Cancellations in Bad Weather? You May Need A Specialist to Help Fill Open Slots

Cancellations in bad weather? You may need a specialist to help you fill open slots. If you work in operations in a healthcare provider organization, then you know how bad it can get when the weather gets bad. Patients cancel or need to be rescheduled. Holes in the calendar have to be filled to avoid costly downtime. The phones are jammed and you might also be short-staffed.

Here’s how an actual medical practice in Baltimore is responding with technology:

We are a busy practice, and patients expect to wait at least three to four weeks for an appointment in the best of circumstances. Like any practice in our area, we get cancellations as soon as there is a hint of bad weather. But we hardly get stuck with any open slots. At least not for very long. As soon as someone cancels, the opening is posted on Everseat, and usually not more than a minute or two later an existing patient or even a new patient clicks on it to indicate they want to take that appointment. Our office is notified in real time and can determine in a matter of minutes whether it makes sense to fit them into that slot or to accommodate them in some other way. How do these patients know our available appointments are posted on Everseat? When they call us or visit the office, we tell them about it. We say that they can opt in for digital notification of available open slots. At any given time, we have dozens of people who have chosen to be pinged on their smartphone when something convenient for their specifications opens up. When they get in, they feel like they won the appointment lottery. And we are delighted because we are here to take care of our patients and there is nothing we would rather be doing.IMG_0781_2

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you cope with weather chaos or think about what you will do when it next comes your way:

  •    When patients start canceling, you need an efficient and reliable way to replace them with the right patients in the right slots.
  •    Using the phones to find the right patients on short notice is not easy. And it’s probably not working. At least not well enough.
  •    If your practice is closing due to weather, re-booking all of those patients will tie up your staff and your phones for hours.
  •    As great as your EHR or other tools are for many things, for this job you need technology, strategy and expertise
  •    With Everseat, you can automate the entire process. You will get more done in less time; for the practice and the patients.

Everseat partners with health and wellness provider organizations of all sizes across the United States. We want to work with you. Email us at We can have you up and ready before bad weather hits again.

Caring for Baby Boomers in the Digital Age—What Role do Healthcare Apps Play?

We all know baby boomers are aging. They are getting older in a time when there are more and more simple digital tools available to their caregivers every day. You might be surprised that in U.S. households that have broadband, where 76% own a smartphone, less than 40% of caregivers use an app to assist with care-giving tasks.

A new study from Parks Associates shares this finding, and attributes the relatively low overall utilization rate to the simple fact that caregivers above a certain age don’t use apps as much as their younger counterparts. This is a present challenge to app adoption – but aging itself ought to take care of it, given that adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are currently only 28% of the caregiver population but account for half of the app users (according to Parks).


Parks has a very clear prescription: the makers and marketers of consumer healthcare apps need to develop outreach and training programs that will attract the largest cohort of caregivers – those between 45 and 54 years of age. Twenty-seven percent of caregivers fall in this age-range, but they make up only 16% of the app users.

Earlier this year, Becker’s compiled a list of 40 helpful apps for physicians and consumers to know. Everseat was glad to be listed for helping patients and their caregivers get the appointments they need without needing to call the doctor’s office.

Other tools useful for caregivers on the Becker’s List include Amwell for telehealth visits, Pillpack and Medisafe for ease of filling prescriptions and managing a schedule for taking medications according to doctor’s orders, and Twine for supporting chronic disease patients by integrating their wearable tech devices into a stream of data their caregivers and physicians can put to use.

In short – there are many apps available and more all the time. As for the long-term future of app usage by caregivers, Aditi Pai of Mobihealthnews reports that according to Parks Associates Senior Director of Research Harry Wang, “Consumers in the 35-44 age range are a key bracket,” he said. “Those currently at this age will bring apps with them as they take on more caregiver responsibilities for their aging parents. At the same time, younger consumers will age into this segment, and these millennials will lean heavily on mobile and connected technologies as they prepare to tackle caregiver challenges in their families.”


How Tech-Savvy Practices Reduce No Show

How Tech-Savvy Practices Reduce No Shows

You know that last-minute cancellations and no-shows are costly for you and terrible for patient care and satisfaction. Most practices — some still using legacy scheduling systems and attached to old processes — are just living with the frustration and revenue loss of this chronic problem, chalking it up to a “cost of doing business.” But some tech-savvy practices are mitigating or even solving the challenge.

Let’s take a look at some of the creative approaches these practices are taking.

Reminders, Reminders, Reminders
It happens — patients forget their appointments. That’s where appointment reminders come in. Practices have seen moderate success in reducing appointment no-shows by adding text, email, or phone reminders to the scheduling process. Most automated reminder systems can be customized to deliver messages via any modality that is right for your patient population.

Telemedicine and Phone Visits
Another reason patients no-show? Accessibility. Common barriers include limited transportation options and illness of a family member. One solution when patients simply cannot get to you may lie in the embrace of telemedicine.

Today, 48 states and Washington, D.C., provide some form of Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services, and 32 (plus D.C.) have some form of private payer policy in place. Some reports indicate that seven million will use telemedicine services in 2018 (up from just 350,000 in 2013). It’s about better service quality, and getting started may not be as costly as you think.

Appointment Management and Scheduling Software
By the time 2020 rolls around, two-thirds of U.S. health systems could be offering digital self-scheduling, and almost as many patients could be booking their medical appointments online.

Self-scheduling is beneficial to patients and providers alike. Patients feel it’s easier to manage their appointments and can do it from their mobile device, and providers save time and money by fielding fewer phone calls. Plus, as the telephone ceases to be the primary tool used on smartphones, scheduling appointments by a touch of the screen is going to be the new normal, and for many, it already is.

Simply put, practices that take advantage of technology like appointment reminders, telehealth services, and self-scheduling systems offer better patient service, and are better able to reduce missed appointments.

Want to learn more about how digital tools can help you reduce costs and make scheduling more convenient for your patients? Contact us today.


The Patient Will Indeed See You Now – If You Really See The Patient

In the United States, the public still puts more trust in nurses and doctors than in any other two professions. But the patience of patients trying to get an appointment is wearing thin. We all know the feeling of relief upon hearing the words, “the doctor will see you now” but thought leader, physician and author Eric Topol stood those familiar words on their head in the title of his recently published book in order to make his point. The Patient Will See You Now, is a book he wrote to shed light on how the doctor-patient relationship is getting better for everyone involved, thanks to…smartphones.

Dr. Topol believes that mobile technology puts patients in the driver’s seat and can both save lives and dramatically improve lifestyles. As a physician he also knows that updating their way of doing business is very good for practice management and patient satisfaction.

There are many apps to enhance chronic care. Physician ratings sites are available at the tip of a finger. Telehealth has arrived too, bringing the exam itself right into the palm of your hand. Scheduling is joining the category and has much to contribute.

In The Patient Will See You Now, Dr. Topol acknowledges that scheduling appointments is one of many categories where a patient has long been expected to accommodate the needs and norms of a busy doctor and his or her office. Consider the original 1847 Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association, which Dr. Topol quotes from in the book’s first chapter:

“[p]atients should .. avoid calling on their medical adviser unnecessarily during the hours devoted to meals or sleep. They should always be in readiness to receive the visits of their physician, as the detention of a few minutes is often serious inconvenience for him.”

There is a growing consensus that getting a convenient appointment simply has to be made easier, given the computing and communication power most of us are holding in one hand. Serious studies including a June 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine are placing the blame for delays in access to care on scheduling systems that benefit providers more than they do patients.

Study after study about smartphones shows that almost everyone has one, and we almost always have them by our side. And smartphones may be the first technology to truly cross the digital divide, reaching equally high levels of penetration in traditionally underserved communities.

Why not tackle the challenge of scheduling appointments via smartphone if we are already using this technology to improve efficiency in so many other parts of our lives?

If you are developing a smartphone scheduling innovation agenda for your practice, clinic or institution, here are three things to think about while you finish Dr. Topol’s thoughtful book:

  1. Don’t just put an appointment booking tool on your website (even if it has a mobile format option). After all, that merely carries the same old relationship and dynamic over to the internet and fails to turn the new technology into an opportunity for real improvement.
  2. Think about allowing a patient to indicate the times she or he is available, and let your office respond rather than doing it the other way around? If the result is you are seeing more patients and seeing them at times more closely tied to the needs of their health, everyone is going to be pretty happy.
  3. Don’t go it alone. There are discussions emerging among all of your professional groups about how to tackle the future of scheduling. Get connected to the conversation.

There are many new terms for this kind of thinking. Participatory care and patient-centric care are two you will see increasingly.  Find the language that works for you and make it a part of your practice. Maybe you like the nice ring that Dr. Topol’s turn of phrase has: “the patient will see you now.”

How to Digitize Your Practice in 4 Easy Steps – Part 4: Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe


The number of customers affected by data breaches in the healthcare industry this past year have been staggering:

  • Anthem Blue Cross: 80 million customers affected
  • Premera Blue Cross: 11 million customers affected
  • Community Health Systems: 4.5 million customers affected

The Anthem breach, the biggest one yet, is expected to have damages that exceed its $100 million insurance policy.

That kind of money is quite attractive to thieves. According to PwC, the private information attackers were after can command $1,300 per patient record on the black market.

Between electronic medical records and bring your own device trends (or “shadow-IT”), the transition from paper files to tablets, and a whole host of other “digitizing” practices are changing how we view patient privacy.

The process of securing your patient’s data can be daunting – especially if you’re a small business without an IT department.

However, the fact is that in the majority of these breaches, both within and outside the healthcare industry, implementing well-known security measures could have prevented these attacks from happening in the first place.

Securing your data with these measures is a must if you want to avoid a data breach – even the smallest breach for a small business can be enough to send it into bankruptcy.

A full explanation of all these measures requires a certified security engineer. While they may be pricey, it’s well worth the money.

But like implementing any piece of technology, you should never go into the security contracting process without knowing some of the industry lingo to help you understand what is being recommended to you.

Here’s some of the measures your security engineer may tell you about:


These are hardware or software devices that filter traffic based on certain criteria such as where the traffic is going, where it is coming from, and what kind of traffic it is. Most routers these days come with a firewall built in, but to get full protection it should be configured by a security professional.

Intrusion Detection and Protection System:

These are devices that are placed across your computer network that are able to detect and/or react to cyber attacks. There are a few different types of IDPSs based on whether they just detect an attack or whether they detect and respond (passive vs. active), whether they sit on a networking device like a router or on the host system like your desktop computer (network vs. host), and how they analyze the traffic (knowledge based vs. behavior based). This last one is of special importance, as one security analyst said that a behavior based (aka anomaly analysis) IDPS could have prevented the Anthem attack. Whereas a knowledge based system utilizes a library of known attacks to determine if the network traffic is friend or foe, a behavioral-based system looks to see if the traffic is deviating from normal traffic patterns.


This is a process of using letters, numbers, and mathematical formulas to make your data unreadable to outsiders. There are thousands of different encryption techniques and technologies. For instance, HTTPS, which is a secure internet protocol, you probably use everyday. If you have any kind of patient data, there are probably legal requirements that say it should be encrypted – and if not, you should be encrypting anyways. Encryption is one of the simplest ways to make sure your patient data stays private.

Penetration testing:

Penetration testing is when a professional versed in information security attempts to hack into your network. They’re looking for all the vulnerabilities that hackers would be looking for in an attempt to compromise your data security. After their hack, testers will give you a report of all the weak points in your computer and network security, allowing you to patch them and prevent the bad guys from getting your important information.


This is the process of confirming that the user is exactly who they say they are. The most well known authentication process is submitting a username and password to log on to your computer. The general rule of them is that the more levels of authentication, the more secure your data will be (the harder it is to impersonate an authorized user). So for example, in addition to a username and password, many companies (especially in the defense industry), will also require the user to swipe their ID card into a reader attached to the computer or scan their thumbprint.

I know a lot of these technical terms may be overwhelming – but there is a good piece of news when it comes to creating a secure environment for your data. While technical controls get all the attention in the news, they will never be as important as good policy and human resource controls.

A few of these include:

  • Training users about how to detect and protect themselves from common cyber attacks (like phishing and downloading viruses and other malware)
  • Conducting the appropriate background checks on new hires
  • Utilizing secure work practices like separation of duties and task rotation
  • Making regular security reviews/audits a core part of your business
  • Limiting employee access to important patient data on a strict need-to-know basis

So now you’re ready to really protect your patient’s valuable information. Patient privacy and security is extremely important, so arming yourselves with knowledge is the first line of defense against security breaches and attacks. The next step is to find a security engineer consultant to help you implement all the security measures we just addressed.

That concludes our four part series on how to digitize your practice. We hope that this information has been informative and useful as you start on your journey to digitizing your practice.

How to Digitize Your Practice in 4 Easy Steps – Part 3: Get Your Share of the Data Gold Mine

The term “open source” is thrown around a lot these days, especially when mentioned alongside the names of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. But despite it’s deeply technological roots, you don’t have to be a software genius to take advantage of all the benefits open source can provide.

Briefly speaking, open source (and open data) means allowing public access to programming source code (the building blocks of computer software and applications) and data sets.

One of the most popular examples of open source development is the Linux operating system. This is an operating system that has been around since the early 90’s, but has developed hundreds of varieties as both professional and amateur programmers are able to access the original source code and customize the operating system to suit their own needs (and the best part – it’s free!).

A good example of open data is New York City’s open data program. You can go here to find just about every kind of data piece imaginable about the city, from restaurant health inspection grades to a list of all licensed taxi drivers and the average daily inmate population of the city’s jails.

For the healthcare industry, the primary benefits of open development have to do with data sharing and opening everything to everyone. Think about it: there are trillions of bits of medical data being collected everyday, from the newest invention in the Internet of Things, to the traditional research being conducted by Universities and pharmaceutical companies across the world. Like New York City’s data sets, these can be combined by individual practices, hospitals, etc. to come up with new insights into their own businesses and the healthcare industry in general.

So how exactly does this help you?

Imagine using Google data of the top health searches in your area for specific marketing and ad campaigns to bring in more clients. Or, using the latest research data from multiple health disciplines to come up with unique, holistic solutions to common health problems you’re seeing in your practice. You can even share your own data with other practices to increase patient awareness on topics of concern.

Of course if you’re like any law-abiding provider, your first concern about all this data sharing is the privacy of your patients. The aggregate information method of data sharing uses a collection of personal data with all identifying information removed. This is the safest way to use data without compromising the privacy of patients. If you plan on using or distributing patient data, make sure that it is completely scrubbed of all identifying information, lest you open yourself up to lawsuits and legal investigations.

The other way to use open development is by utilizing the open source code that is planted across the internet. With the right skill set, you can utilize this code to create and customize your own applications.

You can find open source code for just about everything these days, it’s all a matter of figuring out what you want to build, finding the code, and then finding a programmer to tailor it for you.

This concludes part three in our 4-part Digitize Your Practice series. In the conclusion of the series, we’ll look into the biggest concern your patients have when it comes to digitizing your practice: their privacy.

Yellow Lines on a Hedgehog; or How Healthcare Innovators Can Win the Future

hedgehog_roadThere is an expectation in our culture right now that healthcare providers can be better, cheaper, faster, safer, more empathetic, more equitable and more efficient.

Tall order. What will it take to make such a fundamental set of shifts from the status quo? Or, to paraphrase an expression used by U.S. President Barack Obama, what will it take for healthcare innovators to win the future?

Health technology leaders gathered in Chicago this week for a summit facilitated by Becker’s Review. Billed as a “CIO/HIT Summit”, the event played out as a series of conversations in which peers shared their experiences, vented their frustrations, and talked about the kinds of strategies, tools and partnerships that will help healthcare providers get better.

Senior executives from world-leading institutions like the Stanford and University of Chicago medical centers participated, and leaders with highly-regarded regional medical centers like the University of Mississippi, Christus Health, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, and the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Texas made up the majority of those on more than 25 expert panels. Allscripts, Inc. CEO Paul Black brought a critical perspective on a panel as well and there were numerous players with insights about mobile technology including Everseat co-founders Dr. Brian Kaplan and CEO Jeff Peres.

When professional conferences are at their best, there is a real exchange of ideas in addition to exchange of business cards, and a sense of common rather than competing interests emerges. That spirit of co-creation is the basis of beginning to feel like real change is possible, and like true innovation might actually occur. The following are three themes that came through loud and clear in Chicago at the Summit:

(1)    The time may really be arriving to put patients first.

Cynics may not believe it but leaders in the provider community understand perhaps better than ever that they need to put patients first. As our own co-founder Dr. Brian Kaplan puts it, “The entire healthcare industry has been focused on how the players communicate with each other. A 180 degree shift is underway in which the focus will be on how we connect with our patients.”

(2)    Mobile technology is about to explode and will touch everything.

Remember when a website was just a website? The CIO of a large health system observed that 2016 will be for mobile what 1996 was for the internet itself. The mobile revolution will not just take place inside the hospital. It may happen even more rapidly in the relationship between provider and patient, simply because patients will demand it.

(3)    Leadership means partnership.

The rapid pace of change means no organization can manage its way forward without strategic, durable partnerships. There is a robust community of innovative organizations that see technology as a way to make people healthier. You can afford to specialize if you have partners whose specialties complement your own.

Yale New Haven Medical Center’s Chief Information Officer Daniel Barchi made everyone laugh with the photo of a freshly painted double yellow line that runs right over the carcass of fresh road-kill, probably a hedgehog. Barchi warned against the kind of narrow thinking that can hold back progress and make us do some pretty stupid things. Barchi was talking of course about the line painting crew, but none of us wants to be the hedgehog either.

Your Next Doctor Appointment Will Be Done by Your Dishwasher

Imagine a medical assistant with the bedside manner of a microwave but the intelligence of 400 Einsteins.

And while you don’t have to pay him, you do  have to pay for him, and he is kind of an energy hog. Is that someone you’d want to have on your staff?


His name is Watson, and he’s one of the most advanced pieces of artificially intelligent software in the world. Whether you’re ready for him or not, he just inked several big deals to make his way into medical care offices across the world.

Watson is one of the biggest projects to come out of the computer giant IBM to date, but it may surprise you to know that Watson was originally developed not for medical practices or physics problems, but to compete on Jeopardy!

Watson was first introduced in 2011 to compete against two of Jeopardy’s biggest winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson had two matches against these human competitors, and amassed $112,881, more than 3 times the earnings of the 2nd place winner Brad Rutter[1]. You can see him competing here:

To put Watson’s power into perspective, consider this[2]:
Watson has access to 4 terabytes worth of data. Compare this to Apollo 11, which used about 4 kilobytes of data. 4 terabytes = about 4 billion kilobytes, which means Watson uses a billion times more data than the first mission to the moon!
Or, for a more modern comparison, the iPhone 5 can store 64 GB worth of data — about 62 times less than Watson’s 4000 GBs.
If you think the storage capacity is insane, look at the processing stats — while the Apollo 11 computer had a 1 megaHertz processor, Watson has a 2,625,000 gigaHertz processing engine.
Again to bring that back to a 2015 comparison, the iPhone 5 works with a mere 1.3 gigaHertz processor.

Apollo 11's guidance computer
Apollo 11’s guidance computer

The leap to practical applications was only natural — if this supercomputer could outplay humans in Jeopardy, what else could it do?

Watson’s first foray into the healthcare field was as a decision support application for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City:

  • When utilizing Memorial Sloan Kettering’s unmatched breadth and depth of experience, gained from treating more than 30,000 patients with cancer every year, Watson will take information about a specific patient and match it to a huge knowledge base incorporating published literature and the treatment history of similar patients. Watson’s ability to mine massive quantities of data means that it can also keep up — at record speeds — with the latest medical breakthroughs reported in scientific journals and medical meetings. Additionally, because it utilizes cognitive computing, Watson continually “learns,” thereby improving its accuracy and confidence in the treatment options it suggests.[3]

That 400-Einstein-sized “brain” of Watson’s is able to take a patient’s unique health profile and tailor both diagnostic and treatment options to deliver the best medical outcome to them. The applications for this kind of decision support are limitless — even the simplest health problems have hundreds of factors that go into their diagnosis and treatments. Watson is able to take a lot of the guesswork out of these medical decisions, reducing the chance of a misdiagnosis or providing the wrong treatment.

So that begs the question — what does this mean for the medical professional?

First of all, you don’t have to worry about robots taking over your job anytime soon. While machines may be better at accessing information, they’re still a long way off from being able to tell patients how to best utilize that information.

Machines also can’t deliver the kind of professional bedside manner or social and moral support that human doctors can. There’s something about talking with a doctor about your medical problem that helps to relieve a lot of stress and anxiety about it.

Despite our best efforts to stay strong in the face of things like cancer and Alzheimer’s, it helps more than we think to hear the calm and collected voice of an experienced physician instead of the cold robotic diagnosis of an advanced supercomputer.

Only time will tell to what extent we’ll see supercomputers and artificial intelligence in your practice and in our lives.

I for one plan on embracing the robot love.

Yours in tech,

Ken Swearengen

P.S. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any greater, it turns out Watson is a philanthropist as well. As the Christian Post reports:
[Watson’s builder] IBM had announced in January that 100 percent of its $1 million prize from “Jeopardy” would go to charity. Half went to World Vision and the other half went to World Community Grid, a nonprofit that seeks to build the world’s largest public computing grid benefiting humanity.


Telehealth & mHealth for Acute Care? There’s a Bunch of Apps for That

Healthcare mobilization (mHealth) is a growing trend, and one that is beneficial for both providers and patients. Healthcare is becoming increasingly available to patients whenever and wherever they need it.  It is an important tool for many situations – for those that need to go to the doctor often, or those that can’t find the time for even their yearly checkups, or for those mishaps that sometimes happen:

There are two groups in particular that have seen a greater need for this type of service – patients with chronic conditions and those with mental health issues. Programs in Colorado, Iowa and New York have already paved the way of this new type of patient care.

Telehealth for Chronic Conditions

Health apps, monitoring systems with Bluetooth capabilities, and electronic health records have granted patients the ability to pull their health history online, or get a helpful tip for their chronic condition in the form of a text message. Chronic conditions range from having a mostly normal life to needing assistance to get through the day. Through telehealth, a doctor can offer a busy mom with a mild chronic condition the personal touch of a video chat to check in. Or, a grandfather suffering severe pain and his caretaker who needs to weight in can have a consultative video conference with his doctor. All without causing patients any of the undue pain of travel or the discomfort of a waiting room.

On March 22, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado signed a bill into law expanding telehealth services, which began in 2008. The telehealth service in Colorado provides subsidized broadband connectivity to 200 physical and behavioral healthcare sites. Providers have advocated for virtual care for patients to help with:

  • Managing chronic conditions.
  • Educating on diseases and home treatment.
  • Answering health-related maintenance advice from home.

The University of Iowa’s eHealth Extension Network began a similar initiative a year ago, after receiving a nearly $500,000 grant to bring needed equipment to rural healthcare facilities throughout Iowa. This includes telehealth carts, equipped with high quality video conferencing and cloud-based image sharing which will allow for better telehealth services to those who cannot get to their healthcare providers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vislick said this investment meant that “people who live and work in rural areas will not have to travel long distances for specialized healthcare services.”

The more access we give to these patients through the convenience of their mobile phones, the more we can bring comfort to those with chronic conditions.

mHealth Services for Mental Health

Chronic conditions are not the only group that has seen a great need for this type of technology. People with mental diseases need greater and easier access to help, such as that offered in New York City.

TXT ME is a new campaign launched in New York City for teens that struggle with ailments such as substance abuse or depression. This pilot was the brainchild of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 20-year-old daughter, Chiara, who has seen these struggles herself: “I know from personal experience that reaching out when you’re in pain can be the turning point – the first step on the road to recovery.”

Simply text “TXT ME” to the helpline and a counselor will respond via text. They provide compassionate services, actively participate in the teen’s concerns, and help them get through whatever they need. They can also look up local counselors in the teen’s area to provide more help or face-to-face encounters. Technology has often been criticized for taking away some humanity from our day-to-day, however, programs like TXT ME take advantage of technology by offering care for those that need it.

Keeping Patient Care Focused on the Patient

Patients in need of acute care can especially benefit from the growing popularity and possibility of personal care through technology. Making services more easily available to these patients can lessen the chance of chronic pain or a mental health issue going untreated. And while telehealth and mHealth are valuable for practices, healthcare and technology are pushing the focus to the convenience and comfort of the patients.

Right now, rapidly changing technology is directly affecting healthcare. Healthcare is also changing through legislation. Telehealth has been caught in the crossfire, with many people supporting covering telehealth– particularly those in defense of the elderly on Medicare – because it allows for the personal touch, without the cost or time of travel for the patient or doctor. To protect these patients, bringing technology to personal care is becoming better regulated all the time to mitigate the chances of privacy, or data errors.

As technology continues to advance, we will certainly see an increase of these trends. Hopefully, with more initiatives focusing on the specialized, ongoing needs of those with chronic conditions and those with mental health issues. mHealth and telehealth services are working towards the same goal: helping patients find the appointments and care they need faster and easier.

The “Uberization” Healthcare

Just as the driver-passenger dynamic shifted in the taxi industry with such mobile app-based transportation networks as Uber, so too will the caregiver-patient dynamic shift in healthcare.

In a speech delivered at MD&M West in February, Stuart Karten, the president of the product innovation consultancy Karten Design, predicted the “Uberization” of healthcare: “While medical technology lags behind consumer technology development due to more regulatory oversight, the Uber model is becoming analogous to what we are currently seeing at our design firm: more and more companies come to us in an effort to ‘disrupt’ existing models.”

It would seem that passengers and patients aren’t so different. Both are consumers, after all—people who expect to get what they want when they want it. As was the case for the taxicab model in the transportation industry, the current appointment-making model in healthcare is inefficient, not mobile, often times even unpleasant for the consumer.

Mobile technology had existed for more than a decade before Uber entered the fray, but the taxi industry had simply refused to accept it. Times are different now, but big change is rarely recognized right away. “Healthcare hasn’t yet seen its version of Uber,” said Karten, “But the signs are there: within the next decade, Uber-like companies will emerge.”

But what are the signs? They are manifested in two main forces that are presently transforming healthcare: cultural forces—as seen in the need of an aging population for daily management and care, as well as in Accountable Care’s pressure on many healthcare systems to quantify and measure results; and socio-economic forces—as seen in the widespread connectivity that has emerged across all economic classes in recent years. Today, some 6.9 billion cell phones are estimated to be in use worldwide—that’s up from 2 billion about a decade ago, according to Wireless Intelligence.

Products like Everseat stem from a culmination of these forces coupled with the growing consumer demand for access. Trends show more and more people want to become actively engaged in their own healthcare. Now patients expect to be able to research their doctors, access their own health data, or monitor symptoms quickly & easily.

The shift begins now. As Karten says, “Just as Uber has demonstrated with putting the passenger first, ignoring the patient will be fatal for health solutions companies: they will be the new taxi drivers, baffled by how the world has passed them by.”