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GreatCall CEO sees consumerization of healthcare

BOSTON -- As walk-in clinics at retail pharmacies and urgent care providers sprout on street corners and rural back roads, and mobile apps give patients access to new health tools, traditional healthcare systems face new competitors.

David Inns, CEO at GreatCall Inc., a vendor of health and medical apps and customized mobile phones for senior citizens, called the phenomenon the "consumerization of healthcare."

Inns, moderating a panel on the trend at the mHealth+Telehealth World 2015 conference, said GreatCall and other companies in the consumer health space are less interested in health IT and more in helping patients care for themselves outside the hospital.

"Things have changed," Inns said. "Now we're in a new phase, with the focus back on the consumer himself."

Inns elaborated on that approach in a subsequent video interview with SearchHealthIT at the conference.

He told SearchHealthIT that the drive toward value-based care and the dramatic spikes in insurance out-of-pocket costs in recent years is behind the expansion of consumer health options.

More and more patients are thinking carefully about routine doctor's visits and procedures because of costs not covered by insurance, and he asserted that traditional providers, such as hospitals, face competition from lower-cost providers, including mHealth vendors.

One of the biggest markets for new, non-hospital providers is aging baby boomers, Inns said.

Boomers are familiar with technology and also cognizant of costs, he said.

Let us know what you think about the story or the role of vendors such as GreatCall in healthcare; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer, or contact @SSutner on Twitter.

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