Next Things First

Overheard: Health Affairs and HIT (Take Two Aspirin and Tweet Me in the Morning…) by charlottegee
March 10, 2009, 5:54 pm
Filed under: consumer engagement, health it, innovation | Tags: ,

If you haven’t heard, Health Affairs has devoted a chunk of its March/April 2009 edition to “stimulating health IT.” Today Health Affairs held a briefing on health IT, featuring a whole slew of experts, and the event was covered live on Twitter. One of the articles in this latest edition, and of course much of today’s discussion, touched on Web 2.0 in health care: “How Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media Are Reshaping Health Care.”

One observer: “The fact that Health Affairs – the leading health services journal – is spending ink on this stuff now is a big deal.”

And in a recent conversation, we overheard a leading NYC-area orthopedic surgeon say:

[Health Affairs is a] great journal and hell-bent on meaningful reform and innovation. Their writers are wonderful and insightful – and wouldn’t waste their readers’ time if they didn’t believe this is the next wave. Now you can no longer poke fun at me as I “tweet”… or engage. Patients get it, the “well”: public gets it, the press is starting to catch on…. but most docs are woefully ignorant of the changes taking place. I tried to gather support through the medical executive committee to put together a platform so the docs at [hospital name] can be*available* to their patient base… and you would have thought I asked each and every member of the committee to pose nude. They think that only teenagers are using this technology. We still have a ways to go… There are few companies that enable the physicians to adopt this type of wide-reaching and wide-ranging communications platform and docs still feel they simply don’t need to engage consumers like this….yet.

Posted by CharlotteGee


Health 2.0 From a Diabetic’s Perspective by charlottegee

Last night I came across this post on Read Write Web and had to pass it along. We’ve been talking about Health 2.0 for a while now on Next Things First—what will become of all these start-ups, do people really use the sites and gadgets and widgets (and do these actually improve health outcomes), important things Health 2.0 companies forget.

Well, Richard MacManus (in New Zealand) offers an incredibly informative perspective: Health 2.0 Through the Eyes of a Diabetic. He covers consumer web applications, online platforms to connect health professionals, medical records, portals, search tools, blogs and more. His post is certainly chock full of great information and resources for those people with diabetes, but also provides some interesting perspective for companies to consider regarding what patients want/need out of Health 2.0 offerings. (Personal note: Reading Richard’s post made even the cynic in me feel very “safe” in a way—if I’m ever diagnosed with diabetes or something similar. It is quite reassuring to know that all of these communities/resources are out there, many of them being tried and tested, ready and waiting.)

Other posts of note from the Read Write Web site:

How Technology Can Improve The U.S. Health Care System

Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health – The ‘Coke and Pepsi’ of Online Health

Health 2.0 and The New Economics of Aggregation

(Lots more, too.)

Posted by CharlotteGee

From Techno Tuesday

From Techno Tuesday

Over 60 Million Health 2.0ers by charlottegee
November 5, 2008, 5:25 pm
Filed under: consumer engagement | Tags:

According to a November 3 Manhattan Research news release: “Over 60 million U.S. adults are Health 2.0 consumers – reporting to use health blogs, online support groups, prescription rating sites, and other health-related social media applications…” The market research company says that this number doubled over the past year, and that a consumer’s particular condition (as opposed to just age or gender) is an important factor in his or her likeliness to engage in health-related social media.

As a comparison, the AP is just reporting a few estimates on how many folks voted in yesterday’s presidential election. Estimates range from 126.5 million to 133.3 million people, based on preliminary information.

Perhaps some of these Health 2.0 companies should consider “Get Out the Mouse” campaigns, or send consumers some slick direct mail, telling them why Company A is so much better than Company B (or at least why Company B is very, very bad).

Really, though, 60 million? That’s a lot, right?

Posted by CharlotteGee

At Last, This Explains Everything… (um… sort of) by Rob Coppedge
November 1, 2008, 2:16 pm
Filed under: consumer engagement, health it | Tags: ,

I am really happy to have found this graphic – Big  kudos to Crossover Health for putting this together over a year ago (click through for some interesting and still very relevant discussion).

Elegant, but still a bit confusing? I think it points to the complexity of defining what Health 2.0 actually is, what these web 2.0 enabled tools are expected to do and where they intersect with existing health care technology infrastructure (Health 1.0?) and the “work-flow” of health care delivery.

More thoughts on all of this soon – and big thanks to all of you who have been posting this week (we really appreciate you sharing your opinions).

Posted by RobC

Not Sure if this Clarifies

HEALTH 2.N0 (More Opinions on Health 2.0) by charlottegee

Our post on Health 2.0 has generated even more feedback. Here’s the latest:

Health care is a very attractive industry for venture investing. There are numerous reasons for this, but in this gloomy economic environment, two are paramount: the inelastic demand for what the industry produces (health!) and the incredible amount of inefficiency gumming up and increasing the cost of care delivery. It is an industry begging for the sort of innovation that early-stage, venture-backed companies can provide.

In this context, the Health 2.0 “trend” is interesting to me. The basic premise is sound: take a successful concept from another industry and apply it to health care. The social media concept has been successful in some other industries, namely entertainment (a la and business (a la Websites like these deliver value primarily around information sharing, providing platforms and distribution for user-generated content and facilitating electronic “networking.”

These are important, relevant services. However, while the excitement about the possibilities is huge, I question the amount of value these Web 2.0 services create for consumers or providers of health care.

What about information sharing, distributing user-generated content or electronic networking creates health care value? Sharing information could be valuable, but in health care accuracy is critical, and there is no verifiability to socially generated content (generally speaking). Electronic connections and networks probably aren’t significant in the context of health care on an individual basis. And how many “amateurs” do we want to hear pontificating about their health, wellness regimens, remedies, etc.

On further examination, isn’t this just “noise” distracting us and diverting capital away from the more fundamental problems and technological challenges of the health care industry? Health 2.0 seems to ignore the mountain of existing systemic inefficiencies – creating a solution without a distinct (or at least a relevant) problem in mind.

Ultimately, I think social media in the health care industry can provide some value in creating communities and support groups. However, as businesses, these generally have a low hit rate and do not have a reliable revenue source or expandable business model.

As a health care investor, I am excited about Health 2.0 only because it is distracting my competitors from the real opportunities in the health care space.

Submitted by Jory Caulkins
SSARIS Advisors, LLC

(If we only knew how he really felt … )

The Value of the Internet (Or More Ideas on Health 2.0, From Gerene Schmidt) by charlottegee
October 27, 2008, 2:09 pm
Filed under: consumer engagement, health it | Tags: ,

In response to our previous post about the buzz surrounding Health 2.0, Gerene D. Schmidt, president of SB&E, Inc. (Science, Business & Education), submitted the following perspectives:

While the Internet has unparalleled value in researching information of every kind, there are limits to value in some fields. There is a widespread belief and expectation that the Internet fulfills all information needs in any field. One field in which this is thought to be the case is healthcare (e.g., using online programs for diabetes management).

To the contrary, experience has demonstrated that in some aspects of healthcare, there is little or no value in using Internet programs for self-management of chronic diseases. Another example is Internet-based disease management programs/services that failed to meet expectations for patient education and improved self-management and outcomes. Consider this case: Pediatric patients and their parents in a diabetes clinic in a large mid-western university-based healthcare system began bringing printouts of blood glucose patterns in statistics, bar graphs and pie charts from the pharmaceutical sponsored program they used online to enter their personal blood glucose data. When the diabetes team, MDs and RNs/CDEs, asked how they interpreted the data to apply to daily diabetes management for Type 1 Diabetes, neither the older children nor their parents had any idea of where to begin in knowing what the data meant and how to use the data in daily management., version 2.0 by charlottegee

The Health 2.0 conference took place in San Francisco yesterday and today (take a look at all those sleek, pretty sponsor logos:

The “traditional” definition of Health 2.0 is “the use of social software and light-weight tools to promote collaboration between patients, their caregivers, medical professionals, and other stakeholders in health.”

We’ve all seen these websites. A few of us may even use (and benefit from) them. More likely, the majority of us have just read about them on blogs or in newspapers and wondered: “Does anyone actually use those sites? Why would anyone want to add yet-another social networking site to his list of bookmarks?”

At any rate, there certainly seems to be a never-ending crop of Health 2.0 sites popping up on the web … targeted either for particular professions or diseases and conditions or goals like weight loss, increased physical activity and smoking cessation. And someone is giving them lots of money.

Capitalizing on this trend (and perhaps fulfilling its own prophecy), this week’s Health 2.0 conference has generated a lot of interest, with a SRO audience of 1,000. Over at The Health Care Blog, Matthew Holt writes of the buzz:

Tonight the party starts, the beautiful (and not so beautiful) people gather, and the shows under way—and that’s just the Health 2.0 team! There’s also 900 + speakers, guests, media, volunteers and the community is buzzing. Wall Street may be going crazy, the election may be a cakewalk (or not) but in health care interest in combining user-generated content with personalization based on data is growing. Last year around 500 people got together to find out what Health 2.0 was. Really, we only had about 35 decent options from which to choose our eventual 25 demo panelists (and one or two of those were a little of a stretch).

This year he says they chose from over 250 (!) presenters.

All of this buzz does raise some questions. What do we do with all of this user-generated content? Which platforms and features (and, yes, gadgets and widgits) work and which don’t? How does a consumer, a physician or a caregiver go about separating the wheat from the chaff, with so many options out there?

Oh, and, what about traditional health care services (remember that “legacy” business: the actual provision of care?). One might wonder if all this Health 2.0 stuff is on the periphery having little-to-no effect on the delivery of care, or whether there is more of an impact on established models. For instance, for someone just diagnosed with diabetes, does having an online social network have any real impact on her health outcomes? How does her interaction in an online community affect her relationship with her caregivers and the facility? Does anyone know?

Thoughts on where we go from here? The floor is open.

[We will be posting comments and perspective from our friends, readers (and even those we think are totally off base) over the course of the next week. Let us know what you think.]

Posted by CharlotteGee and RobC