What is a platform?

Digital Healthcare Delivery

Hospitals and many healthcare delivery organizations are platforms.

Though "platform" (more specifically: multisided platform business; more colloquially: matchmaker) has only recently entered the strategy lexicon given the emergence of internet-enabled platforms (like Uber), it's a business model that's been around for much, much longer.

From Matchmakers:

  1. Matchmakers have been around for millenia.
  2. A lot of what the new market darlings do is old stuff. They just use technology to improve on things that other matchmakers have done for many years.
  3. What is pioneering is that modern information and communications technologies have turbocharged the multisided platform business model.

Numbers two and three are why I've gotten interested in looking at healthcare delivery organizations as the platforms they are. Here's my question: What's now possible in these already-successful platform businesses (healthcare delivery organizations) given the availability of digital technology (and the burgeoning willingness by those same healthcare organizations to use it)?

A definition of a platform, from Platform Revolution:

A platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them. The platform’s overarching purpose to consummate matches among users and facilitate the exchange of goods, services, or social currency, thereby enabling value creation for all participants.

That is, a platform:

  1. enables interactions between producers (physicians) and consumers (patients)
  2. by providing infrastructure and governance
  3. to exchange services that create value (patient care).

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