Monday, June 20, 2011

The FREE plan and what the doctor said

We have been thinking hard about the various plans our EthOS platform will offer and how much to charge. And up until 2 weeks ago we had three simple price plans: student (for anyone who is not being paid to do a project), flexible (for small companies) and enterprise (effectively unlimited). We even thought about how cool it would be to offer summary films for each project completed on the site - for free!

So three weeks ago a friend and I are driving back from France (did you know I lecture Industrial designers at Valencienne University in Northern France? - nor did I) and talking about the site.

"You should offer a free plan to consumers making their own films."


"To drive flexible and enterprise users."

So we thought it through. What if we did allow ordinary people to upload films they have made for our site. Here is an edited version of our discussion:

We could send push notifications of tasks to be declined or accepted

A notification might say: 'This month is BREAKFAST month!' and people will upload breakfast clips, conversations and brand specific stuff.

Why would anyone do such a thing?

So we thought some more.

We could let people attach a value to their clips. Flexible and enterprise people would be able to buy the clips and add them to them EthOS archives - ask the subjects questions and use the in research projects.

Then it wouldn't be free would it?

People - flexible and enterprise could still view for free. But as soon as they use it, i.e. drag it into a workspace, they will be charged.

We could have films of the day or week to drive interest.

Heck we could make our own films.

Heck we could stimulate video responses to films.

Heck and more heck we could charge 30% commission (like Apple) for every entry sold

We could ask people to scan QR codes on products which will launch tasks and give vouchers

What about the legal and privacy stuff?

Mmmmm. It would need to be by market. Or we do it under UK jurisdiction.

Tomorrow I see our lawyer in the UK about this and other matters.

Last Friday I shared the 'free plan' idea with our fulltime GP; finance director; brother in law.

He thought about it for a minute before asking me this question:

"Would the EthOS system be able to film for up to, say, 10 minutes?"

"Yes! Why?"

He went on to explain how many patients, especially older patients, often forgot instructions for prescriptions, or needed to understand something he had said, again. Wouldn't it be great to be able to film the consultations and send them to patient accounts so they could replay them at will? A record of everything said and not said?

By now I have goose pimple that have reached the palms of my hands.

"But patient privacy would be a huge issue and I don't think doctors will want to be on record in case they get sued for anything they said..."

This felt like a bucket of ice cold water being poured on my fire.

"But let me chat to a few colleagues and get back to you."

So I am left hanging. I will keep you posted but as always, comments, suggestions and opinions most welcome.



  1. You would not have to SHOW the patient's face. You could show the physician talking. If you are talking about the physician giving directions on medications, information about a condition, etc, you should not need to worry about litigation. On the other hand, you can have both parties sign a standard release. In the US, you'd have to worry about HIPAA, but there are very easy ways to get around those privacy concerns, too. Just don't identify the patient (whole name, date of birth, residence, face in the film) and have the physician be the one filmed--heck (HECK squared!) you could even just have both of the camera film the wall while you record the conversation, and then fill in the film with standard shots of things like a prescription pad that gets written on as the physician is talking about what they are being prescribed, etc.

  2. Thank you for this my American Pal!

  3. Agree with the above in essence. The GMC/BMA Guidance here in the UK means that any identifying info needs to be removed & consent obviously is needed. I think doctors are more worried than patients when it comes to recording consultations. Patients I've spoken too think it would help doctors improve and enable better training. Don't think patients would be trying to catch one out, and what you say is important whether it's recordered or not.
    It also depends who will see it and how much control there is in protecting confidentiality. There is no reason why initially the viewers will merely be each party, opening it up only with the expressed permission on each side

  4. So all I need now is a volunteer physician and his/her patients.

  5. I called the GMC yesterday and had a very noce chat with one of their policy advisors. Doctors, she told me, are already recording consultations with patients who have dementia. So the same patients can replay and recall things that we said. So there is already a precedence. But physicians will still need to check with their defence bodies.