Health Sector

The Internet Opens A Third Way In The Field Of Health

Health platforms on the Internet, under the model known as “health store,” have burst with force among consumers in recent years. With a business philosophy based on putting direct contact between doctor and patient eliminating intermediaries, which allows them to offer services at more affordable costs, portals such as ClinicPoint, pioneer and industry leader, Smart sales, or Bonomedico have emerged as the great alternative to the oligopoly of mutuals.

They call themselves ” private health services atthe carte ” because they make it possible to select specific health products on time, but they do not require paying a monthly fixed rate, as in mutual societies, and their starting point is that it does not make sense to spend all year round for some services that at the most you will use three or four times.

Clinic Point and the other platforms want to be a third way in the debate on health in US, which has remained too many years polarized between two only options: public and private health. The first has been in the last decade subjected to severe cuts that have diminished its legendary effectiveness. The second, which was traditionally represented by the doctor of consultation, was progressively conquered by the mutuals and their health packages at low cost.

In recent decades, these “low cost” products of the mutuals have constituted an oligopoly in the field of private health. They have done so thanks to the aggressive policies of the big conglomerates, which have launched a price war aimed at attracting customers and stifling competition. Supported by their large size, they have burst the tariffs to force smaller mutuals to reduce their profit margins.

‘Low cost’ health: a business only for mutuals

But although this situation may seem beneficial to the consumer, who may see their monthly payments significantly diminished, in reality, it is not. A report revealed last September that most doctors refer patients who come from large mutuals to long waiting lists, which can sometimes exceed those of public health. Instead, they immediately attend to those who come for private consultation and “standard rate.” The same happens to physiotherapists, who are seeing how the mutuals pay them 2 euros per client, which causes their attention and time of dedication to patients to suffer.

The reason for this attitude lies in the minimum profit margins left by the ‘low cost’ business of the mutuals. This cost, far below the price of their time, forces them to optimize the visit of patients with medical insurance and limit it to a maximum of five minutes per patient. In this way, they can attend a sufficient number of patients that compensate them for the low earnings obtained by each one, although it undoubtedly results in a poor quality of the care they receive.