haven’t heard of Uber, or Sidecar, or Lyft, the essence is that the headache, the wait, and sometimes the expense of getting a taxi are virtually eliminated.