Getting sick is the worst. It’s already bad enough that you don’t feel like yourself, but then to do anything about it you have to turn your world upside down. You don’t want to deal with the hassle, so first you try and wait it out for a few days. Next you Google your symptoms, because this thing isn’t going away. But that doesn’t work either and now you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, you give in. You seek professional help. You go to the doctor.
Where do you start? You could go to a Walgreen’s or CVS clinic, a local urgent care center, or schedule an appointment with your doctor. No matter which one you pick, you’ll have to get there, wait around with a bunch of other sick and irritated people, pay an unknown fee, and hope that this whole process works. This means you’re taking time off work, school, or anything else you have to do on the chance that someone who doesn’t know much about you can make your nasty cold go away.
We’ve all been there, and we know it’s not fun. Sometimes the hassle of getting better is more annoying than the experience of getting sick. So we stay sick, keep going to work or school, and hope that whatever we have runs its course before we lose our minds (sorry colleagues and classmates).
The Opportunity Cost of Getting Sick
Many people know the hassle of seeking care, but the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) put a real number to this effort. Their research found that in 2010 alone, Americans spent $52 billion worth of time seeking health care; and this number doesn’t even include the actual cost of care. It’s just the opportunity cost of seeking it!
The total visit time for people seeking care was 121 minutes. That includes 37 minutes of travel time and 84 minutes in a clinic. Of the 84 minutes in a clinic, people met with physicians for just 20 minutes. The rest of the time was spent waiting, interacting with non-physician staff, or completing paperwork or billing.
Even worse, this time burden fell disproportionately on the disadvantaged. While everyone spent about the same about of time with a physician, Blacks and Hispanics spent approximately 25% longer than Whites on increased travel, waiting, and administrative times. Lower-income groups and the unemployed also spent more time seeking care than their better off counterparts.
The CHCF put numbers to something we all know and experience ourselves, which is that getting sick can be a costly experience. We lose real things like precious time and hard earned money, some of us more so than others. Wouldn’t it be nice if all this hassle and disruption could be avoided, and if all people had equal access to high quality health care?
Giving People Their Time and Money Back
Imagine the next time you feel sick being able to seek the advice of a doctor without having to leave home, work, school, or wherever life happens for you. It’s not such a far-fetched idea, considering that we don’t need to go to a bank teller to deposit a check or a travel agent to book a vacation. Think about how much more you could get done if health care came to you instead of making you come to it.
At Intellivisit we exist to undo the disruptive nature of health care to people’s lives. That includes wiping out the access disparity experienced by non-whites and low-income families. Our desire is to take that $52 billion in opportunity cost per year and give people their time and money back. We believe you should be able to get the expert advice of a doctor while in between meetings, riding the bus, waiting for Johnny to finish soccer practice, or binge watching Netflix.
Our mission is to integrate health care into the everyday rhythms of life. We envision a world where people are the healthiest, happiest, and most productive version of themselves; where health care is not a disruption to their lives but rather an asset to achieving their personal goals. Dream with us in imaging a future where the hassle of getting sick is minimized, and the opportunity cost of seeking care has been erased.