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Revolution Health looking to sell?

Steve Case’s Revolution Health hasn’t quite lived up to the promise trumpeted in early days. Recent rounds of layoffs, changes in overall strategy, and the hiring of an investment bank to explore sales lead one to think that Revolution is closer to circling the drain that it is carrying the banner of a new approach to health care focused on the consumer.

However, one recent rumor about a merger between Glam and Revolution Health reminds us of the direction that health publishing (and potentially health care delivery) are likely to go if we believe that consumer decision-making is important.

As drug company ad budgets have buoyed Madison Avenue and increasingly entered consumer lexicons, women are important health care decision makers and natural combinations between women’s interests and health decision-making could start to chip away at the insurance- and pharma/device- dominated M&A plays, to add further variety to the technology players already rattling sabers at the gates.

The combination of consumer (women’s) focus and technology should bring enhanced openness, interoperability, and interesting new combinations to the traditionally stodgy and actuarial/engineering/statistics driven approaches that currently dominate the space. Outside of Glam, some non-traditional interests:

    * Hearst Media: Guidelines and other health publishing    * Microsoft: Vertical search (Medstory) and Electronic records (HealthVault)    * Google: Electronic records (GoogleHealth)

Health, with its hold on nearly 20 percent of the U.S. economy, is increasingly being explored by nontraditional interests. Seeing those players start to exert their interests in the field will make for some interesting dance partners and joint ventures in the time to come.

Vijay Goel is a doctor and former McKinsey & Co. consultant based in Los Angeles. He blogs regularly at Consumer-focused Healthcare.

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DavidBarbaraVijay Goel, M.D.Peter DurksonDmitriy Kruglyak Recent comment authors
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David
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We are making a difference. We’re saving our members hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental healthcare benefits since 1992. Our company offers a service that is helping individuals and families across the country save precious dollars on their costly healthcare needs.

Barbara
Guest

I agree with previous postings that Rev Health tried to take on too much. What’s more, they just didn’t have the health care expertise to excecute well.
I think all people really need is a simple way to find quality health care providers. See http://www.WhereToFindCare.com

Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

Vijay, Why do you think they kept trying a new flavor every month? Because last month flavors obviously were not working from the metrics perspective… Like you know, to be able to sell things for more than they cost to make. You are right that constant reorgs did not help stay focused. But contrast that with AOL’s early days when all mistakes were paid for by those $2.95 / hour connect charge cash cow. Or more recently Google with their massive PPC cash cow. Where are Health 2.0 cash cows? The fact that Revolution Health sifted through so many ideas… Read more »

Vijay Goel, M.D.
Guest

Gregg, I do think the non-traditional interests should be welcomed to the space. Healthcare has been the playground of a very few to date…and its clear from the current situation that they don’t have the answers. My personal belief is that the incentives in the space are all wrong if we want to encourage healthy care vs. sick care. And “healthy” means something very different to most consumers than the doctors and administrators making paternalistic decisions for them. Alternate interests will allow consumers to align to platforms with different incentives. Dmitriy, I think your assessment is off-base. Revolution Health, with… Read more »

Peter Durkson
Guest

Aloha,
Here’s an innovative approach to engaging and serving the baby boomers that RevHealth is missing:
http://www.mauiagewave.com/content/maui-agewave-plans-joint-venture-in-second-life

Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

Anyone hyping “Health 2.0” should take note. If anything, Revolution Health troubles demonstrate serious problems with the sector rather the particular company. The hypothesis that the “Web 2.0” tech is somehow going to create viable new business opportunities in eHealth simply has not panned out. Revolution Health systematically tried almost every idea out there. Yet, they seem to have proven Warren Buffet’s quote that when a great management team meets a business with bad economics, the team invariably loses. The economics of this sector for the lack of better terms sucks. I am sure many people will disagree and I… Read more »

Gregg Masters
Guest

Vijay: Nice piece, perspective and levity. Why not welcome the participation of those “non traditional interests”? Certainly the SEC fits the profile with its May decision supporting proxy votes declaring a health care reform policy position. Why not get the entire food chain on the record? Lets turn on the lights?

tcoyote
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tcoyote

Do not have independent information, but would not be surprised if Rev Health flamed out. It’s “business plan” was a dogs breakfast of stale ideas redeemed solely by Steve Case’s formidable energy and ton of money itching to be wasted. Rev Health felt form inception a lot like a decade earlier catastrophic failure: Jim Clark’s Healtheon. People who make a load of money early in their careers literally pulse with testosterone, and look at healthcare like marketers used to look at China (if we could get every Chinese to drink a six pack of our stuff a week, etc.), a… Read more »