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You Need A Virtual Care Advocate

Bret Larsen, CEO at eVisit

Written by Bret Larsen, CEO at eVisit

Simplify Healthcare Delivery To Everyone, Everywhere

Over five years ago when we started eVisit, we had one goal: Simplify healthcare delivery to everyone, everywhere. It is the one tenet that has guided us through every iteration of the eVisit platform, and in the rapidly shifting landscape of healthcare we still feel as strongly about that now as we did then. 

Move Over Big Auto & Big Oil, Here Comes Healthcare!

When I recently read about Amazon Care, a way to provide healthcare to their Seattle employees via telemedicine, it reinforced to me they will eventually become a direct competitor to health systems and hospitals that are not accelerating their path to becoming tech-enabled.  When Amazon enters an industry, they shake it up. Amazon is a name everyone knows, and they are one of the top US companies by revenue. Times Higher Education ranked them as the 5th largest company by revenue for 2018. Healthcare and healthcare related companies now sit where venerable American giants of industry like US Steel, Ford, and General Electric once reigned. This is quite a shift. From 1960 to 2000, the top 10 always included at least General Motors, Exxon Mobil, Ford, GE, IBM, Mobil, and Texaco.

For over 40 years the top companies in the US, by revenue, were related to the automotive industry either by manufacturing or oil. In 2000, a little company from Bentonville, AR called Walmart infiltrated the mix. In 2010 they topped the list and stayed there. General Motors, the biggest revenue dog of the 20th century, hit the bottom of the list for the first time in 2010, and by 2018 they were no longer even on the list. In 2018, only one oil company remained, there were no car companies, but four healthcare companies, plus Walmart, Amazon and Apple. It should be noted that all three have recently announced their interest in entering healthcare. There must be something in healthcare, specifically telemedicine, to make these American giants enter the healthcare/telemedicine arena. 

Is Bigger Really Better?

Hospitals and health systems that are not already tech enabled have an excellent opportunity to protect their interests by implementing an in-house model they control. Amazon, Apple and Google getting into telemedicine could be seen as a thorn for companies like eVisit, but I prefer to see the rose: an opportunity to provide customers with our enterprise virtual care platform and expertise so they can effectively compete in a healthcare market that includes Amazon.. We think there will be five key drivers for telemedicine in years to come: virtual urgent and primary care, virtual behavioral care, pre- and post-operative care, and employers providing telemedicine as a healthcare delivery model to their employees. 

Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google will look to companies like eVisit as an example of what to do and how to do it. My question is this, will they follow our example? The provider/patient relationship is still very important, but the model these huge companies are leaning toward is one that does not nurture that relationship. It will, more than likely, follow the “next-provider-in-line-will-see-you-now” method of telemedicine. Where will the continuity of care live? How will a provider, sitting in an office halfway across the country, know the nuances of the patient’s demographic and available resource challenges, or that the patient may need a different approach or tact so they understand their treatment options?

Technical Behemoth Or Healthcare Advocate?

Healthcare autonomy is imperative. Healthcare systems, large and small, own this provider/patient relationship. Not only is it better for patient outcomes and continuity of care, but it’s cheaper for a healthcare system to keep a patient than it is to attract a new one. I feel there is a strong possibility a pay-per-click strategy could emerge in regards to direct-to-consumer telemedicine. This means companies would bid on keywords and those that bid the most will most often get better placement on the search results page. How would this strategy affect overall patient care and outcomes? The better model, and I have heard this from customers across the country, is to utilize a health system’s own network of providers and trusted patient/provider relationship to provide care for its patients and community. Healthcare systems should not be beholden to a conglomerate that will dictate via algorithm how, when, and from whom its patients get care. They need an advocate dedicated to their success who will help optimize the care and trust their hard-earned brand represents. 

eVisit allows you to keep control of the patient experience, and all patient touch points. It just makes good medical and business sense to partner with a virtual care platform provider that recognizes the importance of adapting to your unique workflows and expectations. Medicine was never meant to be a commodity. It is, and always has been, a very personal experience. eVisit is the partner with the means to keep it a personal experience for you and your patients.

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Published: October 15, 2019