What an Uber Driver Might Teach Your Doctor

At first glance you might think there aren’t many similarities to the work we’re doing and a company like Uber. But as Stuart Karten, a principal at Karten Design, recently laid out in an address at MD&M West, the key overlaps lie in what he calls the shift from a “hospital-centric to patient-centric” model.

Before Uber, the transportation industry was built to serve the needs and preferences of service providers instead of those whom it was actually intended to benefit—namely, the customer. And as Karsten sees it, the shifting demographics and resulting incentives are going to cause a similar sea change in the healthcare space. Karsten goes on the articulate more specifics of his vision for what the future of medical care may look like, but the broader point is perhaps the most salient.

The word “disruptive” can often be overused in the context of innovation, start-ups, and product development. However, if indeed the paradigm does shift to a healthcare system which revolves around the experience of the patient—rather than catering to the impersonal behemoth of American healthcare institutions—to say that the status quo has been “disrupted” will, I suspect, feel like quite an understatement.

Hal Ebbott