The Health 2.0 conference is just a week away and with that comes the viewing of David Kibbe’s documentary, "The Great American Motorcycle Tour for Health 2.0." Go check out his blog to get a taste of what’s to come.
Like many of you, I was surprised to hear the news that Revolution Health would merge with Waterfront Media, the operator of Everyday Health Network. In this email interview, Mark Bard, president of Manhattan Research, shares his thoughts on the deal and its implications.
David Williams: When Steve Case launched the Revolution Health website last year he said, “While Revolution Health will be a journey over many years to come, we are excited today to launch a site that is the cornerstone of our efforts to revolutionize healthcare.” Now it seems like he’s throwing in the towel on the online business and keeping the rest of the company separate. What’s going on?
Mark Bard: This recent move by Revolution Health highlights the challenges in building a health site and achieving critical mass that appeals to both consumers using the site and advertisers investing in the channel. Like a number of industries today, there is the potential for significant value creation at the two ends of the size scale. You can be on top as one of the largest sites with scale or you can become a highly targeted site with a unique and engaged audience.
This move allows Revolution Health to achieve critical mass and deliver a combined network with the Waterfront team. The harsh reality is that building out a health site today takes more than just funding. It requires the ability to meet the needs of two customer segments – the consumer and the advertiser.
Note: Amy Tenderich, who writes and maintains the wonderful Diabetes Mine,
just did this very illuminating interview with Google Health’s Missy
Krassner. As you’ll see, she doesn’t slow-pitch to Missy. This is a
sure-footed, tough-minded exchange about the real issues that are on
the table now in Health 2.0. – Brian Klepper
Slowly but surely, using the Internet for your health needs is
becoming as mainstream as shopping on the web: no longer futuristic,
but is it for everyone? And perhaps more importantly, are mainstream
commercial health platforms from companies like Google and Microsoft
really useful for people with specific chronic illnesses? I thought it
would be interesting to hear their side of the story.
Missy, shortly after Google Health launched last Spring, David Kibbe, former Director of Health IT for the AAFP, noted
that most of its services were “only mildly useful and sort of
‘toyish.’” How have these services evolved to be more useful to people
with health conditions?
There’s no doubt that they will get a lot of consumer traffic to their network of sites. One of the things that remains unclear for both Waterfront and WebMD is to what extent they will serve primarily as reference sources versus playing a greater role in consumers’ own health management. The answer may very well lie in the degree to which they provide information therapy (Ix), not just health information.
As 1.0 as it is, there’s certainly no shame in being a valuable reference tool. I’m a big fan of information democratization. But it’s impact on care management has limitations.
The one difference is that, on Friday, Jen pointed out that the outer square ("content") is Health 1.0 and Health 2.0 begins with the "community" square. After reading her research paper, I now understand that the next inner square is Health 3.0, or content + community + commerce and the final, innermost square is Health 4.0, which would add coherence to the equation. Health 4.0 in this model is the "evolutionary stage connect[ing] the real world of brick-and-mortar systems with the virtual world of online services."
The paper is well worth a read, whether you agree with this model or not. I’m going to have to think about the following points, for example:
Another weakness of current Health 2.0 initiatives is the tendency of communities to attract similar people. Many focus on connecting "like-minds," relatively homogeneous groups such as patients with the same diagnosis or physicians in the same subspecialty. Similar groups then generate very similar content. Users become settled and ‘comfortable’ and thus less inclined to venture out and advocate for other consumer groups and sytemic change.
Over the past couple of weeks, the eHealth world learned that RevolutionHealth engaged Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, to help assess the company’s ‘alternatives.’ The early talk was to raise capital, but the tenor seems to have switched to sales or merging. One talked-about suitor for Steve Case’s start-up is Everyday Health.
This news comes on the heels of a new comScore report that reports 21% growth in the "health information" site category, from 57 million visitors in July 2007 to 69 million in July 2008.
The No. 1 in health search portals continues to be WebMD, which grew by 3 percent year on year. WebMD was also top in display ads versus other health sites. WebMD had 290 million display ad views in July 2008.
On September 4, a group of collaborators at Harvard launched a new website called Catalyst that is publicly available. I encourage you to visit it.
This site is remarkable in many ways. It brings together all the people, lifelong learning, and resources for the Life Sciences across Harvard and its affiliates.
In the People area, you’ll find social networking for the research community called Profiles. It not only shows traditional directory information, but also illustrates how each person is connected to others in the broad research community.
It started as a whisper and then grew to a roar. Last year, the Detroit Free Press wrote the first in what would become series of articles questioning the wisdom of medical blogging. In 2007 and 2008, USA Today and National Public Radio featured stories that noted the benefits of physician blogging, but also highlighted patient privacy and legal concerns associated with this activity. Finally, early last month, the Los Angeles Times and other publications featured a study that has generated a lot of heated commentary in the blogosphere and beyond.
In an analysis of medical blogs published in the July 23rd edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Dr. Tara Lagu suggested that some doctor bloggers are painting an unflattering picture of the medical profession and fail to disclose financial conflicts. Lagu cited a 2006 poll produced by my firm Envision Solutions and the social network Trusted.MD indicating that public relations professionals approached nearly one-third of health bloggers responding to the survey. Lagu recently told American Medical News that she believes medical associations should “adopt policies explicitly addressing blogging ethics.”
Is it "disordered" behavior to Google your doctor? An article in JAMA suggests that doctors should be on their guard.
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an article about how doctors should be aware of how they are portrayed online and consider taking steps to manage their digital identities.
It is an article that, for the most part, could have been written about any profession with its warnings about “slanderous information published about someone with the same name” or “by a vengeful…colleague or ex-lover.” And the advice given is also familiar: create your own Web page to be sure correct information is available about you and use appropriate privacy settings on social network sites.
Frances Dare is someone I’ve know for a long time in the health care IT world (sorry, Frances!). That means that she’s seen the painfully slow developments in many aspects of health IT since the 1990s, and has an experienced view of what’s coming along at what pace. These days Frances is a Director at Cisco focusing on health care, and more recently she’s taken an active role in Cisco’s health care lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.
Given that we don’t spend much time on THCB talking about the impact of the Federal sausage-making process on health care IT, telemedicine, et al, I thought that getting the view of a major IT vendor about what they expect to come out of the current Congress would be pretty interesting. And it was. Here’s the Interview.
BTW, in the interview I get the name of Frances’ division at Cisco wrong, Frances is a Director in the ISBG which stands for Internet Business Solutions Group. (FD, I have done consulting work for Cisco in the past, even if I didn’t know the name of the group I was working for!).