I love to read books. And not just any books, but I really, truly enjoyed reading special books on my profession: acupuncture and various medical subjects. If you don't know these books tend to be pretty expensive and I spent a lot of money buying them. We were moving to a new house over the weekend, so when they packed boxes and boxes of my medical books, I realize there was a small fortune there. So obviously if I'm buying a lot, I try to save as much money as possible.
So when one of my patients years ago told me about Amazon, I was amazed- you can buy any books even more than at the local bookstore and they're much cheaper! Wow, what an idea! I have been a loyal Amazon customer ever since. Amazon business since expanded greatly. You probably know that it's so much more than just selling books online, movies, music and as a matter fact now they have the whole marketplace. Why? Because they offer substantial savings to their customers while maintaining high quality customer service.
How does that relate to health care? Well, let's see, most of the time we used to have only two options: either go to medical office which excepts your insurance and to take take chances whether they're good of bad, wait in line for quite a while, spend very short time and hope that next office would be better. Second option was cash types of services - plastic surgery or executive care, which offered much better service driven by competition and true free market environment, but everybody had an understanding, that this type of services was a big expense.
So the question is can the innovation offered by Amazon which allowed to sell quality for less be applied in healthcare? My answer is definitely yes. All it will take is thinking outside of the box which years ago allowed Amazon to revolutionize the retail sales of books.
So what could be done to keep the quality of service high and bring the prices down?
The answer is - integrative care. Let me explain. Integrative approach to healthcare allows you to save money in several ways:
First is the efficiency. By combining several most beneficial therapies for each individual case the total treatment time is greatly reduced and therefore the total cost of resolving the problem is much less.
Second is integrative diagnosis, treatments are selected based on a combination of traditional and modern diagnostic methods to select the ones witch precisely address the exact root cause of the problem, this reduces over treatment and minimizes expense.
Third, most treatments are done in the same location which minimizes travel time and allows for a medical office to create variety of a treatment packages at tremendous savings compared to purchasing each treatment individually.
And Forth, this extremely effective approach creates a lot of positive feedback and word-of-mouth referrals which allows tremendous savings in expensive marketing for the practice so those expenses are not factored into the treatment prices.
Overall the integrative care approach does what Amazon figured: sell thousands of book titles from one location which saved them a lot of costs and then pass the savings onto the customers.