Zoom's secret to reinventing healthcare: Not trying to be all things to everyone

What if patients thought of getting healthcare, even paying insurance premiums, more like treating themselves to new jewelry than forking out cash for a necessary evil? That's one aspiration of Zoom (formerly Zoomcare), the Portland, Oregon-based company planning to redesign a full array of medical and health insurance services to create an "insanely great experience" for its target customer base, according to an article from Fast Company.

Zoom co-founder Dave Sanders has already expanded the company's existing presence in the walk-in care market to offer specialty and emergency procedures, Skype visits, dental care, mental health services and even its own health insurance. With more than 28 clinics in the Portland metro area, Zoom's "health campus" aims to provide soup-to-nuts healthcare, including everything from basic preventive services to organ transplants.

It may sound counterintuitive, but part of Zoom's strategy in reaching these goals is to deliberately avoid attempting to be "all things to all people" by itself.

Sanders is unapologetic, for example, about designing its experiences to reach "Sarah," a demographic of young, mobile-connected customers not dissimilar from the customer base of an Apple store. "Segmentation and purpose-built systems are good and healthy," he said, adding that he hopes to eventually expand the definition of "Sarah" to include Medicare and Medicaid users.

The Zoom model also relies on strategic partnerships, such as with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Hospital, Portland's Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital, to place OHSU doctors in its clinics and provide health insurance to OHSU employees, to make its "full stack" of services possible.

Long-term, Zoom is aiming to spread its universe of on-demand health services outside the Pacific Northwest and beyond. While the success of the model remains to be seen, noted author John Pavlus. "But if there were ever a sector of our economy in desperate need of an Apple-style "think different" shakeup, health care is it," he concluded.

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