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May 18, 2009

Make Your Offering Less Painful

Recently our friend, Jessica Shambora, profiled a company called American Well in a Fortune article entitled “Paging Doctor Broadband”. American Well offers online health care by connecting individuals with doctors via the web with no appointment necessary. The service allows Doctors to practice anywhere and patients to receive treatment and consults anywhere and at anytime. Members pay be the minute while non-members pay a flat-rate session fee. American Well is also partnering with many insurance companies and health records management systems to make sure the experience is integrated and streamlined.

We saw this as another example of companies trying to find interesting ways to make health care less painful.

We have written about a similar though smaller scale company before, Hello Health
, based in Williamsburg, Bk. Distinctions include the addition of an in-person practice but virtual management of the appointment process. Hello Health also is designed for those that are uninsured and offers flat-rate services that are akin to consultant or therapist fees.

Another company that has sought to reduce the frustration of finding and making doctor’s appointments is ZocDoc
, which allows you to search multiple criteria to search across multiple doctors to find available appointment times that meet your needs. (note: ZocDoc is only in NY for now).

, (recently profiled by SpringWise) allows you to reserve a place “in line” at the ER so that you can avoid waiting in the waiting room (note: only available in a few test markets).
The Carrot
allows you to intuitively track health related information (diet, medicines, symptoms, etc.).

And this just barely scratches the surface!
While this speaks volumes about the future of health care (cool, can’t wait) it also offers lots of ideas that can be adopted by other service businesses.
* For example, could you offer virtual services on an as-needed basis? Hannah Clark Steiman recently posted about New Box Thinking,
a PR help Desk for small business owners, that does!
* What are the painful parts about your industry or offering?
* What can you do to change them?

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