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Uberfication of Healthcare

By Bronia Fergus & Darren Fergus

In the past decade we have seen traditional industries turned on their heads by start-ups that stop trying to beat the competition, but instead make the competition irrelevant.

After the first official licensing of hackney carriage drivers in 1838 and the formalisation, decades later, of “the Knowledge”, London’s black cab drivers ruled the roads more or less unchallenged. They offered a well-regulated, high-quality product, but they didn’t adapt much either. In the 30 years between 1986 and 2015, during which London’s economy doubled in size and its population increased by almost 2 million people, the number of black cabs only rose from 19,000 to 22,500.

Some time in the second half of 2015, the number of Uber drivers in London surpassed the number of black cab drivers, and now stands at around 25,000. An Uber trip starts every second in the capital and ironically, the capital’s largest taxi firm does not own a single vehicle, or employ a single driver.

Londoners are tapping the app and getting a ride whilst London’s cabbies complain and fail to see their ‘Knowledge’ barrier to entry has been well and truly breached.

Disruptors such as Uber prey on complacency, on industries that haven't bothered to innovate, or to embrace technology, often because it simply seemed like too much trouble or because their customers had few other choices. But as the cost of technology drops and its effectiveness increases, the barriers that had shielded some of these sectors from dramatic change are increasingly being breached.

Brands like Uber have rewritten the rules of the markets they have entered. In fact, they’ve spawned a new term for the whole notion of disruptive forces transforming industries and incumbents: “Uberfication”.

Uberfication of Healthcare

Do you mitigate the chances of being “Ubered” by anticipating the potential disruption ahead, thinking about what you need to do to take advantage of the opportunities and counter the threats, or do you “Uber-it”?

The danger of mitigation is obvious; you can very easily fall off your perch as a leading player in the pharmaceutical industry. 

However, Uberfication requires a mindset-shift away from the one-time prescription sales model to a recurring integrated healthcare systems model. New or different thinking in terms of agility, taking greater risks and adhering to the notion of fail fast rather than conventional return on investment is called for.

The Uberfication of healthcare is thinking as a disruptor; it’s not about going into strategic planning ‘business as usual’, but all about going into strategic planning ‘business unusual’.​

Why Health is a specialist healthcare agency

Not your run of the mill medical education agency or market access consultancy, because at Why Health we don't exist in isolation. Your marketing plan doesn't sit in silos and neither do we. At Why Health we specialise in bringing a holistic approach to you, working in parallel with your marketing plan to deliver what you need.

That's why we are a specialist healthcare agency.

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