Healthcare is in Need of a Revolution, not Evolution
Recently Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, made headlines again with the release of the iPad. Apple continues to "push the envelope" of new product innovation by providing consumers with breakthrough technology that assists in organizing and making their lives easier to manage. As I was reviewing all the headlines around the release of the iPad and how Steve Jobs continues to make a "dent in the universe" with innovative products and solutions, it made me think, what is the most innovative thing that has been released in the world of employee benefits? Think for a minute...I'll wait. It's hard isn't it? What really can be considered "breakthrough"? The list that I could come up with is small and outdated:
Consumer Directed Health Plans
Health Savings Accounts
When I try to think of innovation in benefit design, I feel like I'm staring at an open box of 8 track tapes (for those who don't know what 8 track tapes are, just count your blessings).
I remember reading a commentary by a friend of mine, Maddy Bowling in Risk and Insurance dealing with this issue of innovation in healthcare, specifically as it related to worker comp. She reached the same conclusion. Innovation is sorely lacking. As consumers we are bombarded by innovation day-in and day-out. Our cell phones, TV's and computers continue to open a new world of possibilities. However, when you access the healthcare setting, you and I are confronted by a clipboards, paper and fax machines.
Picture this, as you are driving up to your doctor's office, you are on your cell phone emailing a proposal to your office, accessing the Internet to handle your banking and paying bills. You then walk into your doctor's office and are confronted with a clipboard filled with papers to fill out, faxing documents (yes faxing) and more papers to fill out.
We are at a tipping point in healthcare. We have raised our deductibles as high as we can. Our coinsurance is at maximums. Our PPO's are no longer "preferred" they are simply a list of all providers giving phantom discounts disguised as being "preferred."
Truly changing the industry requires us to take risks. Without taking risk, there will never be change. I'm proud of the innovation and risk taking we have taken at NCN to change the industry.
If healthcare is to survive, we must start thinking in terms of revolutionary ideas. We neither have the time or financial resources to continue in this evolutionary track we are on today. Fax machines, clipboards and paper....the clock is ticking.