UC Berkeley and health entrepreneurs use crowdfunding and technology to bring innovative solutions to healthcare, and do some good in the process:
By Ryan McQuaid, Founder of PlushCare
I’ve observed over the past 3-4 years that technologists want doctors to do more for less or they want to throw an app or device at patients to make them healthy – neither of which are sustainable in the long term. I believe that both the doctor and the patient need to be engaged and rewarded to have a successful partnership in a patient’s care plan.
That’s why I started PlushCare in a lean startup curriculum sponsored by Professor Kurt Beyer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The final assignment was to market-test PlushCare on Indiegogo, which is an incredible tool to quickly and cheaply validate an idea and understand your customers (who they are, willingness to pay, why they want your service, do they want a variation, etc). This project is a perfect example of how our educational system has evolved from classroom learning to experiential learning.
With PlushCare, our Stanford-trained physicians maintain a relationship with their patients via email, phone or video chat for a very low fee (currently offered at $80 per year on Indiegogo). Through mobile technology, we estimate that we can diagnose and treat (prescribing medication when necessary) 70% of the reasons patients go into the physician office. For the remaining 30%, we will consult with the patient’s primary care provider directly prior to the patient’s arrival. In addition, we can provide referrals to laboratories and specialists, and play a more pro-active role in our patients’ health. For example, the average person looks at his or her phone 150 times per day; I believe we can help send the right message at the right time to keep our patients on-track with their wellness goals.
In the long-term, we envision ourselves as the logistics provider for healthcare. Come to us and we will guide you seamlessly through the health system and efficiently manage healthcare resources. For example, our analytics may be certain that you have a sinus infection and we will send an antibiotic to you at your office without the intervention of a human resource, or we may send you to a nearby mid level practitioner at a Walgreens or CVS healthcare clinic. Another example is utilizing temporary or permanent slacks in supply to fulfil excess demand in other geographic locations. In San Francisco, there is deficit in paediatricians, but with PlushCare we can help bring the supply and demand curves to equilibrium by utilizing paediatricians in the suburbs.
Furthermore, we want to make a positive impact on a global scale. Today, a child dies every 20 seconds from a preventable disease because he or she lacks the access to life saving immunizations that keep children healthy. That’s why for every PlushCare sign-up, we are providing one child a lifetime of immunity. Join our movement to increase access, convenience and affordability. #gethealthgivehealth