Doctor on Demand
This case considers the state of telehealth, or the remote delivery of healthcare services via telecommunications technology, in 2019. Doctor On Demand, a promising start-up in the space, sought to solve the four main challenges that the telehealth industry had faced historically. First, although most Americans who had health insurance coverage through their employers also received telehealth benefits, very few knew about these services, and an even smaller number had tried them. Second, the right incentives for payers, such as health plans and large self-insured enterprises, were not in place, a situation that kept utilization rates for telehealth services at stubbornly low levels. Third, Doctor On Demand and its peers needed to add more providers and offer a broader range of healthcare services to patients if they hoped to drive the next leg of growth for their platforms. And fourth, the regulatory environment in which the platforms operated was incredibly complex, and if history were any indicator, other stakeholders in the U.S. healthcare system who felt threatened by telehealth would do whatever they could to impede its rise. The stakes were high, and not just for Doctor On Demand. If CEO Hill Ferguson and his team could address the industry’s four major issues, they could unlock the potential of telehealth to deliver better medical care for more people at lower cost.
The main purpose of the Doctor On Demand case is to provide students with an overview of the telehealth industry. Through the lens of Doctor On Demand, students will evaluate telehealth’s potential to shape the future of healthcare delivery. Students also will assess the implications of telehealth for key stakeholders in the U.S. healthcare system, including patients, providers, payors (public and private), employers, and hospitals. Finally, students will diagnose the telehealth industry’s primary challenges as of 2019 and debate possible solutions in a classroom setting.