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Competition to HelloHealth?

by John Moore | June 01, 2009

webdoctorfeeThe media darling, Jay Parkinson and his company, HelloHealth, may have some competition.  While Jay and company are promoting the HelloHealth brand and its attraction to the media, young immortals and Health 2.0 groupies, a young pediatrician has developed her own take on the doc who does house calls.

Natalie Hodge, a pediatrician who has now moved to, where else, Silicon Valley has started her own company, Personal Pediatrics that appears to have a very similar model to HelloHealth or MDVIP for that matter (although MDVIP is less about tech and more about concierge model), leveraging mobile tech, cloud computing and providing concierge like services to customers (parents).  Unlike HelloHealth though, when cruising through the Personal Pediatrics website, one finds a lot of vapor trails and not much real substance. Natalie and her future team (does not look there is one in place today) have their work cut out for them.

But looking beyond Personal Pediatrics or HelloHealth, one has to wonder, is this where healthcare is headed and if yes, are we now putting in place the policies to support these new innovative care models and the technologies that will support them?

In answer to the first question, service models such as HelloHealth, Personal Pediatrics and others will have a place in US healthcare, but it will be small and limited to those with limited insurance, those with no insurance who can afford the service, some with high deductable health plans with an HSA and those who can afford/expect personalized service (wealthy). Sum total ~10-15% of the population.

The second question is more difficult to answer. Based on what we have seen to date in various public discussions of HHS policy pundits it appears not, as HHS is focusing on the dominant payer-driven model that is prevalent in healthcare today.  Hopefully, HHS will put provisions in future policies that allow for new models such as these and the technologies they leverage an opportunity to develop.

More info on concierge medicine:

Came across this post by a cancer survivor who relates his own struggles as to whether or not to follow his doc of 17 yrs into the concierge care model where he and his wife will have to pick up a substantial portion of the bill.

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