Great post by Lisa Suennen this week on the two different worlds of acute disease care and aesthetic medicine. It reminds us that there are really two quite distinct worlds in the US healthcare universe:
- the world of aesthetic medicine (various elective dermatological procedures; cosmetic surgery, LASIK, and the like), in which by and large patients pay their own bills; and in which customer service is an important competitive advantage for the clinician; and
- the world of conventional, acute-care medicine (and primary care), in which patients believe they should have to pay nothing (they expect insurance to cover everything); and in which “customer service” is a foreign concept.
Reading Lisa’s post stimulated these additional thoughts.
Patients don’t pay for stuff?
Those of us in the medical device business have learned from bitter experience that patients don’t pay for stuff, and that “reimbursement” is an important business milestone in commercializing a new therapy or diagnostic. But, in the aesthetic world this is not the case. So, perhaps this truism needs to be reconsidered, and perhaps with a different business model or payer model, patients would indeed pay for acute or chronic care?
Customer service is one of three important metrics
Customer service is one metric by which we can measure the “quality” of an encounter with the healthcare system. As I thought more about that, I decided there are two other metrics that seem relevant: “quality of care” and “cost effectiveness” (I believe these are different metrics). Different people will care more about one or other of these three metrics. And most likely you can’t maximize all three of these metrics simultaneously.
As we think about optimizing our healthcare system, I believe we need to be clear which combination of these metrics we are trying to optimize. More about this topic soon.