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  • Writer's pictureStephen Randall

The Uberfication Of Healthcare.

What Digital Disrupters Can Teach Us About Reinventing Healthcare.

Uber Health Ambulance

The rapid evolution of the digital economy, driven by companies like Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and Netflix, fundamentally changed the way we interact with traditional services. These “digital disrupters” reimagined and reinvented entire industries. We’ve been hearing for decades that healthcare stands on the brink of a digital transformation, so what’s holding it back? Maybe we can learn from adjacent markets and business models, how a more accessible, efficient, and patient-centric healthcare market will actually be disrupted.

One of the key lessons from digital disrupters is the value of a frictionless user experience.  Modern digital platforms prioritize ease of use, from the initial search to the final transaction - from “clicks to bricks”. Healthcare providers can adopt similar strategies by designing intuitive, user-friendly interfaces for patient portals, telehealth platforms and any other healthcare touch points. Patients expect and should be able to book appointments, access medical records, and communicate with healthcare providers with the same ease they book a ride or find a movie to watch. Too many healthcare applications look like they were designed for MS-DOS!

But ease of use is not enough. The experience also needs to be engaging AND valuable if not more than the one it is replacing. For example, by enabling a full suite of clinical services and exams over digital channels. i.e. not just Facetime with a doctor but something that approximates and can replace some in-person visits.


One of the key lessons from digital disrupters is the value of a frictionless user experience.


This model can drastically reduce wait times and improve health outcomes, particularly in rural or emergency situations or for patients with chronic conditions who need regular, timely interventions. This not only improves patient satisfaction and outcomes, but the ease and frequency of engagement also encourages compliance and reduces readmissions.

The success of Uber and Airbnb is partly due to network effects, where the value of the service increases as more people use it. Healthcare platforms are mainly siloed, and often designed to help the provider rather than the patient. Organizations such as Patients Like Me take a different approach, enabling patients to share information in order to gain knowledge and feel more in control and less stressed about their health. More healthcare organizations could learn from examples that foster behavioral change for the common good instead of staying behind closed systems.

Arguably, a crucial lesson from digital disrupters, is how they bypassed and "de-clawed" incumbent "toll-booths" - the traditional intermediaries that taxed old models. Uber disrupted the taxi industry by eliminating the need for centralized dispatch services and medallion systems, which had long controlled market entry and pricing. Similarly, Airbnb circumvented hotel chains and their associated fees, offering a decentralized model where individuals could rent out their homes.

Healthcare of course, has its own set of "toll-booths," so a direct-to-consumer model will ruffle features, but that won’t prevent companies like Amazon extending their direct-to-consumer healthcare solutions at scale. Incumbents might hope that disruption won’t happen on their watch, but rest assured, it is coming.


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