Providing Health Solutions On Patients’ Terms [Future of Health]

Providing Health Solutions On Patients’ Terms [Future of Health]

Emerging digital technologies are allowing patients to receive care where and when they need it.

  • 6 march 2014

Imagine being able to see a doctor whenever you notice a the earliest signs of a cold start to manifest or a troublesome condition arises and you’re not sure what to do next. Imagine no more — as a number of digital solutions aim to make affordable healthcare available from your own home or office.

Many medical companies are using the latest in technological innovations to provide quick and competent healthcare to patients, whether they live in remote areas or don’t have health insurance. These useful tools for connecting with medical professionals on a patient’s own terms is part of PSFK Labs’ latest Future of Health report in a trend we’re calling Remote House Calls.

Using these services to ensure a large portion of the population can receive better, faster medical care, we expect to see a healthier population, as patients no longer have to wait weeks or travel hours for appointments, or face any fear or embarrassment of going to the doctor’s office. At the same time, the system saves money in the process.


NYC-based company Sherpaa allows employers to utilize their service so that employees can contact a doctor whenever they need to, even outside of the office. This assures that employees are always able to secure reliable healthcare without worrying about copays and insurance premiums. Potential patients can submit a form about their pain or injuries, including photos, and a trained medical professional will advise them further, prescribe medication or arrange for a personal visit. A doctor can even meet the employee wherever is most convenient, whether it’s at work, their home, or a local coffee shop. Sherpaa also offers employers on-the-spot advice and consultation when an employee gets sick or injured on the job to ensure quicker, but also cost effective, treatment. This availability of medical attention is crucial for more physical, high-risk jobs or those in rural areas where medical help is not always readily available.


Whether you care to admit it or not, you’ve probably looked up pictures of rashes and skin conditions more than once, attempting to diagnose yourself by glancing through the rather disturbing imagery. With Goderma, the days of image hunting your skin problems are over. This German service lets you take a photo of your abrasion, rash, or other dermatological anomaly as well as answer key questions and within 48 hours, a trained skin specialist with review the photo. From there, the dermatologist can respond with advice for how to proceed with treatment, whether with over the counter medication or an appointment for further care. The service is completely anonymous and only costs $39 per inquiry, which is a fair price for those trying to decipher whether their eczema needs immediate treatment of not.


For those patients who don’t own or can’t afford smart technology, there are some remote medical solutions available. Ohio-based HealthSpot has developed a number of kiosks that act like a mini doctor’s office. Patients enter the booth, answer a few simple questions, and are then connected to a doctor via video chat. From there, the doctor could instruct them to use several of the instruments provided, like the tongue suppressor to check the throat or stethoscope to check a patient’s heartbeat, all of the doctor can access from the other side. After finishing their questioning, the doctor can send prescriptions to a pharmacy or advise the patient on further treatment. The kiosks do not require appointments, are cost-effective, and can be beneficial to those working in rural communities or remote areas.

With the help of our partner Boehringer Ingelheim, PSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Health visit the PSFK page.

Contributed by Sara Roncero-Menendez

Images: HealthSpotSherpaa, and Goderma.

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