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A transformation has taken place in the global economy as marketplaces have emerged to take the place of government or other central regulatory bodies. In other words, in many cases, technology and the power of crowds has enabled society as a whole to receive better service.
Perhaps the best example is the rating system on Uber. Anyone who has ever taken a cab in Manhattan and was unhappy with the experience didn’t really have an easy way to voice their concerns. Enter marketplace apps like Uber and Lyft which allow passengers to rate their experiences for the world to see.
In this manner, accountability has shifted to the consumer. Taxi drivers and the people they reported too didn’t seem too concerned about passengers – even though they were regulated by local governments who were theoretically accountable to the people. By making service providers accountable directly to their customers, service levels have improved.
Liz Kowalczyk with the Boston Globe just shined the spotlight on numerous hospitals in the Massachusetts area with filthy conditions and a staff not able to deal with patients because of either lack of training or staffing.
Amazingly, the state gives the chain of hospitals over $100 million per year – even though it is aware of the terrible conditions, in part because it needs the beds the hospital provides.
While a hospital is a different type of service provider than a driver who could pick you up in a Prius instead of a taxi, the idea of moving the accountability to the patient would work in hospitals the way it has in most other markets.
It won’t happen overnight – the first step is to come up with a system where patients pay doctors directly and rate them – without an insurance system which removes the accountability. From there – it will evolve to handle hospitals as well.
The way it will work is similar to what we have experienced with hotel booking on sites like TripAdvisor or Expedia… Patients will choose their doctors based on price, distance, ratings, and availability.
This marketplace exists today and it is called UMA Health. It provides patients the ability to find medical coverage they can afford and it’s as simple as buying a sweater on your favorite shopping site. It is our hope UMA will become the preferred method for bringing back the badly needed accountability to patients – allowing them to make better medical decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.