The Week in Disruption goes beyond the headlines to uncover the significance of emerging trends in healthcare and beyond.
Imitating the innovators
Legacy companies challenged by innovative upstarts may find themselves choosing between two strategic options: borrow ideas from their newfound competitors, and risk cannibalizing their existing business model, or stand pat and risk losing relevance and market share.
Marriott International is betting on the former option, with a new service intended to compete with Airbnb and other home-rental offerings. The hotel chain will begin offering home rentals and related loyalty points through its website, starting with 2,000 homes in 100 markets worldwide. The move comes as Airbnb itself seeks to diversify its hospitality offerings beyond home rentals, with the acquisition of two online hotel booking services.
The healthy meal prescription
The notion that nutritious food is medicine in its own right isn’t exactly new. But grocers and healthcare providers alike are beginning to offer consumers products and services that are intended to promote healthier food, and potentially reduce healthcare costs, while addressing potential barriers to access.
BlueCross Blue Shield and the Health Care Service Corp.’s FoodQ service offers pre-made nutritious meals to residents in Chicago and Dallas zip codes identified as food deserts—or areas lacking in grocery stores—regardless of their health insurance. The service costs $10 a month, which includes delivery costs and a buy-one-get-one free option for purchased meals. Meanwhile, Kroger’s OptUp app, which is linked to the company’s consumer loyalty card, allows shoppers to track the nutritional value of their purchases.
Primary care comes home
The race to provide relatively inexpensive virtual primary care is picking up steam, as providers, insurers, and retailers compete amid growing interest from consumers and employers. On Hand, a virtual primary care plan developed by Humana and the Doctor on Demand platform, provides plan members with a medical device kit with a digital blood pressure cuff and thermometer, in addition to video visits and secure messaging with dedicated primary care providers. Members are not charged any fees for visits, with $5 copays for common lab work and prescriptions.
Innovation at a glance
- Hospitals are increasingly building small, bedless pods in emergency rooms to treat patients with low acuity and free up space for increasing demand
- California start-up Eko’s Duo digital stethoscope, one of many emerging upgrades to the centuries-old device, instantly transmits hearts sounds and electrical signals to a mobile app
- The Medcorder app, developed by former Google employee David Weekly, allows patients to record and transcribe conversations with their physicians free of charge