Opportunity knocks for healthcare delivery. Who will answer the door?

Opportunity knocks for healthcare delivery. Who will answer the door?

As the US economy improves and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) begins to actually provide people with health insurance, experts are predicting a barrage of newly insured individuals to hit the healthcare system. Many pundits are expecting a bit of a bumpy ride as increased demands for service outstrips the capacity of the system to deliver them. I believe this opens a terrific opportunity for alternative delivery models such as urgent care centers and especially for retail healthcare providers—the so called mini-clinics that have been popping up in retail pharmacies, grocery stores and shopping malls. Operators of such facilities would be wise to capitalize on this unique window of opportunity that is coming their way in 2014. The question is, are they prepared to capture all these new customers and keep them coming back for more?

First and foremost, operators of retail clinics need to clearly understand where they fit in the ecosystem of healthcare delivery. They are not, nor should they be, a patient’s primary care provider. Rather, they should be viewed as a convenient adjunct or alternative for certain kinds of low acuity medical services. A retail clinic’s value proposition to the business where they are co-located is primarily to increase foot traffic and therefore drive ancillary sales of pharmaceuticals, merchandise, or services during the time customers are in the store. The value proposition to the customer is cost, quality, and convenience. To be successful, retail clinic operators must deliver an outstanding customer experience, one that goes well beyond what most patients have come to expect from traditional healthcare settings. This means excellence in every aspect of the customer experience from check-in to discharge. While most retail clinics today get good satisfaction scores from the patients who use them, there are numerous opportunities to make the experience even better. Here are some things to be thinking about:

Web Tool Screens Health Risks in Waiting Rooms

Web Tool Screens Health Risks in Waiting Rooms

Patients who used eCHAT (electronic Case-finding and Help Assessment Tool) indicated they wanted immediate help with anxiety (9%), depression (7%), physical activity (6%), and smoking (5%), “which was not overwhelming for physicians to address,” according toFelicity Goodyear-Smith, MBChB, MD, from the department of general practice and primary health care at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues.

Preva opens up its fitness API, outside devs can now gamify your workout data

Preva opens up its fitness API, outside devs can now gamify your workout data

Not content to simply motivate your workouts, fitness equipment manufacturer Precor is opening up its Preva API so other developers can integrate your sweat… err, data. According to the company, the Preva Developer Portal will allow devs to implement features like contests based around achievements and milestones — distance traveled, for example — based off the firm’s collected stats. It already counts wellness reward app EveryMove as a believer, and after linking your EveryMove and Preva accounts, your exercise info will automatically start earning you product discounts and other rewards. This could effectively allow apps such asRunkeeper to tap into your morning routine on Precor machines, thus giving you a more realistic idea of just how many calories you’re burning on a daily basis.

Aetna Brings New iTriage Employer Technology to Mid-Sized Businesses

Aetna Brings New iTriage Employer Technology to Mid-Sized Businesses

Founded in 2008, iTriage’s free consumer health care app has been downloaded nearly 10 million times, with 50 million uses each year, helping connect consumers with answers to “What could be wrong?” and “Where can I go for care?” With the launch of the new customizable app, employers can also now guide their employees who are looking for care within their network.

Bowflex Boost fitness band coming to market in September for $50

Bowflex Boost fitness band coming to market in September for $50

A little bird at the FCC just tipped us off to a low-cost fitness band that’s about to hit the market known as the Bowflex Boost. Like competing devices, it promises to track one’s daily activities, calories burned and even quality of sleep, but as a key differentiator, it’ll cost only $50. Similar to competitors such as the Nike FuelBandFitbit Flex and Jawbone Up, it’ll also come with a companion iOS app, which syncs fitness data over Bluetooth and helps users stay accountable to their fitness goals.