Would you agree that TherapyBus could be a future business model, renovating the tardy and lethargic healthcare world? Disruption is to comprehensively destroy business models of the past and establish new, different ways instead. In today’s world these new, disruptive ways are “digital”.
The benefit applying digital tools is their almost endless, global, scalability. All for the sake of better patient-outcome. The major purpose using digital tools is to interconnect and integrate all people and stakeholder involved. This being said it may not be really surprising that digital giants are looking out to leverage competencies and tools in the largest market of each country’s economy: healthcare.
For more than a hundred years, the German railway system lived a comfortable life in its own ecological niche of long-distance transportation. This niche was guaranteed through a state-monopoly. The very day this market was deregulated in 2013, a company called Flixbus®, started its disruptive business: long-distance transportation by bus. Within the five years since this company is on the market, more than 100 million people have been moved by Flixbus® from A to B. It only took three years to make Flixbus® the main competitor of the German railway system. Today offering travel to 1,700 destinations, Flixbus customers have the choice from 300,000 connections, every day. The most remarkable thing with this bus-transportation company is: Flixbus® does not own a single bus. Whatever they need from the analogue world, is contracted in. The most prominent and relevant advantage is the fully digital business model and how they deal with and leverage digital technology. They are driven and focus on the best offer for their customers. This ”best offer” definitely reaches very far beyond price.
Can Flixbus® serve as a blueprint for healthcare?
Yes, it can! Let us try a working title and call it TherapyBus. Therapy starts, once a physician, supported by artificial intelligence, advanced imaging technologies, big data, blockchain, telehealth, and many other available tools, has identified the final diagnosis.
The most common start for therapy is a drug-prescription. In all regularity, this is the moment, when the close and multiple contact between physician and patient ends. From now on, patients and therapy suffer from the fact that they are left alone and on themselves. Thinking about diseases like asthma and COPD, high blood pressure, rheumatism or pain, et cetera, the vast majority of patients are abandoned, left alone in therapy. No one assists patients using devices, no one advises them when and where to take their medication, no one cares for their health-literacy, let alone is their someone who empowers them to better manage their individual health by themselves. Who empathetically asks a patient after a few days if the prescribed therapy improved their quality of life?
From a lot of research and even the WHO we know, that around 50% of all patients deliberately stop drug therapy at a given point in time. It is called secondary adherence. This pitfall or efficiency-trap wastes more time of healthcare professionals and more money of healthcare-systems and their payers, than anything else. Imagine if 50% of patients do not properly continue their therapy, preventing COPD exacerbations, reducing blood pressure to avoid stroke or infarction, side-stepping pain-memory by early treatment, et cetera, this means that 50% of all investments of healthcare-systems are in vain. It is not only the enormous waste of physician’s time and payer’s money. When a patient discontinues therapy, all the promises made by drugs and the drug-industry can never come true.
New business models like Flixbus®, are called disruptive. This means “comprehensively destroying the current business model by throwing past experience into disorder.” The centre of the Therapybus business-model is to cover everything that happens “post diagnosis”. In today’s healthcare world, therapy usually follows the standards of therapeutic guidelines. These guidelines today are globally applied and therefore require a global business concept. Once diagnosed, patients should be enrolled or better enrol themselves into a service, which is designed and fully dedicated to improving patient-outcome. The service will provide everything to keep the promise given by the physician and the drug industry: improve health and prolongate lives. The number of services adding value when rendered to patients in support of improved quality of life is huge. Who is going to disrupt the current healthcare-business and set up the TherapyBus resembling exactly this: comprehensive post-diagnosis care.
Following the experiences of disruptive business models in the recent past, a TherapyBus business most probably will not be established by one of those healthcare companies of today. Remember that Uber was not founded by a taxi company, AirBnB was not founded by a hotel group, YouTube was not founded by Warner Brothers, and FlixBus was not founded by a people-transportation company. In any case the founder of Therapybus will become a HealthcareShaper.