Caring for our a ‘mind, body and spirit’ is a key element of a life and financial plan. The advent of a new subscription healthcare service, as reported in Wired magazine this month, is important because it should make the provision of healthcare faster, more convenient and accelerate the move from a ‘cure’ paradigm to a ‘prevention’ paradigm.
Subscription healthcare to get us out of hospital
Babylon, founded by Dr Ali Parsa and staffed by over 100 doctors, provides the service over your smart phone. According to Wired, Babylon is a subscription healthcare service that lets you book virtual GP consultations with professional physicians, monitor symptoms and receive prescriptions.
According to Olivia Solon of Wired, Dr Parsa thinks that “the vast majority of our interactions with healthcare have very little to do with hospitals. They are mostly simple consultations and diagnostics. When we get that in the most arcane manner, with phone calls, appointments, having to take half a day off, it’s inconvenient, expensive and difficult.”
The attractions of subscription healthcare
For the freeformers who make up my client base, such a service will have obvious attractions in terms of savings of time and money, and indeed a reduction in anxiety. As in the financial planning process, a good deal of anxiety and sleepless nights is caused by not knowing about ones personal financial situation, so in healthcare, not knowing often provides more anxiety than the condition itself.
Not surprising, therefore, that Dr Parsa thinks that Babylon will do for healthcare what iTunes did for music and Amazon did for books.
Babylon intends to expand from its core subscription healthcare service to include the Monitor service, which will allow patients to keep track of their vitals including activity, calories and sleep, as well as looking at the relevant metrics related to bones, kidney and liver function and hormones.
Moving healthcare from cure to prevention
For Dr Parsa,the ultimate ambition of the Babylon subscription healthcare service is to move healthcare from a reactive model to a proactive one. “We are used to dealing with our health like we used to deal with cars; we’d wait until they broke down and then take them to the mechanics.”
“Now cars have sensors all over them so it doesn’t matter what’s going wrong, we know ahead of time. We are on the brink of doing that with human beings — we already do it with professional athletes. So much of the cost of healthcare is because we deal with our body the way we used to deal with our cars.”