The challenge before CEOs/founders is to make sure that the post-pandemic frictions are still relevant in their missions. I noted how some people are giving up coffee, after surviving lockdown without Starbucks. Yes, nothing bad happened without the coffee rituals. So, post-pandemic, they are now saving that $6 per cup of coffee, causing massive dislocations in the friction space for some coffee providers like Starbucks. So, even though coffee remains a market-fit product, the pandemic has changed it, at least for now. That is a change in a market and must be modelled in the playbook.
You cannot afford to be pursuing pandemic-fit opportunities, losing insights on the durable market-fit ones. You need to think long-term even as you take care of today’s opportunities: long-term (not ephemeral) value creation will always RULE.
Yes, as U.S. doctors abandon tele-medicine despite the optimism during the pandemic, many providers are learning that old habits do not just die easily. Tele-medicine does not fit into the insurance business model and doctors, especially in small clinics, struggle to get paid. But with in-person visits, insurers pay faster. So, fixing this paralysis in the U.S. will not come via just a better tele-medicine product, but rather, fixing the insurance framework. Until you measure, you will not understand what is driving the numbers.
Physicians initially responded to these changes. Based on a sample of more than 50,000 clinicians who are clients of Phreesia, a health care technology company where two of us (D.L. and H.H.) work, we saw a sudden and dramatic rise in telemedicine (see the chart below). From almost no telemedicine visits before the pandemic struck in the U.S., by early April almost 14% of the usual weekly number of pre-pandemic visits were being conducted via telemedicine. The assumption among many was that, after witnessing the benefits of telemedicine, physicians and patients would embrace it and growth would continue.
That hasn’t happened. In fact, the use of telemedicine is now steadily declining and during the week of June 14 was used for only 8% of the usual pre-pandemic number of visits.