Headliner: HealthSpot's teleconnected CEO
Founder and CEO, HealthSpot
Chief strategy officer, Exceptional Innovation
Founding partner, SecuriCom
Born and bred in a small Kansas town, HealthSpot's Steve Cashman is, by all accounts, an unassuming guy. Asked about his non-work life, he says, “After six o'clock, it's all about the kids.” Hobbies? “I love some good American muscle power in cars. I love throwing the fishing pole in the stream.” This is not a guy you'll ever find pressed up against—or floating behind—a velvet rope.
At the same time, asked about the ongoing rollout of HealthSpot, whose teleconnected healthcare delivery kiosks have started to appear in a range of retail and clinic environments, Cashman responds with unexpected brio. “I'm kind of a unique guy to be the savior for healthcare access.” Later, when referencing consumer satisfaction with the service the kiosks deliver, he references the modern-era god of customer experience. “I'm not going to compare myself to Steve Jobs, but MP3 players existed before the iPod. When consumers love something that much, it changes things.”
He makes both these statements matter-of-factly, in much the same tone he delivers news about HealthSpot fans (Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and Kaiser are on board) and his frustrations with the space he hopes to take by storm (“there's not a lot of openness in healthcare. Nobody we've spoken with has said, ‘I'm going to win because I'm going to provide the best experience for patients'”). Perhaps the best way to put it is this: Cashman is both a true believer and one of the smartest guys in the room, even if that room contains members of the healthcare cognoscenti.
Take it from John Spirk, co-president of Nottingham Spirk, the product-innovation mad scientists (Hoover's Dirt Devil) which helped develop the prototype of the HealthSpot station. He recalls a conference during HealthSpot's infancy in which Cashman pitched his idea. “All these doctors were firing questions at Steve and getting great answers,” Spirk recalls. “We got calls from some of those doctors wondering if Steve had a pre-med background.” (Spoiler: he doesn't.)
What Cashman does have is a boundless belief in HealthSpot's power to transform healthcare access. The concept is brilliantly simple: instead of waiting for hours to be seen at a doctor's office or retail clinic, ailing consumers can visit a HealthSpot kiosk—which, thanks to the little miracle that is teleconnectivity, facilitates a face-to-screen appointment with a local doctor. HealthSpot provides scheduling modules and all necessary connectivity (with insurance companies, among others). Everyone wins, right?
In theory, sure. In reality, there are a lot of moving parts in terms of technological infrastructure. Doctors will also have to be convinced of the unit's transformational power. “They're constantly hearing about some new widget that's going to change their life,” Cashman admits.
Also, HealthSpot can't thrive without favorable kiosk placement, and the company is essentially telling Walmart, Walgreen's and every other retailer-cum-healthcare-provider, “Hey, you're doing it wrong.” Cashman doesn't dismiss those clinics, but he notes what he believes to be a host of problems with their business model.
“First there's the overhead. That's 300 square feet where somebody's not paying for an endcap and you have to pay two full-time nurse practitioners.” He also points out an inherent conflict: “Where does Walgreen's revenue mostly come from? Doctors who call in prescriptions. Why compete with your best customer?”
Cashman believes that the voice of the consumer will not be silenced—and that if customers continue to praise the HealthSpot experience, all necessary partners will fall in line. “When you ask people what their last healthcare experience was like, you get a lot of four-letter words,” he says. “We know that people are aggravated with their access to healthcare. We think HealthSpot can be a big part of the solution.”