Health 2.0: Implications for Consumers

Implications (ĭmplĭ-kā’shən) n.
  1. The act of implying or the condition of being implied.
  2. Something that is implied such as an indication, suggestion, meaning, or inference.

My second presentation out in Chicago was part of the Consumer Health On Demand portion of the Consumer Heath Conference series. This time I as fortunate to be on the panel with Revolution Health Chief Medical Officer Jeff Gruen MD and David Kibbe, MD from AAFP‘s Center for Information Technology.The topic of the panel was “Health 2.0: Implications for Consumers” and was moderated by Simmi Singh of Converge Partners.

As this was a different audience, I reviewed the definition of Health 2.0 as a way of introducing potential implications:


It was actually a great panel discussion regarding how Health 2.0 has already impacted medicine and some of the predicted outcomes that will flow from the new relationships being created. I was particularly interested in Dr. Kibbe’s remarks about how the “mass commercialization of healthcare information” (a phrase borrowed from David Brailer – perhaps another reason why he started a VC fund) will fuel a major wave within healthcare with some of the early signs of this being seen in several of the Health 2.0 trends. This is highly analogous to the concept of “democratization of Information” phraseology often used by one of my favorite business leaders, Red Hat’s own Matthew Szulik.

It has taken me a few years to understand the true ramifications of this phraseology, and perhaps the reason it resonated so loudly when we discussed it today. My experience in open source has helped me understand and witness the power that can be unleashed when your users become your collaborators. “Collective Intelligence” is not just a cute phrase, it is a powerful phenomenon that we are seeing overwhelm industries and create previously unconceived opportunities.

I think it can be appropriately applied within healthcare as well – why not outsource some of the aggregation of information (tagging, categorizing, communities, etc) to the people most interested? Why not pool real patient knowledge into active communities where experts by experience can help fill in information gaps for concerned newcomers. Why not leverage the learning and harness the experience of thousands who can truly “tell it like it is”.

While this may initially seem scary to the traditionalist, it actually does not disintermediate the physician, but it certainly changes her role:


These changes roles are not just for the consumer or the physician, but by inference will implicate all the players within the healthcare game. Truly, the journey is just beginning . . .

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