“Lots of General Stores, No Channels and Brands,” A Look at HealthShoppr.com

Part of the fun of the Health 2.0 Conference last week was meeting people who I have blogged or Twittered with, and one of those individuals is Vijay Goel, MD. The blog that Vijay runs is Consumer Focused Healthcare and he Twitters as vijaygoel. He told me at Health 2.0 that he agrees with some of the content on my blog, which only made me more interested. Vijay has a pretty extensive background in strategic health care consulting and I always want to learn more…

So Vijay gave me a tour of the alpha of HealthShoppr.com yesterday. It’s billed as the “Expedia of health services” and a limited launch is happening in a few weeks. Many of the concepts resonate with me after having read some of Clayton Christensen’s work, that there’s a role for supporting “long tail choice” – or specific kinds of health services, rather than going to a global solution provider in health care. The other significant feature of HealthShoppr is that it is disconnected from the traditional reimbursement system. HealthShoppr is starting with complementary health services like Massage, and will give consumers the opportunity to choose the type of service they want, book it, and pay for it, online.

It seems like starting with complimentary healing arts is a good choice, and it’s nice to see/know that physicians are engaged in changing the health system from all angles. In the future, there could be information flow along with the reimbursement flow in a system like this. It would be more natural for a provider to want to transfer clinical data to a referring or referral provider, to keep the satisfaction scores high. Take a look when it launches and see what you think….



We're different from Carol in a number of ways, based on our focus on retail (cash) payment and entry in the wellness space:

1) Our prices are completely retail. There's no insurance component. Therefore the transactions are straightforward. The bigger advantage is that by going retail, we're allowing for dynamic pricing. This is not possible if your payment structure is based on CPTs or DRGs, which require negotiated fee structures to administer

2) We book appointments through the platform. When you've booked, there are no other steps, eligibility requirements, confirmation, etc.

3) We differentiate capabilities and care approaches of individual providers. Carol tends to stay at the facility level. If you buy a product at the Mayo level, do you know who your doctor is and what they're going to do?

4) We allow the consumer to buy direct based on a transparent service offering (including reviews). This creates a much richer set of possibilities, as consumers can choose different approaches to care, different service levels, and to opt-in to value add services (like eventually perhaps paying $5 to get the doc's office to enter vaccination records into HealthVault/Google Health)

Ted Eytan, MD