Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes
Health 2.0 physician Jay Parkinson, M.D. recently joined Myca, a Montreal-based company that aims to enhance access to consumer care while creating new efficiencies and revenue for doctors . Prior to joining Myca, Parkinson’s Brooklyn medical practice combined house calls of the past with 21st-century technology. For a yearly fee of $500, Parkinson made an initial visit to his patients and offered two additional house calls as needed. Using IM, email and video chat, he would make himself available to his patients between the hours of 8 a.m and 5 p.m. weekdays for unlimited consultation. Parkinson used a web-based electronic medical record (EMR) system called Life Record to keep his medical records.
According to Parkinson, joining Myca didn’t compromise any of his ideals and was simply a natural progression of his practice :
No innovation is going to come from within the industry. It’s going to come from outside the industry. There are 47 million uninsured who have to pay cash for healthcare, and there’s another likely 40 million that are going to need supplemental insurance. That’s a significant buying power that no one is even thinking about in the healthcare industry. I’m not anti-corporate. I’m just anti-stupidcorporate. I’m very much a businessman.
Links to articles describing Parkinson were included in a past edition of Medicine 2.0 here at Highlight HEALTH. Parkinson and his unique medical practice have been the focus of a great deal of discussion over the past year, both in the news and blogosphere.
Myca and Hello Health
Myca focuses on health and wellness applications, utilizing advanced communications and mobile devices to make it easy for consumers and health experts to connect. The company is expanding from the development of a mobile health application called MyFoodPhone Nutrition, which incorporates camera phone food journaling and video feedback services, to a broader platform for delivering healthcare services.
That broader platform is a healthcare service called Hello Health. A single communications and clinical information platform developed by Myca provides a solution to three top healthcare issues: access, high-quality medical care and cost management. The system offers patient and physician interfaces that extend far beyond a traditional EMR. For a monthly fee, members can access Hello Health doctors in the clinic or at home and by IM or video chat. Sound familiar? Following in Parkinson’s medical practice model, Hello Health incorporates several technological improvements only a company with resources like Myca could provide.
Interestingly, unlike many services that focus on physician quality and offer the ability to rate doctors, Hello Health will focus on patient satisfaction. According to Parkinson :
It’s not going to be a rating system for doctors. It’s going to be private information based on your effort with your patients. To me, e-Bay is the model. They have one question they ask: â€˜What is your satisfaction with the seller? Positive, negative, or neutral.’ It’s as simple as that. At the end of the month, you tally them up, and take the aggregate score, and the doctor will then make more or less depending on their average score.
If doctor scores decrease, Hello Health takes a larger portion of fees collected. This is the incentive that will drive a new model of practice, one that is more effective and takes advantage of technology. In an interview last month with the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, Parkinson described Hello Health as :
… a neighborhood-based, Internet-enabled practice that sees you in person and communicates with you over the Internet. Patients become members for a Netflix-priced monthly fee and then pay fee for service. In-person visits, whether house call or in-office, will range from $75 to $150 cash. We will submit your claim to your insurance for you so you can be reimbursed but you pay cash up front.
As Alan Brookstone points out at CanadianEMR, complex diseases such as cancer likely won’t be as easy to manage using the Hello Health model of healthcare delivery. Nevertheless, for primary care, it streamlines service, provides accessible doctors, offers consumer convenience and may just be the next big thing in healthcare.
Hello Health should launch by the end of this month.