There are a number of leading indicators pointing to a pending explosion in consumer demand for online medical care. From comic strips to industry reports, people are wondering why they cant just see a doctor online.
Many of us dont have fond memories of our doctors visits. Calling and trying to get an appointment around our work and family schedules, usually several days later- the trip and the wait before we even see the doctor- and most times, the doctor is only evaluating for a few minutes before writing our prescription, or prescribing a referral for a specialist. Going to the doctor is a hassle, and it’s not getting any easier.
It’s hard to not consider the access crisis coming in 2014. In American Wells home state of Massachusetts, 86.6 percent of residents were insured before Romney Care. When the mandate went into effect in 2008, the percentage of lives covered rose to 94.2 percent. Not a huge correction, but enough to drastically alter the patient experience. Prior to the mandate, it took an average of 33 days for a patient to see a new PCP when they were symptomatic. Post mandate, the average wait time to see a doctor when sick was a whopping average of 50 days an astonishing delay. Similarly, before the mandate, 64% of PCPs were accepting new patients. Now, however, that number is down nearly 30%.
With 30-40 million new patients flooding the gates in 2014 and beyond, we need technology to meet the demand, and bridge the gap between patient and provider. There has never been a better time to turn to technology for a solution than now.