Opening Panel: The Role of the Consumer Aggregators

Missy Krasner, Product Marketing Manager, GoogleWayne T. Gattinella, CEO, WebMD Health Corp.Peter Neupert, VP Health Solutions Group MicrosoftBonnie Becker, Director, Health Category, Yahoo!    Moderator: Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, THINK-Health

Jane introduced the session, pointing out the 4 panelists firms’ capitalization is somewhere in the neighborhood of a half trillion dollars.

The goal is to first create a highly trusted brand. That’s the predicate to be able to leverage in health care the assets that each of these major firms have accumulated elsewhere.

Defining the business model is one of the problems that must be solved to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine.

How do we make "data liquidity" happen.

People trust themselves to make decisions given a sufficient quantity of trusted information.

People trust well-known, credible organizations as information sources, but they need a coach to sift through the information.

While the panelists have focused primarily on search, the audience wanted to know what else is coming down the pike They panelists responded that search will continue to increase in relevance, but will also drive a lot of the social networking functions.

One audience question asked whether physicians are marginalized by Web-empowered patients. The panelists appear to agree that, in contrast to the early days of Internet-based health information, doctors are increasingly receptive and supportive of that health information. This is part of an ongoing dialectic of the convergence of professional and consumer information and interests.

Esther Dyson (thankfully) asked the panel to describe their business models for Health 2.0.

Missy said that Google does not aspire to be a health care company, but rather extend their reach as a firm that helps people manage information. They use very small project groups. Their goal is always to drive more search, since that’s where they make their money.

Missy commented that "data liquidity" is a great term, but that health care currently has too many standards and that the real goals of data liquidity are at least a couple years away. The other panelists generally agreed. They avoided in-depth discussions of how data might be brought together to create multi-layered patient records and decision support tools for patients, clinicians, vendors and purchasers, and it wasn’t clear whether this was coyness or simply a lack of progress in this direction.

One questioner asked whether "the majors" shouldn’t show the leadership to bring data together and define the standards.

Peter responded that the question is how to bring the source data providers together and use that information to enable decision making for consumers. He believes that technology + information + communication has the promise to impacting behavior.

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  1. First off, congratulations on your event. Sorry to have missed it, but simply too far to travel for one day.
    As to this panel of heavy-weights for consumer-centric medical information services, not at all surprised by their answers regarding data liquidity as each has a vested interest in seeing their approach/strategy win the day and thus the market.
    Really not at all that dissimilar from any other application market. Just look at the issues we have today with EMRs, PACS, etc. each with their own data structure, rules, APIs, the list goes on. And the ISVs of these systems have no compelling reason (actually a dis-incentive) to make their software inter-operable for it captures the customer by creating high switching costs.
    Bottom line, I don’t see these consumer-based players giving in to one another for the greater good. It’s still business and they are in this market to make money at the expense off their competitors.