Over the years, the term “access” has been used in health care to refer to a variety of different challenges: financial issues of affordability, physical challenges and barriers to safe passage, availability of certain kinds of care and even time of day when certain services were available. Teladoc Health, Purchase, N.Y., seems to be trying to address all of them with a single corporate vision.
Teladoc, an online virtual health care company, has over 20 million members, according to the company’s website. It is available 24/7 and reports that more than 90 percent of issues can be resolved after only one visit. It boasts a member satisfaction rate of 95 percent.
Its preferred term of art is “augmented intelligence,” referring to using artificial intelligence (AI) to support and empower clinicians. The company’s website states that it is unrealistic to expect that physicians and other clinicians will be able to remain clinically current without substantial help from a medical support AI tool.
Teladoc embraces major millennial themes: convenience, affordability and satisfaction. Millennials do not know a world without handheld internet access. Design, for them, may be less about buildings and more about experiences. And Teladoc imagines a world where clinicians at all levels will lead augmented practices, with digital interfaces and in new care environments that will look very nontraditional after many familiar diagnostic tools relocate to the patient’s palm.
Architects have an opportunity. “Digital front doors” are only the beginning of the digital health care movement; entire virtual and augmented experiences need to be imagined and crafted. Who better to lead that initiative than the design professionals who for years have been tirelessly innovating the patient experience?