Next Things First


Some Thoughts on Technology’s Role in Health Care by charlottegee
October 8, 2008, 11:22 am
Filed under: health it | Tags:

For some reason, many people think that the health care industry is fundamentally different than almost any other industry. In a few respects, these people are correct:

1. Elasticity of Demand – The elasticity of demand for many health care services and goods relative to almost any other industry is incredibly inelastic, making it one of the most defensive industries.

2. Government Involvement – The government is often more involved in the health care industry than other industries. This is because of the critical nature of many of the services provided by the industry, and the philosophical and social sensitivities to an industry which ultimately deals with lives.

But in many ways, the health care industry is no different from others. And in the context of this blog, I think a major innovation front in the industry is that on which entrepreneurs are levering technologies and solutions from other industries, into analogous roles and niches in health care.

I thought of this when I recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal (10/6/08) about the merger of Revolution Health and Waterfront Media. These are two online-health information companies. They have found a niche (information dissemination) online that plays a role in the health industry that is almost identical to that in others … like an ESPN.com for sports, or a Bloomberg for finance.

But what about other important market roles that are enabled by technology? Who is going to start the Google for health care (overarching search and data collection)? When is the social networking technology of Facebook going to be captured by the physician community for collaboration? Who is going to use technology to solve some of the mundane, yet critical problems facing the industry? This is the final frontier where technology has not yet been used to tackle some of the most basic problems. Why this is? I have no idea …. but I do know that there will be some very wealthy problem solvers out there soon.

Submitted by Jory Caulkins
SSARIS Advisors, LLC

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