My mom could do nothing but lie in bed after breaking her ankle. For trips to the bathroom, doctor and physical therapy, and all her basic needs she relied on my dad. Providing such physically-demanding support 24/7 was hardly feasible for my elderly dad, let alone for my brother and I. The solution? Pass the torch.
When I first started thinking about creating Outpatient Inc., my situation mirrored the frustrating dilemma of Oniqa Moonsammy, the 33-year-old who Time magazine recently profiled in a story about Americans who are struggling to hold on to their jobs while also caring for elderly parents and relatives.
Need to see a physical therapist or other outpatient clinician? You know that you’ll have to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out forms with information including your insurance plan, medical history, medications, allergies. Americans continuously face the frustration of repeatedly completing the same forms. Over and over again, you handwrite the details, wondering why the healthcare world remains in the age of telegraphs, leaded gasoline, card catalogs, the Beach Boys.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan announced yesterday that they’re teaming up to take on the challenge of healthcare for their employees, which collectively total 1.2 million. It’s an exciting development as the industry trends toward a model that’s patient- and family-centered.
My 72-year-old mom loves hamburgers. She recently spent a month in the hospital and ate almost one per day, compliments of the hospital kitchen and I assume, Medicare. So after she had sufficiently rehabilitated and recovered from a severely broken ankle, I took her out to a new hamburger restaurant nearby with family.
When we sat down there was an iPad in the middle of the table that served as our menu. After activating the screen, I learned that this hamburger was truly personalized and there was no such thing as a “typical” hamburger here. All I had to do was select which combination of ingredients and toppings I wanted…and then repeat that process for the 9 other people at the table. It was a modern ordering system, complete with a touchscreen and on-demand fulfillment that let me express who I am through my choice of bacon or CANADIAN BACON, fried egg or HARD BOILED EGG, cheddar cheese or FETA CHEESE, and a sum total of 2.6313084e+35 possible combinations (32 different toppings to choose from, not counting sauces!).
I got excited by all the possibilities until I realized how much work it would be to create 10 different hamburgers. When I started to ask some order preferences of my mom, she was apprehensive. “Oh, I don’t know. You choose. That’s overwhelming.” Luckily for her, I have eaten green onions, raw onions, and caramelized onions. I can taste the difference between dried cranberries and golden raisins. I’m a food expert — I’ve eaten at least 40,000 times. I can do this!