Why There Will Never Be an Uber for Healthcare

Tom Valenti | TechCrunch | June 11, 2016

You should walk away from anyone who says there can be an “Uber for healthcare.” It is the equivalent of someone saying they “have a bridge to sell you.” Or, more precisely, it shows a complete lack of understanding for how healthcare works and how positive health outcomes are actually achieved. Why do we keep hearing “Uber for healthcare”?

Generally, when one says “Uber for X,Y or Z,” what one really means is making something easy and convenient. Uber is an incredibly convenient service. “On-demand” services like Uber and Netflix have reached mainstream status, while entrepreneurs are cranking out new on-demand businesses for nearly every type of goods or service that touches our lives. Today, I can watch more than 15,000 different streaming titles on Netflix while my personal chauffeur from Uber drives me around. The Jetsons could never do that!

Meanwhile, with healthcare, we have a very outdated and inconvenient system: We need to call a doctor 2 weeks in advance for an appointment, wait 30 minutes in a waiting room and then talk to a doctor for only 15 minutes while he types away on a laptop, only occasionally making eye contact with us. And, all of this for a huge cost that is growing at an unsustainable rate. Thus, the U.S. healthcare system seems like the antithesis of easy and convenient. To us Average Joes who must deal with this unending frustration, we are begging to have healthcare “Uberized.” Unfortunately, our desire to Uberize healthcare demonstrates a hole in our overall thinking...