It’s crazy that actually being able to email your doctor is still so unusual in this day and age. It’s one of the many “bizarre habits that have been ingrained” in the world of primary care, according to Dr. Tom X. Lee. And that’s why Lee started One Medical Group, which offers personalized “concierge” care to patients for $200 a year.
We start by offering same-day appointments that you can schedule conveniently online. In the office, we respect your time by meeting with you on schedule so you know you’ll be back to work on time. We also believe in building more personalized relationships with our patients, so we offer longer visits which means you have more high-quality time with your doctor. And after your visit, our online services make it simple to contact your doctor and even renew prescriptions without coming in for a follow-up visit — saving you both time and money.
When Lee started One Medical Group (OMG?), he said, “it was very clear that health care organizations were lacking both the service hospitality mind-set of hotels and the operational efficiency you’d see in manufacturing industries.” It now has several thousand patients and a growth rate of 50 percent a year, gained mostly by word of mouth.
Letting customers schedule appointments online also helps the company be more efficient. Most primary-care offices have at least four administrative employees per physician. OMG has cut that ratio in half.
Hello Health is another medical provider attempting to tackle the various unpleasantries of the typical doctor’s appointment. Some of the features of Hello Health:
The Online Availability Calendar lets you schedule appointments from anywhere.
A safe and convenient way to communicate with your healthcare provider.
Request prescription renewals online and for pick up at your pharmacy.
Secure Instant Messaging
Text-based, a simple way to access your healthcare provider.
Meet face-to-face with your provider without leaving home.
Save time and review test results and other important information online.
Hello Health emerged from the house calls and same-day “e-visits” of Dr. Jay Parkinson, a NYC doctor. When he launched his practice, Parkinson accepted PayPal, but not insurance. 300 patients signed up in the first three months. He said, “I run this entire thing off my iPhone and a laptop. I can access any patient records from my iPhone. Patients can make an appointment on my Web site and it’ll text me and I’ll go see them. This is, to me, what’s missing from medicine: personalized attentiveness.”
“The Doctor of the Future” talks about the evolution of Parkinson’s system. At Hello Health, patients pay a $35 monthly subscription fee and $100-200 an hour for online or office visits. Brief email queries are free.
There’s no receptionist, so doctors greet patients as they arrive. And patients can rate visits too. “You can rate a visit, comment on it, share it,” Parkinson says. “Is that innovative? Man, I don’t know. It’s paying attention to what’s awesome about Flickr and then doing it.”
Seems strange that bringing simple basics like email/live chat access and customer ratings to an industry can still be considered “groundbreaking.” So it’s nice to see companies like these challenging the status quo and picking a fight. The health care industry could use the shakeup.