Interesting completely different approach that this internet mobile based doctor, Jay Parkinson MD, is taking to online healthcare.
Nice site too though a bit too trendy web2.0 looking for my tastes ‚Äì it would look professional for a techno DJ, but for a doctor it just feels fake. Interestingly, this doctor designed and built the site himself. It’s a fine example of someone with a spot of web design talent and no branding or identity knowhow.
He‚Äôs acting as a sole practitioner ‚Äúcountry doctor‚Äù that doesn‚Äôt take insurance. However, he is available 24/7 by email, IM, or phone and makes housecalls but conducts most consults as eVisits. Also, he acts as a middle man of sorts to find the best healthcare specialist deals.
His whole practice is based on the fact that there is a whole swath of uninsured people out there looking for inexpensive healthcare. His practice and his offer to find good health deals brings up a several interesting points about the state of health care in America:
- There are so many uninsured patients that they now constitute a market in themselves.
- This market of uninsured patients is not having it’s needs met, as most health care targets insured patients. (Note they do not target medicare/medicaid since doctors don’t get enough money from those programs to justify the extensive paperwork that comes with treating patients on medicare/medicaid).
- The actual cost of health care is hidden because of the insurance industry and the ubiquitous $15 co-pay
- Competition for services between doctors is stifled because of the fact that costs are hidden and because patients are locked into choosing a preferred provider in a select doctor network
- Jay Parkinson’s entire business strategy would be out the window if universal health care became a reality
It’s funny how much the republicans cry and whine about the horrors of socialized medicine when our own health care industry stifles their beloved “capitalist competition.” If there was truly a open market for health care the needs of the uninsured would be getting met better. I’m not arguing that this is a good idea mind you since a truly open health care market may also lead to hospitals becoming more like car mechanic shops — where 9 out of 10 are trying to rip you off.
Personally, I’m in favor of some form of universal health care for several reasons; however I think Jay Parkinson is doing a good service that is needed right now. Until a universal health care system is created, we need more solutions for uninsured patients rather then just having them go the emergency room for treatment. And if the market can figure out a way to service these people where our government has floundered, that’s great.