The costs of healthcare and healthcare insurances are ballooning and, the feeding frenzy of a fee-for-service model is unsustainable whatever taxation increases are proposed.
A digital health platform connecting consumers/patients with doctors/providers is an attractive matchmaker since the platform connecting consumers with services has worked well for nearly every other industry in this digital age.
The value of digital health to the patient is cost transparency, choice, no need for referrals, use on an as needed basis and, open online 24/7. It is of particular value to those without health insurance, those who choose not to have insurance or, those who have insurance but where services like cosmetic procedures are typically not covered.
The value to the physician/provider is payment within 24 hours of service, free marketing, no claims denial, no claims review, no lost claims, no need for pre-authorizations, no billing costs etc., etc.
This business model could be a win-win for both patient and physician. However, the digital healthcare field is severely impacted by a minefield of state and federal laws creating many potential legal issues. From HIPPA to corporate practice laws, fee-splitting laws, self-referral, anti-kickback laws and patient inducement laws, the list goes on and on.
Many of these legal issues represent significant barriers to digital healthcare innovation and, come at the expense of both patients and physicians. Although a cost-transparent healthcare model can help rein in the runaway costs of medical care, the rate-limiting step in digital health innovation and, in urgent need of reform, seems to be healthcare law.