Inevitable (ĭn-ĕv’ĭ-tə-bəl) adj.
- An unavoidable event
- Incapable of being prevented
- Invariably occurring or appearing
I am looking into attending the Health Blogging Conference in Las Vegas on April 30. It has been an interesting and enjoyable experience for me to step out into the blogosphere, and engage the ether in a free exchange of thoughts and ideas regarding open source and healthcare information technology. I have enjoyed the increasing readership, the many insightful comments (usually sent privately), and the entirely new vista enabled through the experience. Blogging appears to be a medium of growing influence and importance within healthcare as defined by an official conference dedicated to it.
What are the signs that Health Blogging has really arrived? Above all there is an overpriced confrence to tell us all about it. No bandwagon is complete without a nice conference. I remember back during “B2B” days a Morgan Stanley analyst was saying it is a$60 trillion dollar business. He showed us some slideware at a self-sponsored conference, and everyone believed him. Recently I have attended some good conferences about the health benefits of colonic flushes and crystal healing therapies. Both of these conferences offered physician entrepreneurs robust, self-starter toolkits to immediately attract large audiences and begin generating a healthy adware revenue stream.
The above paragraph is in italics because it is intended to be some good natured ribbing in the form of a touché to my colleague Dimitri over at Trusted MD. My riposte is in response to his April Fools passé, regarding the potential to overhype the “Health 2.0” concept. Dimitri even slapped the “bandwagon” label (anathema to bloggers who want to be on the cutting edge of trends) on my notions of Health 2.0 (and my beautiful graphic with an endearing typo). The point is, I appreciate the pushback. In the free exchange of ideas, I guess there needs to be some exchange. I have previously acknowledge that Health 2.0 has the inherent stigma of being associated with Web 1.0, which has the inherent stigma of being associated with the internet bubble, which the inherent stigma of bringing back bad memories of VA Linux (biggest first day IPO in history of NASDAQ), Pets.com (the leading icon of the bubble era), and my personal favorite iMall (still around and still holder of the highest valuation/actual revenue for a purchased company in NASDAQ history).
Flop, Flop, Fizz, Fizz – Oh what a bubble it was!
Attempting to avoid a similar fate for the promising Health 2.0 movement, I have attempted to DEFINE it. If you will notice, Health 2.0 is not just about the underlying and enabling Web 2.0 technologies (social networking, blogging, mashups, etc), but equally about the groundswell of innovation within healthcare delivery, performance, quality, and outcomes. Health 2.0 is representative of an entire movement, a true revolution, that incorporates and adopts many of the principles espoused within the quintessential book Redefining Healthcare. While there are fair and legitimate questions about some premises within the book, I believe that for the most part the refocus on Health Value as the essential performance metric within the industry is correct. Healthcare Value encompasses outcomes (quality, performance, and results) divided by price (transaction costs, resources, time, etc) to achieve outcomes.
Furthermore, in addition to a tangible definition, I wanted to further categorize the actual COMPANIES who are out there slugging it out in the real world doing this stuff right now. This isn’t Harvard Business School theory, these are real companies, really doing this stuff, right now. This is the next generation of information technology companies that take advantage of the new tools of empowerment, who aggregate information, who provide health advisory services, and who deliver real value back to the consumers (whether patients, physicians, providers, plans, etc) by means and methods that have never been available.
So, Dimitri, with all due respect, I must disagree with your paternalistic protectionism of people who are going to be deceived by a “buzzword”, duped by the perceived hype, or disappointed by unfulfilled promises. That was so Web 1.0. What I am trying to describe by the term and concept of “Health 2.0” is the next wave of innovation that will provide real results, objective outcome improvements, and health value for empowered consumers who are optimizing their own health.