Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen explores solutions for America’s uninsured.
Christensen: You know, the government now is all worried about how to afford healthcare, assuming that the cost will continue to increase as they have. And so, how to help the uninsured and the poor afford it is a big issue there, but the big question is how do you make it affordable? And if you make it affordable, then providing healthcare for those who are poor and uninsured becomes a much easier problem to solve. Now, for example, a couple of our former students set up retail clinics called the MinuteClinic, beginning in Minnesota and now it’s rolling out around the country. And in a MinuteClinic, you can go and in 15 minutes you’re in or out or it’s free. And they treat about 18 disorders that are rules based, that is, there’s a go, no go, unambiguous diagnostic coupled with a rules based therapy. And the MinuteClinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who can do a perfectly good job of diagnosis and treatment, and the price of the services done in a MinuteClinic are 1/3 the price of the service done in a doctor’s office, and of course the doctors just protest the establishment of these clinics, and they say for the good of the patient you need to leave it in the care of a doctor, but it’s actually for the good of the doctor that they are protesting that. And if the government will clear the way for the creation of these disruptive business models, that’s the way you provide healthcare to the poor and the uninsured.