My very old friend @suzyhut sent me this article from HBR Blog Network, "The Two Questions Every Manager Must Ask". The article discusses Aravind Eye Care in India, an organization that specializes in cataract surgery and treats 70% of the patients for free. Aravind is a classic example of “doing well by doing good”.
The article explains that because of the large number of patients, Aravind has broken the entire procedure of outpatient services and surgery into steps, developed experts to deliver each step and tasked everyone to focus on ways to reduce cost in each step of the procedure. Effectively, the scale of the operation, which is largely free patients, prompts a focus on efficiency that enables Aravind to succeed financially with only 30% paying patients.
The lesson to be noted here is that every medical services company should constantly be working to reduce costs, especially marginal costs, because an Aravind-like competitor could be right around the corner. Labor costs as a percentage of medical revenue are much higher in the U.S., but if we substitute robots for medical technicians Aravind could be done in the U.S. Just the process of designing and developing the robots would probably improve medicine and lower costs in the U.S.
Maybe this is the solution to robots replacing human workers. Free medical care for 70% of the people who no longer have jobs. Seems fair that the robots should provide free medical care. Haha.