Matthew Holt

Weak analysis about the “demise of Health 2.0”

Everyone’s favorite naysayer Dmitriy Kruglyak is getting very self-satisfied this morning about the failure of Revolution Health to change the world in three years. Normally, I leave Dmitriy’s bizarre wofflings alone, but because he’s directly "pointed the finger" at me and by extension at my partner Indu Subaiya, it’s time to respond.

While there may be a demise in Steve Case’s investment, Dmitriy proves yet again that his background as a software geek with no background in understanding the health care system — and his professional jealousy as the creator of a failed conference about blogging — gets in the way of his limited analytical skills of what he claims I’ve been saying about Health 2.0.

Yes, Indu Subaiya and I founded the Health 2.0 Conference to focus on the use of new participatory software tools in health care. Had Dmitriy paid attention when he attended the conference in 2007 he would have noticed that the audience was asked, what would be the future of the search, social networking, & consumer tools that made up Health 2.0? The response was that 70% felt that these tools would be adopted by mainstream health care companies, rather than become a standalone industry. Which was exactly what I have been saying all along.

Had he paid attention at the end of the dotcom boom and bust he
would have noticed that with the exception of Amazon, E-Bay, Yahoo, and
a few other media business, by far the most impactful adoption of
Internet tools was by mainstream companies, which spent the next five
years changing how they ran their businesses and connected with their
customers. Has Dmitriy not bought an airline ticket or checked his bank
account in the last ten years? While the Pets.com & Webvan bust was
going on, the proportion of Americans (and everyone else) going online
and using Web tools for information and commerce continued to grow
exponentially.

Had Dmitriy been paying attention, he would have noticed that the
proportion of online Americans (and others) using the Internet for
social media/Web 2.0/Health 2.0 purposes has gone from virtually none 3
years ago to over 60% today.

If, as seems unlikely, Dmitriy pays attention in the future, he’ll
see a similar adoption of tools that make up Health 2.0 by all players
in health care, including those which have no interest in profit like
the VA, and the UK national health service, as well as by major
American for-profit health plans and providers. Some media companies
that emerged during this latest wave may or may not survive the coming
consolidation, but if Dmitriy was paying attention this week he’s have
noticed ComScore’s report that visits to health care properties are up
over 20% year on year.

As I have been saying all along, Health 2.0 is about a participatory
change in how consumers/patients/citizens relate to each other, and to
the health care system using new technologies. It’s not just about
anyone including Steve Case trying to get rich without doing anything
worthwhile. Because Dmitriy’s conference wasn’t a success doesn’t mean
that blogging is not important. But because the Health 2.0 Conference has
been a success does not mean it has been hyping the creation of a
standalone industry in which every new venture would be successful.

But then again this analysis would require that Dmitriy pay
attention to large underlying phenomena, not just get overexcited about
Steve Case losing a few bucks.

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Mike RyanmttoubbehFormer Revolution EmployeeMGobserver Recent comment authors
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Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

I have no further interest to comment on Matthew personally. I think he has told us all we need to know about him.
Nonetheless, I believe the discussion about the future of “Health 2.0”, what is real and what is fluff is needed and will continue.
I posted a summary of the key arguments voiced so far:
http://trusted.md/blog/hippocrates/2008/09/22/revolution_health_vs_health_2_0_reviewing_the_coverage_and_answering_questions

Mike Ryan
Guest

Matthew & Dmitriy,
I know both of you guys. You both are very smart, articulate and bring value to the Health 2.0 debate, however, time to move on from this unproductive “tit for tat”; I’ll pay for the first Ale, Coke, Vodka to make a truce in words.
Mike

mttoubbeh
Guest
mttoubbeh

Boys go to your rooms until you can play nice.
Someone could do a case study on how blogs get hijacked by personal attacks and egos and how this “thread” captures the failure of technology and policy to work towards the common good.

Matthew Holt
Guest

OK. I happen to have insomnia, so as I’m up late I’ll reply, but this is the last time I’m going to write to or about Dmitriy. Dmitriy, as I said, your English comprehension sucks. When I write ‘You may not remember telling me at the Microsoft Live Launch in late 2007 that I “just print press releases for my clients on THCB”; well I do.’ The trailing phrase clearly refers to me remembering what you told me, which was–as I stated in the prior paragraph in the original comment–a completely false accusation. It does not refer to your quote… Read more »

Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

@MG: You are asking the right questions. But, Revolution is simply the most visible and egregious example of what is wrong with Health 2.0 companies. They demonstrate the trends in the way “Former Revolution Employee” describes what went wrong AND explains the metrics. The bottom line, “consumerism” is not working not just in Herlzinger’s definition, but in terms of creating most basic kinds of health consumer engagement online – on large enough scale. The huge number of 150M+ consumers looking for health stuff online, mostly represents Jane Q. Public typing her health question into Google… She finds the answer, prints… Read more »

Former Revolution Employee
Guest
Former Revolution Employee

As a former employee at Revolution, I can attest to the reasons why it failed as a business. It lacked clear and decisive management early on (the CEO was the former CEO of Ticketmaster!), and lacked any type of understanding of the current state of healthcare in the U.S. Instead of going out and hiring a few dozen healthcare specialists and policy analysts to help them figure all of this out before they say word one to the world about what they were doing, they launched on hype, a hundred or so former AOL employees (yeah, big surprise there), and… Read more »

MG
Guest
MG

Meant to say that Revolution was “not really representative of the entire Health 2.0 set of companies.”

MG
Guest
MG

Dmitri – Fair enough but Revolution Health is still only one company in the “Health 2.0” space. My sense is that Revolution Health bought into the vision of the world spouted by Herlzinger and others at the end of the 1990s about the role of consumerism and saw a huge opportunity after the MMA Act of 2003 (e.g., HSAs) was passed. Basically, the “consumerist” world never really fully materialized in a large way and has taken a lot longer than advocates of it would have liked. Revolution tried to capitalize on this (including set up a service that would help… Read more »

Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

Me rewriting Matthew’s comments? This is what he wrote (Sep 18, 2008 9:16:34 AM): “You may not remember telling me at the Microsoft Live Launch in late 2007 that I “just print press releases for my clients on THCB”; well I do.” The problem with you Matthew is you have short memory, big mouth and little self-awareness of just how conflicted, compromised and unsubstantiated your opinions are. Essentially you are living in a glasshouse and throwing stones, which is a very stupid thing to do. At least you had a good sense to heed my advice to stop and think… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

Hmm, somehow my own blog is eating my comments.(rewriting ugh) And for my last point on this matter one final pass about Dmitriy’s skills in basic comprehension. They suck. I explicitly call him out in an earlier comment for accusing me of “printing my clients press releases” in THCB. And tell him that I don’t do it and that I’m very angry with him for suggesting that I do (with of course no proof to back it up). What does he say in his last comment? That I admit to doing so! He really should join the McCain/Palin team or… Read more »

MG
Guest
MG

What I don’t understand about this entire argument is that Revolution Health is just one part of what Steve Case’s Revolution company is doing in several industries. Just as with the overall Revolution company, there are components that have worked better (RediClinic to today than others (ExtendHealth) to date. You would gather from Dmitri’s comments/analysis that Revolution Health LLC was simply just a consumer-facing website when there are several parts to it. Not to mention that Dmitri provides absolutely no insight as to why Revolution Health’s web numbers hit a free fall in the early summer/have remained in the dumps… Read more »

observer
Guest

Actually, O’Reilly wasn’t talking about the demise of the Web 2.0 bubble, he was asking people in the tech community to focus on the many problems the country is currently facing. So, I’m not sure your analysis is sound.

Dmitriy Kruglyak
Guest

Matthew, I never aired contents of our email exchanges and private conversations publicly. Everything I said was simply to educate you on technology concepts and metrics you know little about, but cover as authority. I hoped you’d take my private comments as an encouragement to learn. I am sorry if you took the last paragraph of my original post as a direct accusation of “professional malpractice”. That is not what I said or meant, but if that is how you took it, what can I do? I am sure you will be able to demonstrate that this is not the… Read more »

Neal Linkon
Guest

What data supports this statement from Matt’s original post:
“…the proportion of online Americans (and others) using the Internet for social media/Web 2.0/Health 2.0 purposes has gone from virtually none 3 years ago to over 60% today.”
Thanks!

Matthew Holt
Guest

Dmitriy. There’s no hitting of my nerve & I’m not unhinged. I’ve just decided that after putting up with your bullshit for two years on this topic, you need calling out. If you think my description of your analysis and background is an ad hominem attack, then welcome to the big boys club. Go back to school & work to get some at least half serious chops in health care research & business consulting like I did in the 1990s, and I won’t mention your background & experience. But you’ve stepped over the line into your own personal attacks several… Read more »