What JetBlue Can Teach the Healthcare Experience — Part I

Think about your last terrible air travel experience. Who did you blame?

My guess: you blame the airline. The airline owns the critical component in getting your travel job done (getting from where you are to your destination), so all the other pains and gains typically get attributed to it. Unfair? Yes! Especially since so much of the air travel experience is governed by someone else: TSA, airports, governments, the weather.

JetBlue is one airline that navigates and coordinates their ecosystem elegantly. Disclosure: I am unabashedly a JetBlue superfan and a (lapsed) MOSAIC member.

Why do I love JetBlue so much? Not because they have the nicest planes, go to my favorite destinations, and are usually on-time (though those are great qualities). I’m loyal to JetBlue because they make every step of my entire travel journey — from dreaming of a trip to arriving at my lodgings — simple to execute and always fun. When there are hiccups or unfun bits, JetBlue does whatever they can to fix it (Snacks!).

Lately, I’ve been thinking, WHAT IF JetBlue didn’t have service offerings other than the plane itself? What if it didn’t care how easy it is to book a flight or get to the gate? What if it didn’t work well with the airports, FAA, TSA, US Customs, and other country governments to secure safe and seamless passage?

⚡ Without the beyond-the-plane services JetBlue provides, our travel experience might look like….well, our experience with healthcare.

When I first watched the video If Air Travel Worked Like Healthcare nearly a decade ago, my eyes were opened to just how awful, inconvenient, and impractical the air travel experience could have been. It also made me wonder…

⚡ What if we flipped the script? How wonderful might our healthcare journeys be if healthcare worked like air travel?

I know I don’t need to articulate on the dysfunctional nature of everyone’s healthcare journeys — we’ve all lived it. Yet very few companies in any part of the healthcare system seem to be taking responsibility for the entire healthcare journey, as JetBlue has done with air travel.

Therapeutics companies can learn a LOT from JetBlue.

Much like the airline owns a necessary but insufficient component of any air travel journey AND is the single party most likely to be held accountable for the overall travel experience, a therapeutics company owns a necessary and insufficient component of any health journey AND could be single party most likely to be held accountable for the entire experience.

⚡ What would it take for therapeutics companies to be a leader and convener of the various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to create a seamless and humane experience?