I'm constantly asked, “Who is Biomeme’s customer?” While US human health is not our initial focus, this is where people's questioning always seem to center. So, for this post, I'll assume we're talking about human health. That’s not a simple question, especially in the healthcare industry, with its muddied world of broken economic drivers.
Experts say you shouldn’t confuse your users with your true customers – the people that pay for your product or service. Our initial US users will likely be nurses and lab techs in point-of-care settings. One can argue that our customers, however, would be healthcare "Providers" (hospital systems) or "Payers" (insurance companies) or even patients.
Some say, “While patients’ needs should be considered, you really need to focus on the needs of your customers, the Payers or Providers.” I believe our system could be able to slot into the existing CPT codes for insurance billing, and could even be a new revenue stream for doctors looking to offer additional services.
I believe, however, (along with many of my DreamIt Health classmates like Medlio) that the US healthcare system is moving toward a model whereby people will get basic preventative care and catastrophic insurance, and then cover their general healthcare costs themselves. My family and I are living that future now with our high deductible Health Savings Account(HSA) plan. And, under this scheme, I think I AM the real customer…NOT the insurance provider and NOT the doctor. The economics will need to work for me and my family.
Let’s revisit the blog post about my wife’s experience when she took our 3 year old daughter to the doctor with a bad rash. Here’s a tally of our direct and indirect costs totaling $629:
- $200: Lost Saturday playing with the kids – when you have little kids you can pretty much only do 1 or 2 big activities a day. The is either priceless or 4 hours x my wife’s teacher salary hourly “rate”….its low but higher if she tutors, say $50/hr. If you don’t have small kids you might think a quick doctor visit is 1 hour including travel time. Us parents know that this is an afternoon affair.
- $150: Doctor visit fee.
- $39: Useless “rapid” realtime qPCR chicken pox test $120: Assume 3 hrs/day @ $20/hr extra work my wife spent trying to catch up on the 2 days she had to take off work to stay with our daughter because Mei couldn’t go to daycare since the rash “might” be chicken pox.
- $100: My wife’s fear and frustration of not knowing what the hell is on her 3 yr old’s skin. $20: My anger at this whole predicament and the $80 we spent on daycare we didn’t use. $20 is probably low.
Based on this, what’s the real “value” of a better test?
- $629: at-home test
- $279: POC clinician test (still includes lost Saturday and doctor fee)
No, I probably wouldn’t pay an extra $240 over the $39 for a rapid test at the doctor’s office…but I definitely would’ve paid an extra $100 to get that result the same day while I waited. Wouldn’t you? I already choose to pay cash (unreimbursed) for common medications at my doctors office to prevent the time and hassle of waiting to pickup a prescription at the pharmacy. I am already paying MORE for a better experience. Please contact us about your experience or what you would pay. Better yet do a quick YouTube video and email us the link. We're compiling experiences and could really use your thoughts.