From the beginning of iCareBetter, money has always been questioned. Some think iCareBetter should offer services for free to providers because it costs nothing. But there is a high administration cost for running iCareBetter. The charges come from educating patients and providers about endometriosis and quality of care, maintaining and improving the website, and responding to patients’ and providers’ requests and questions. I am going to share our costs with you in this article.
The costs for operating iCareBetter:
Education about endometriosis and the importance of expert provider
It takes an average of 10 years for a person with endometriosis to get a proper diagnosis. Then several years go by, trying various hormones, artificial menopause, and suboptimal surgeries. After many years and multiple failed treatments, a patient might find an expert who understands endometriosis and how to treat it. We at iCareBetter want to cut that time to less than a year and help patients connect with the expert endometriosis provider as soon as possible. Achieving this goal requires extraordinary efforts in educating the public, patients, and providers. Therefore, we are responsible for making educational content and distributing it on the internet. Content creation and distribution are crucial for raising awareness about endometriosis, the importance of skilled surgery, and fighting misinformation. And it costs money and takes significant effort to create and distribute good educational content about endometriosis.
Reviewing doctors’ applications
iCareBetter takes a significant financial loss on each application; please continue reading for more explanation. After we receive an application with three full surgical videos (mostly between 2-4 hours long), our team has to de-identify all documents and prepare the videos and questionnaire for reviewers. It takes 5-10 hours per application, costing us about $400 on average to prepare the application for review. Then we send the videos and the rest of the applications to reviewers and follow up with them multiple times to submit their reviews. After the reviewers send their reviews, they get compensated for their time. Compensating the reviewers cost us, on average, $350 per application. Therefore on each application, we spend $750 and only charge $400. Consequently, we lose $350 on reviewing each application.
Website maintenance, APIs, and optimization
iCareBetter has an online website core to its services to patients and providers. Providers use the website to apply for vetting. Patients use search engines and many other features on the website to find doctors and learn about endometriosis. Almost all of these features are paid plugins, apps, or APIs. Moreover, there is a sophisticated web developing team behind iCareBetter to deliver the results to our community. Keeping a high-quality website that serves patients and providers with high standards is costly.
Answering questions from patients and providers
Every day our team receives many questions and inquiries from patients, advocates, and providers. It is our responsibility to answer them. Here are some examples:
“Do you have a doctor in region X?”
“Does doctor Y accept new patients?”
“I can not get someone from Dr. Y’s office to answer me, has their phone number changed?”
“Why does the link to this article is broken?”
“How can I join the platform?”
“I am changing my office location; please update my info.”
“I want to apply for more specialized surgery areas. How can I do that?”
Every question we receive from a patient or a doctor is our top priority. These questions can define the care plan or the surgery outcome for one or more patients. So we are committed to answering these questions. And answering questions needs the time and focus of a reliable person. And this is another layer of costs added.
The list of costs does not stop here, but I hope you have seen enough information to justify our desire to make money to keep iCareBetter alive. It costs to run a website that aims to be patient-centric, uplifts the community, and brings transparency to the endometriosis community for a better patient outcome.
Please let us know what you think about this matter.