Next Things First

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


Top 5 Things Too Many Health 2.0 Companies Forget (From Tobin Arthur) by charlottegee

More thoughts on Health 2.0, drummed up by our 10/23 post below. This one from Tobin Arthur, CEO of iMedExchange.

When Rob Coppedge, a colleague at iMedExchange and Founder of Faultline Ventures, placed the challenge to submit thoughts regarding the value and future of Web 2.0, I decided to add my two cents.

Having recently participated on a panel discussion at the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to learn firsthand what some industry leaders and industry contenders are up to. This, and my interaction with dozens of other Web 2.0 companies and their management teams on a regular basis, provides the framework for my Top 5 Things Too Many Health 2.0 Companies Forget. The fact of the matter is that, while this list is little more than common sense, most companies that give Health 2.0 a bad name are butchering one or more of them.

1) Failure Is Healthy. In order to achieve progress, we have to be willing to try and fail. It’s healthy to have a broad range of solutions being tested in the marketplace. The market will vet the winners from the losers and the healthcare marketplace is the better for the process.

2) Don’t Do Just Because You Can. While the Web and a myriad of development tools now available enable new sites to be rapidly and inexpensive proto-typed and introduced to “the market,” this does not mean that every new tool or site introduced has merit. There are far more losing propositions in the marketplace than eventual winners. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean it should be done … the market eventually figures this out. The ability to register a domain name on for less than $10 is not a license for every entrepreneur-wanna-be to start frittering away the hard-earned money of family and friends.

3) There Isn’t a More Powerful Communication Tool Than the Internet. The Internet is the most enabling communications platform ever created! As such, I believe we are just beginning to harness some of that power and there is far more to come. Factors like security, trust, etc. that are limiting or slowing adoption in some potential areas are not insurmountable characteristics of the Web.

4) Where Is the Business Model? What’s the sustainable business model? Too many entrepreneurs, and frankly too many venture capitalists, don’t have a true understanding of how their venture is going to make money in the marketplace. My eyes roll back in my head every time I hear a “company” purport to change the way healthcare fundamentally works with their new whiz-bang business model. Healthcare, as a wise businessman once told me, is like a battleship. You cannot expect to turn it on a dime. If your model relies on “changing healthcare,” go ahead and throw your money straight into the toilet. The industry is far too vast with far too many political, economic, legacy and other issues to contend with. Rather, you can build a valuable enterprise with the much more humble objective of making an incremental change in the market. Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, but do so with underlying fundamentals to be successful if you hit the lamppost instead.

5) Do What You Know. Stick to what you know. I know technology. More specifically I know how to leverage technology to the benefit of physicians. There are plenty of things I don’t know how to do: practice medicine, suck management fees off LPs (I hear it’s pretty easy), defuse a bomb, successfully manage investment portfolios in Bear Markets, and the list goes on. I am building an innovative online community for physicians. It’s in my wheelhouse. The moment I attempt to do any of the other items listed above, and expect to make money off of them, my wife has permission to kick me in the ass. This made the list because in almost every case where a business doesn’t have an air-tight business model, I can probably find Founders who shouldn’t be doing what they are doing., 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