Have You Met Healthcare’s New Boss?

By: Christine Dura

With a complicated and inefficient healthcare system, consumers are taking control — and they aren’t afraid to go to non-traditional healthcare models for treatment.

The U.S. healthcare system has been slow to accept that the consumer is now Boss. That was the finding of a survey conducted by Strategy& back in 2014. “The research paints a clear picture of a population displeased with its overall healthcare experience — and with rising expectations for transparency, value and customer service, as well as a willingness to seek healthcare services from less traditional sources — the healthcare market as we know it is being upended, and the consumer is in the driver’s seat,” writes the report.

Fast-forward four years later, and we find Strategy&’s report is still on point. The U.S. healthcare system is what many call complicated, inefficient and ineffective. To help tackle the issues, in January 2017, the healthcare system began reforming how providers are paid. Instead of a volume-based model, providers are now paid on a value-based payment model dependent on the quality and effectiveness of the care they provide. In response, many practices are transitioning to a patient-centered care model where the patient comes first.

This change, coupled with the “on-demand consumer” technology has birthed, is allowing consumers to make better and more informed buying decisions in both insurer and clinician selection. Consumers know the power they hold and are taking charge, playing a greater role in their healthcare management.

The Deloitte 2016 Consumer Priorities in Healthcare Survey found consumers “are demanding greater personalization; transparency in network coverage, medical prices and bills; convenience; and more engaging digital experiences and capabilities. From doctor’s appointments to lab visits and even hospitalizations, consumers seek high-quality service tailored to their specific needs from healthcare providers and administrative staff.”

And according to the Strategy& study, “Consumers, particularly younger ones, increasingly expect healthcare to work the way other digital markets work, with user-friendly interfaces, clearly defined pricing and a wide selection of options designed to meet their needs. Their other buying experiences have made them more savvy and skeptical, and they want to know what they’re getting before they spend,” says the report.

Welcome to the “age of the healthcare consumer.”

The dissatisfaction in the healthcare system and the demand for omnichannel customer experience healthcare is creating healthcare business opportunities to better meet the demands of engaged consumers.  These consumers are open to newer, non-traditional healthcare models that offer quality care, benefits and lower cost in a faster and more efficient manner.

One of the fastest-growing healthcare business opportunities is the urgent care market. In the past five years, urgent care industry growth has been fueled by many factors, including rising costs, long wait times and a shortage of primary care physicians. Visits to urgent care centers increased 19 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to Accenture. The model: treat patients with minor injuries and illnesses as quickly as possible — usually in 30 minutes or less.

However, urgent care centers rarely, if ever, employ specialists.  Because of that, healthcare professionals and smart business executives have realized a new healthcare business opportunity in specialized urgent care. Think of it as the next generation of urgent care.

One such healthcare business opportunity is in orthopedics. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, musculoskeletal ailments have surpassed the common cold as the number one reason for physician visits in the United States. The U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative adds that one in two adults (126.6 million Americans) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition, costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages.

The orthopedic healthcare system has created the “perfect storm” for medical practitioners to visualize and create alternative healthcare delivery models: specialized care centers that provide convenience, affordability and timeliness, all while creating/building a successful business model.

OrthoNOW, the nation’s only franchised network of orthopedic urgent care, is proving this new model works. Staffed by orthopedic specialists, these state-of-the art walk-in centers have become an attractive option to the ER for convenience, cost and treatment opportunity for orthopedic and sports injuries.

Further, a 12-month study by the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, and Reno Orthopaedic Clinic in Reno, NV, of an orthopedic urgent care clinic in Reno concluded that the specialized urgent care model improves patients’ access to care while saving them money. The study also found that the average wait time to be seen by a provider was 17 minutes compared with 45 minutes in a hospital ER. The charge for an orthopedic urgent care visit was $461 compared with $8,150 in a hospital emergency department. During the course of the study, orthopedic urgent care treatment reduced charges to the healthcare system by $97,819,458.

With six centers located in Florida, Georgia and Michigan, and another 44 franchises under development, the OrthoNOW franchise model is an attractive healthcare business opportunity for healthcare professionals and enterprising businesspeople looking for an open-ended franchise opportunity.

Healthcare business opportunities like OrthoNOW are poised to take significant market share as consumers push for the healthcare market to grow and evolve.

Christine has over 25 years of quantifiable executive management and franchise related leadership experience within the US and internationally with notable franchise startups in the service, technology, retail, food, health and wellness, financial service, medical care, technology and professional services.   As a Senior Franchise Executive and Entrepreneur, Ms. Dura has been both an individual contributor and has successfully led world-class teams.

Ms. Dura excels at partnering with all core business operations to significantly increase the company’s foot print, expand market share, and generate sustainable revenue and EBIT gains.  Her proven successes, combined with her Master Degree in Training and Development, have shaped Ms. Dura’s uncanny ability to identify opportunities, build mutually rewarding partnerships and produce remarkable results. 

In addition, as a four-time Master and Unit Franchise Owner, Ms. Dura is in a very unique position to leverage her experiences and reputation at all levels in franchising along with her vast personal and professional investor network to drive immediate and long term results.   As OrthoNOW’s Chief Development Officer her role is to identify critical gaps in franchise growth and implement strategies to drive results. Her unique background allows her to leverage past experiences and solid reputation to spearhead OrthoNOW’s national expansion plans.