iPhone, Advertising and Telemedicine: Health Care Articles From Around the Web

iPhone App Helps You Find A Doctor In A Flash

I came across these three articles that I found interesting. The first one is about an iPhone app that lets you find a doctor within your vicinity. The concept is really cool. The only thing I don’t like about it is the company behind the project.

United Healthcare has released an iPhone app called DocGPS that serves up its network of doctors, clinics, hospitals and other health care services on a new application available at Apple (NSDQ:AAPL)’s App Store. Users can tailor their search to their specific UHC plan and locate nearby doctors, clinics and hospitals within the insurance carrier’s network using the GPS functionality of iPhone 3G and 3GS. The app can make searches on 23 types of health care facilities and 58 types of physician specialties.

You can check out the entire story here.

Advertising emergency room wait times gains popularity

In part to ease the minds of those seeking emergency care — or at least disclose how bad the wait will be — a growing number of suburban emergency rooms around the country are advertising wait times.

Imagine if your practice was transparent enough to advertise one’s wait time? Could you use your practice’s wait time as a competitive advantage or would the figure hinder your ability to gain new patients?

Just like anything else, there are pros and cons to doing something like this. But what I find interesting is these hospitals acknowledgement that ER wait times are out of control and they are trying to do something about it. They are taking a non-traditional customer service approach into health care.

The Virtual Visit May Expand Access to Doctors

OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, plans to offer NowClinic, a service that connects patients and doctors using video chat, nationwide next year.

First it was MinuteClinic, now NowClinic. It looks like everybody wants a piece of our business.

Health care as whole is very inefficient in many ways. Patients, for the most part are not getting their needs met. Many of them have to wait days to see a doc, spend hours in a waiting room, and their consults with the doc are only a few minutes. Oh, and it is very expensive.

Iniatives like MinuteClinic and OptumHealth are ways companies are trying to deliver health care efficiently (and make money of course). One can argue whether they are doing it or not or if it is good for health care. But that is not what I want to point out here. What I’d like to highlight is how these ventures are trying to disrupt the status quo and create a model that is both efficient and effective.

Should we be looking for ways to challenge how we deliver health care in our practice’s or is the status quo just fine?

You can read the New York Times article here