What Healthcare Needs is a Genius Bar Approach

If anyone has set the bar for the customer experience of the future, it’s film director Steven Spielberg.  In his science fiction film, Minority Report, Spielberg hired futurists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to reimagine our world in 2054.  In one scene, Tom Cruise walks into The Gap, where a retina scan identifies him and prompts a hologram of a store greeter to suggest personalized fashion tips.

Fifteen years after the film’s release, retail and tech blogs are finally predicting the arrival of Minority Report-type shopping experiences, activated by smartphone apps, wireless technology and in-store targeting.  Retailers are preparing to serve us tailored offers, style advice and even refreshments based on our preferences from the moment we walk through the door, providing us with a seamless integration of physical and virtual shopping.

It sounds amazing.  So why can’t healthcare providers make our doctor’s visit a more personalized experience?

For most of us, a visit to the doctor is defined by waiting.  Waiting to sign-in, waiting in the waiting room, then waiting in the exam room.

Another challenge is communication.  When our doctor arrives, we typically end up talking to his or her back while they type into the electronic medical record (EMR).

Imagine a doctor’s visit that’s on-demand and intuitive to your concerns.  One that merges your care, insurance and prescriptions into one seamless experience.

The experience certainly doesn’t put us at ease.  And those feelings can inhibit us from sharing our health concerns.  A study published in Health Affairs found that even affluent, educated people can struggle to share their health concerns and symptoms or their opinions on treatment options due to feelings of vulnerability and fear.  That leads to missed opportunities and worse outcomes.

At the end of the visit, what’s waiting for many of us is another trip, to the pharmacy for our prescription.

Instead, imagine a doctor’s visit that’s on-demand and intuitive to your concerns.  One that merges your care, insurance and prescriptions into one seamless experience.

You’d schedule your appointment online, the way you reserve time to visit the Apple Genius Bar.  And like the Genius Bar, if your doctor’s running late you’d get a text so you can adjust your schedule.

Upon arrival, you’d sign in at a kiosk with your thumbprint.  Your insurance information would already be on file.  Your co-pay, automatically deducted from your bank account.

Thanks to “smart scheduling,” the doctor really would see you now.  He’d download your blood pressure, exercise and meal history, and sleep records from your smartwatch into the EMR.  And because you gave your doctor permission to view your Google Health searches, he’d have a jump on your health concerns, so the conversation would be easier.

Thanks to voice recognition EMR, you’d discuss treatment options face-to-face with your doctor.  And forget that trip to the pharmacy.  Your prescription would be delivered to your home later that day, thanks to your health care provider’s store on Amazon Pharmacy.

Sound like science fiction?  Well, some healthcare innovators are working today to make it a reality.

Forget that trip to the pharmacy. Your prescription would be delivered to your home later that day, thanks to your health care provider’s store on Amazon Pharmacy.

According to a report in Crain’s New York Business, the startup insurance provider, Oscar Health, opened its first tech-savvy “Oscar Center” in downtown Brooklyn at the end of 2016, offering its New York-based members full-service primary care.  Patients are met by a greeter.  They sign in on an iPad.  And they don’t have to provide their insurance information or medical history — it’s already in the system.

“We want to think of this as a Genius Bar experience,” said Dr. Harry Ritter, Oscar’s Vice President of Care Delivery.  What makes it possible is data integration.  “You can’t rebuild the user experience unless you make it end-to-end,” adds Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mario Schlosser, who believes using technology, design and data is the secret to humanizing and simplifying healthcare.

Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle to modernizing the patient experience is breaking the barriers to an integrated data network.  We face an archaic system where hospitals, insurers and pharmacies have built their own separate data networks, and none of them seem to talk to each other – or us.

Creating a better patient experience depends on the disruptive healthcare innovators that will truly integrate insurance, care, technology and drug delivery.  Our reward will be a doctor visit that’s at least as good as the Genius Bar.


This article originally appeared on Huffington Post and Advertising Week