Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Another Nail

Good news from an Insurer in today’s readings:

Health insurer Anthem plans to launch a new mobile app that will enable its 40 million members to get quicker access to personalized health information and treatment options.
Through the app, members also will be able to text with a doctor at a lower cost than visiting a physician's office.”

Well good news for the patient, but it is another nail in the coffin for the Primary Care Physician.

Anthem is using an app, called CareSpree, which will allow patients the ability to put in their symptoms and through AI receive possible diagnosis. Anthem incorporated technology from a digital health company, K Health, to create an artificial intelligence that will offer potential diagnosis based on historic data from medical records. It will take into account the users’ medical history, age, and gender.

The app will enable Anthem members to see how doctors have diagnosed and treated other patients experiencing similar symptoms. The health information is provided at no cost. Patients can then connect with a doctor via text for follow-up advice for less than the cost of a copay, according to the companies.”

As a Manager in Medical Offices, a major complaint from patients was the cost of their appointment for a simple diagnosis. I explained that the cost for the appointment is based on many factors, one of which was the physician’s time and expertise in diagnosing their problem. In terms of coding, this is called “medical decision making”. In essence, you are paying for the knowledge of a physician that he/she is utilizing in your medical care.

Anthem has removed that cost by creating an AI that has all the knowledge of your doctor and hundreds of others.

Allon Bloch, CEO and co-founder of K Health, summed it up best:

We developed a platform that allows us to use real data from the real world to offer potential diagnosis and treatment options and that costs less than a primary care visit today”.

Now a patient can, in real time, utilize the app to diagnose their symptoms, text with a doctor about treatments and receive a prescription if needed, schedule a follow up appointment with a specialist and even schedule labs and testing if the situation warrants it.

If this works as promised, it will be a game changer for the Private Practice Primary Care Physician. Urgent Cares, Walk-In Clinics, and the utilization of Mid-Level Providers (i.e. Nurse Practitioners) have already taken a toll on their patient base and finances. As another nail is pounded in, the next faster, cheaper, mode of delivering medical care is waiting around the corner, with another nail.
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