Leveraging a New Frontier in Healthcare - The Sharing Economy

By Luna
Leveraging a New Frontier in Healthcare - The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy has already transformed transportation (Uber), travel (AirBnB), and fundraising (Kickstarter). Now, it’s poised to do the same for healthcare.

Meet Luna: A turn-key solution for on-demand outpatient therapy. We leverage the sharing economy to deliver outpatient therapy in a patient’s own home, office, or gym instead of in a clinical setting. Visiting a clinic requires travel, traffic, parking, and other inconveniences, all of which make patients less likely to start and finish physical therapy. Relocating therapy to the most convenient place possible – a patient’s own living room – has a tremendous effect on willingness to signup, care plan adherence, pain and functional improvement, and cost savings (positive outcomes we previously explored in this whitepaper).

Health systems have already experienced this concept in the form of traditional home health services, but only for a segment of their patients (typically homebound patients that can’t physically make it to a clinic). Often, they will have a small, dedicated team of home health professionals covering a large area. Drive times can be longer given the rates of reimbursement for home health are usually quite considerable, often $400 per visit or more, which is billed to insurance. This care model is often billed to  Medicare Part A.

For outpatient care delivered at home, where the rates for delivery are the same as an outpatient clinic (and typically 70% less than traditional home health rates), scaling a reliable and high-volume service has different challenges. Due to the economics involved, on-demand delivery only works when a large number of therapists provide a small amount of their time per week (8-10 visits each per week, on average). This coverage provides the volume and widespread availability needed to keep therapist drive times short and optimized. With substantial therapist coverage and density in a market, on-demand delivery becomes logistically possible and financially profitable. 

Two Key Elements of On-Demand Delivery

For health systems to make on-demand outpatient therapy work, they first need a network of exceptional therapists. They need enough therapists that drive times to appointments don’t exceed 30 minutes, otherwise the time and effort it takes to reach a patient’s home erodes the thin profit margin around outpatient therapy. Health systems with a large footprint throughout a metropolitan area will need literally hundreds of therapists (100-300) to create reliable coverage matches and offer the seven days a week, day and night availability that patients expect.

Second, health systems need technology to manage all the therapists, patients, appointments, and details involved. On-demand outpatient therapy has many moving parts, from properly matching a patient with a therapist to mobilizing hundreds of appointments per day at locations across a metropolitan market. It takes a robust piece of technology to keep all these parts moving in sync.

Without both of these capabilities, on-demand delivery won’t work. Neither comes easily, unfortunately, particularly to a health system trying to build an on-demand outpatient therapy option on their own. That’s where Luna comes in.

The Sharing Economy for Physical Therapy is… Here

Luna does the legwork to recruit enough physical therapists to cover the same area that a health system draws patients from. Our name is a reference to moonlighting because we offer an attractive way for qualified therapists anywhere to supplement their income while valuing their time. We regularly attract 15-20% of all the therapists in a region, which solves the coverage problem.

Luna also built a complete tech platform to make on-demand delivery work. Our technology coordinates every detail so that on-demand physical therapy remains profitable for health systems, convenient for patients, and accessible for therapists.

The sharing economy is quickly rewriting expectations around healthcare. What does that mean for the health systems at the center of it? Explore that topic in another recent whitepaper which you can download here for free.