I stumbled on a fascinating long read about how New York Times revived itself- from the edge of brinksmanship to something of a powerhouse. It wasn’t a natural transformation, and in hindsight, they seemed to have achieved a lot.
I will not discuss how they did it. I only mean to draw parallels from the current state of healthcare and to a situation faced by the old school institution. (I don’t agree with their editorial stance). They made a pivot to the digital versions (mobile applications, podcasts, effective delivery of news) and are thriving by gaining in stature.
The newsrooms around the world are feeling the heat. Print subscriptions are declining while users expect the news to be given out for free. (Writing is a very tough proposition). Publications have to set up with ad networks that compensate for pitiful “impressions”. Social media dictates discovery through opaque algorithms. The real fight is for the viewers’ attention.
I am covering this cursorily because I don’t intend to accuse the newspapers- I have some great friends as journalists. However, the trigger for the post was my suggestion on semantic search and redesigned to make content discoverable for a subscription.
Healthcare industry is moving towards similar challenges. Insurance costs have skyrocketed, and end-users (patients) usually desire a “bargain pricing”. Public hospitals are overflowing, while private institutions can be expensive. The hospitals are under increasing pressure to turn around the businesses which only generates more friction between various stakeholders.
Health pricing remains a challenge to define. How do you price an appendix removal, for example? What should be the criteria for payment for the surgeon’s skills? How do we remove the cost arbitrage of intermediaries? These are complex questions that would require a separate post for price discovery.
Likewise, how news story should be worth? How do you reach the cost of running a newsroom? How should the salary of an employee be fixed to uncover the truth? How high should the users pay?
I firmly believe that healthcare institutions and medical professionals have to take the writing on the wall and pivot towards digital healthcare. It is a matter of convenience for the new era of stakeholders. However, more importantly, it is about opening up new revenue streams. End users would always want to stay informed (through whatever means). Likewise, people would ever want to stay healthy. In both cases, the digital mechanism is upending the established norms and pushing them towards adapting to newer forms of delivery.
It is about time.