I heard Dr. Jay Parkinson give a rapid-fire presentation about his new healthcare start-up called Hello Health last Monday at a Pecha Kucha gathering. Basically it’s the way healthcare should be…well, at least for people like me who are pretty healthy for the most part, hardly ever go to the doctor, and aren’t working for The Man. For a low monthly fee of $35, Hello Health lets you book an appointment online w/ a web-savvy doc who actually gets back to you when you email him questions about that pesky rash. A routine doctor’s visit only sets you back $100, which is like what most New Yorkers pay to get their dogs walked! $100 per visit may sound like a lot if you’re already getting great insurance from your employer, but if you are in “non-traditional” employment and pay for your own health insurance like I do, that’s a way better deal than shelling out $350-$450 a month for something you may hardly ever take advantage of over the course of the year. Obviously, you’ll still want catastrophic insurance in the event that you get hit by a speeding fixed-gear bicycle on the dangerous streets of Williamsburg on your way to see your hipster doctor.
Another healthcare 2.0-ish thing I used recently and quite liked was ZocDoc. It’s like a Facebook/Yelp for doctors, which is fantastic for judgmental people like myself who like to sum people up in one photograph. Nah, I’m just kidding!! Sort of. Anyway, ZocDoc (beta) provides not only a profile photo of each registered doctor, but also features a ratings system that allows all patients who have booked a doctor through them to leave an experience rating and comment. I absolutely love, love, love the transparency. Especially because the existing system of finding doctors/dentists/accountants/lawyers/brokers is so, so, so broken. There’s still a tremendous amount of resistance to this kind of transparency because it makes doctors a lot more vulnerable to attack. But we’ve been familarizing ourselves with crowdsourcing for more than a minute now and I think we can safely say that it’s a largely self-regulating system. In the long run it will be an efficient way to weed out the bad from the good and raise quality standards overall by increasing accountability. Plus, it is so nice to be able to see a doctor’s schedule online and book a time without picking up the phone! Hello Health has that function too, and for that alone I tip my hat!