3 Healthcare Insights from the New Starbuck Mobile Order App

Kevin Maloy, 26 October 2015

I used the Starbucks app in a physical store for the first time to order a latte today. It has some interesting things we could learn in medicine.

#1 Cut Out Everything Not Necessary

The Starbucks app effectively cuts the line out of ordering, which is pretty much unnecessary. I’m at Starbucks to buy a coffee, not to stand in line. Likewise, patients in the emergency department are not there to be “triaged,” they are there to be treated.

#2 Gives Estimates and Updates.

The app itself tells you that in 2 to 6 minutes you should ask the barista for your drink. If you’re getting anxious that its not being made or that you missed it, it will actually let you check in multiple times and time changes. This is in contrast to the ED there is little idea as to when you might be seen or how long your evaluation will take. It’s also easy to feel lost in the digital shuffle, and the Starbucks app reassures you that this is not taking place.

#3 Anonymity

With the app you’re able to be a 30 year old male and still order a non-fat pumpkin spice latte, without having to announce it, in a semi private way, to the cashier. This reminds me of a pain point in triage: the uncomfortable repeated telling of your story over and over again to another person. Amazon is also great on this, where you feel more comfortable purchasing something with no one at the register to evaluate you as opposed to actually going to a physical store and having to pay a person.

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