Take 2 Aspirin and Tweet Me in the Morning: How Twitter and Facebook Are Reshaping Health Care
HEALTH AFFAIRS -- If you want a glimpse of what health care could look like a few years from now, consider "Hello Health," the Brooklyn-based primary care practice that is fast becoming an emblem of modern medicine. A paperless, concierge practice that eschews the limitations of insurance-based medicine, Hello Health is popular and successful, largely because of the powerful and cost-effective communication tools it employs: Web-based social media. Indeed, across the health care industry, from large hospital networks to patient support groups, new media tools like weblogs, instant messaging platforms, video chat, and social networks are reengineering the way doctors and patients interact.
Let’s say you’re one of the 300 patients who’ve so far signed up to be part of Hello Health’s practice, for a basic "enrollment" fee of $35 a month. You’ve also developed a fever and wheezing that haven’t gone away for several days. You could send internist Dr. Sean Khozin an IM over the Hello Health network describing your symptoms and asking him for advice. A quick e-mail from Dr. Khozin would be free, but if a "cyber-visit" like this takes longer, that will be $50 to $100, please. If you need to come in to the office for a consultation, you’re guaranteed one within twenty-four hours. For as little as $150, a doctor will even come and see you at your home. Generic medications for acute problems, as well as lab tests that can be done in the clinic’s offices, are free. In effect, Hello Health is operating as a kind of "concierge" practice.
MP: While politicians and bureaucrats in Washington dream up the next grandiose government health care reform that would take years to implement, the most effective, affordable and convenient healthcare solution might be already available through your Web-based social media, email, video chat and IM.