HEALTH2.0: Marty Tenenbaum’s vision for an accelerator for Health2.0

At the end of Health2.0 Conference Marty Tenenbaum asked if there was interest in forming a group to accelerate Health2.0. Earlier this was written up on THCB as though it was another standards group. But that’s not entirely what Marty meant. He explains here:

I’m eager to follow up on the creation of an industry initiative to accelerate the Health 2.0 vision. This organization would do for ehealth what CommerceNet did for ecommerce by catalyzing the market. The Blog posting focused on standards. While standards are important, so is evangelism, business development, lobbying, and especially visionary integration projects that demonstrate the potential of Health 2.0 for improving people’s lives.

Early CommerceNet members included startups like Netscape, Yahoo, and Amazon as well as established organizations like Visa/Mastercard, FedEx and IBM. The members of CommerceNet collaborated on initiatives like search, catalogs, security, payment, and shipping/fulfillment, leading to complete end-end transactions where one could actually locate a product, buy it, pay for it and get it delivered. Not only was overall market growth accelerated; many business deals resulted, generating a lot of wealth.

The parallels with Health 2.0 are obvious. Like the days of ecommerce, many energetic entrepreneurs are exploring the seemingly limitless opportunities and obstacles of a huge and important market. Each provides useful but highly fragmented data or services (e.g.,PHRs, search, patient and doctor communities). Aggregating data across communities and integrating services into complete solutions (e.g., selecting the best treatment or physician for you) is much more valuable to consumers and essential if we’re actually going to impact healthcare in meaningful ways.

Everyone interested should move on this as soon as possible to capitalize on the momentum of the amazing conference.

To get involved, you can email healthcare@commerce.net and of course comment here.

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5 replies »

  1. Marty, a belated thank you for the vision and founding post of the Health2.0 initiative. Today, I join the grassroots chorus.
    Let me add that Jim Clark’s original vision and “promise” of Healtheon (aka WebMD), effectively a Netscape spin off, had both the problem and the opportunity right, he just grossly under-estimated the complexity and gravity of a trillion dollar “cottage industry” to accommodate change.
    So fast forward the HMO and PPO (aka managed care) movement, the strength of the US economy for the last 20 years has effectively buffered and muted the underlying access, cost and quality performance issues rampant in our health care system.
    47 million uninsured, another 50 or so million effectively self insured via high deductible health plans, and a labor force contraction with employers limiting if not discontinuing health benefit coverage, do not bode well for the near term.
    How likely is effective health care reform when neither the tax base nor the political will can sustain it?
    We need a grassroots, and bottoms-up user base that competes with the managed inertia of the many “pigs at the trough”.
    Certainly the promise of web2.0 has caught many of us by surprise, perhaps the same can be expected from its health care cohort.
    I’m in.

  2. Traditional health care companies, i.e., payors must also participate in Health 2.0 initiatives. An empowered consumer is still going to have to deal with a fragmented health care delivery system which currently is designed to prevent uniform access to standard, evidence based medicine.

  3. The new consortium must collaborate with Health2.0 Internet media brands beyond Yahoo!, Google and other big players. Many are developing fresh/new narratives/stories/messages for consumers to see themselves reflected as peers in this brave new and very complex consumer-directed world. The parallel with CommerceNet remains. Consumers learned to integrate the Internet into their work/personal lives because CommerceNet pioneers took on the additional role of ambassadors for the Internet itself — while simultaneously testing business strategies with the very same consumers to see what worked for them, and what didn’t. Notwithstanding Health2.0 communities who importantly focus on chronic ailments/illness — consumers must assume a MANAGEMENT identity in much the same way they did regarding the Internet, which became a LIFE as well as business/work utility/tool. Consumers integrated the Internet INTO their lives in approximately 10 years. The web pioneers were terrific marketing agents and ambassadors as well as product, goods, services purveyors. Their BRANDS have relevancy and meaning that goes beyond products, goods and services. Health2.0 must effect the same result. Is there a new, fresh, MANAGEMENT peer identity or pivot Health2.0 and MEDIA/Internet companies can help consumers assume to bridge the communications/partnership GAP? Modern CAREGIVER (self-care and care-giver). Will Health2.0 embrace consumers as peer managers in this new identity? The answer to that question will determine much regarding the successful adoption of the Health2.0 companies’ ambitious plans. Will the Internet portals embrace new content branded startups as they were themselves embraced (and funded) by establishment companies — to augment their own Health2.0 consumer-directed initiatives? The answer to that question remains open. CareTALK’s efforts to (re)brand a management identity for consumers as their own healthcare managers/generals/planners they must be and already are in every other aspect of modern life navigation — has been embraced and validated by Verizon, Yahoo! and Google — in spirit. Revenue is another matter. A CommerceNet coalition may engender more tangible mutually beneficial economic relationships between very innovative Health2.0 startups and establishment media/Internet companies to extend their existing business models — because, continued fragmentation will not engender the mass consumer education, embrace, integration and adoption –or business success in Health2.0. Consumers want to be managers and leverage new technologies. However, consumers also require an EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT/relevancy and meaning and, a proactive and respected IDENTITY in the matter — as Amazon, Netscape, Yahoo!, Google provided for the Internet itself. As CommerceNet demonstrated…a rising tide lifts all boats. Again — Marty, thank you for focusing on how to move forward in a tangible way.

  4. Marty: Excellent idea. You will note Yahoo!, Netscape and Amazon were consumer direct marketers/messaging agents and ambassadors for relevancy/meaning of the Internet to enhance our lives — as well as pioneering product/goods/services purveyors. Consumers were respected as paramount in the adoption of the Internet businesses/services at the macro level — by the members of CommerceNet, who were able to set aside competitive urges to promote broadbased adoption. The established companies supported new business initiatives such as Amazon — to extend their own business models. A collective effort on the part of those pursuing Health2.0 business/service initiatives will thwart the continued fragmentation and engender mutually beneficial ways to create REAL, solid and lasting opportunities going forward. Small startups should not be trampled or held back by bigger players. Both are needed as we pioneer this new terrain. The parallels you have made with CommerceNet could not be more needed or timely. Thank you.

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