Short Selling: Why the Long View is Critical for Health 2.0

Short Sell (shôrt sĕl) n.

1. The sale of a security that one does not own but has borrowed in anticipation of making a profit by paying for it after its price has fallen.
2. A short seller will make money if the stock goes down in price, while a long position makes money when the stock goes up.

Health 2.0 has officially transcended from a niche movement to part of a larger national conversation. This weeks Business Week cover article (as well as great slideshow listing many but not all of the key Health 2.0 players) showcases the increasing, ongoing, and long term implications of patients as partners in care.  While this idea is not novel, the infrastructural underpinnings (EMR’s, communication technology, data liquidity, etc) now appear to be coming together to make this a real possibility.

I highlighted the notion of how Millennial Patients, and their role as partners in care, would help bring about reform within health care in the April Issue of MDNG. I will be speaking next week at the World Health Innovation and Technology Conference on this theme as well (9AM Wednesday with Dr. Jordan Shlain) and look forward to the opportunities for health care improvement that will results as traditional passive patients become active consumers in their care.

My only quibble with an otherwise excellent article was what I still perceive as a limited definition and role of Health 2.0 in the overall health care reform agenda. The business week definition:

Health 2.0 is the use of social media and other technologies to improve communication in healthcare. These platforms may be used to connect patients with patients, doctors with other professionals, or patients with doctors. The Health 2.0 movement is about enhancing communication to improve the focus and results of the health system on the patients it serves.

If Health 2.0 gets pigeon-holed as only a social networking / “connectedness” / communication technology concept then our vision of its potential influence will be similarly and dramatically reduced to a technology infrastructure play. This would be an unfortunate short sell of a concept that can be so much more.

To me, the burgeoning Health 2.0 movement,  is about the transition to an entirely new health system, wherein entirely new types of relationships are possible – new relationships between patients and their providers; patients and their data; patients and their insurers; patients and their personal health advisors. Clearly the patient is at the center of this, is an active participant, and has taken upon themselves the responsibility/accountability associated with this new found freedom. The transactional friction is removed via transparency, interoperability, commonly accepted standards, agreed upon outcomes measures, and the liquidity of all this information flowing around securely, privately, and at the discretion of the patient.

This utopian perspective requires one to have a long view. We can’t declare Health 2.0 a success or failure based its earliest manifestions (greater participation by all the players). We need to evaluate its success by its ability to achieve excellent outcomes (better quality, lower costs, improved access, increased patient satisfaction, enhanced system efficiency, or other relevant measures) and then compare that to the price required to achieve that outcome. Ahhh, the return to the old health care value (outcome/price) equation.

Communication is an interesting part of all this, but only a single instrument in a potentially beautiful Health 2.0 orchestra.

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8 Comments

Filed under Consumerism, Health 2.0, Healthcare, Innovation, Transparency, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Short Selling: Why the Long View is Critical for Health 2.0

  1. Pingback: Business Week Highlights 24 Health 2.0 Players « Crossover Healthcare

  2. Hi Scott,
    You say communication is a single instrument in this orchestra and I understand all the other issues that are critical to the success of health 2.0 in terms of a new healthcare system and the long view. I also think the Businessweek article shortchanged the whole concept as well as the diversity of efforts going on under the umbrella of health 2.0. As a communication scholar though, I believe that the way we interact creates particular realities so in some ways, I would not consider it an instrument only….perhaps more the music we create.

    • Kirsti,

      I didn’t mean to short change communication either by claiming it was a single instrument (perhaps the strings section?). My point was, as you also seem to agree, that all these things are working in “concert” to provide the music that we all enjoy. Great to have you on board the conversation – I have really enjoyed the range of people and backgrounds who have jumped into the health care fray to work through these issues.

  3. well communication is really very important in this.

  4. There is still some time needed to see how health 2.0 is going affect everyone.

  5. I agree with the statement above :
    Business week article shortchanged the whole concept as well as the diversity of efforts

  6. the concept is there , needs management to keep it moving forward

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