By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
As I was grabbing a cup of coffee in the breakroom at our Atlanta headquarters a few weeks ago, I noticed a line of employees with their sleeves rolled up, waiting for a nurse to administer flu shots. While I assumed it was organized by our employee benefits provider, it actually was thanks to one of our digital-native millennials and an app on her smartphone. Not a telemedicine app… or a hospital app… or even one from a health-related non-profit. It’s an app this employee might typically use to get a ride to a concert or dinner with friends: Uber.
The mobile app that revolutionized on-demand transportation enabled people in select cities to “hail” a registered nurse to give flu vaccines to them and up to 10 additional people for a flat fee of $10. This program – aptly named UberHEALTH – first began in 2014 as a pilot in three cities, delivering about 2,000 shots in just one day. This year, they expanded the program with plans to deliver 10,000 vaccines in one day across 36 cities, including our hometown of Atlanta. The Sharecare employees who took advantage of UberHEALTH are well aware how important it is to get vaccinated, but – for whatever reason – hadn’t yet been able to get to a clinic. That fact alone underscores the key to making consumer-driven healthcare a success: convenience.
While factors like the Affordable Care Act and CDHPs have ushered in the era of consumer-driven healthcare, it will be partnerships between members of the “sharing economy” and digital health companies that will bring us closer than ever to delivering healthcare to – quite literally – everyone’s front door.