Couple of long days and now listening to the wrap-up panel, Looking Ahead – The Business and Society of Health 2.0. One of the panel members, David Lansky, formally of Markle Foundation and now heading up the business healthcare group, Pacific Business Group on Health. Disturbing statement from Lansky was that he worked with Matthew to offer free attendance to the big business leaders in California, many of them from hi-tech, not a single one is in attendance. Lansky went on to say that there are extremely large vested interests in healthcare that are very good at protecting their financial stake and are not going to let go easily. Many will co-op Health 2.0 approaches to keep that control of the purse strings. Lansky encouraged all in attendance that healthcare is a policy issue and that Health 2.0 companies really need to work together and with their customers to force the policy changes needed. Very good and prescient comments.
Panel is for the most part cheerleaders for Health 2.0. Thankfully, Lansky is up there giving some balance – quite pragmatic. Oh, almost forgot, we do have Kolodner from HHS up there on the panel as well. He is encouraging the audience to get involved with AHIC successor. Oh Boy, you are better off siting in your Congressman’s office.
Looking at all the solutions I’ve seen here what strikes me most is the need for a roll-up. There is simply no way that a consumer is going to go to one site to manage their records, another to look at potential adverse reactions from meds, another to look at symptoms, a social community to talk about their health and the list goes on.
The WebMD/Healtheon merger leaves WebMD with a sizable war chest of some $340M to go out into the market and act as aggregator/acquirer to create a richer environment for their customers. Spoke to a couple of others who also have access to some very deep pockets who told me they will be out bottom fishing in 6-9 months.
Another strategy is a federated, best-of-breed roll-up where companies with complimentary solutions come together to deliver compelling solutions to institutional clients.
This market and the players within need scale. Virtually all of them are small operations with less than 25 employees. Most that I spoke to are still very much in start-up mode, fleshing out the product and only now begining to think about how they will take the product to market and scale. Channel strategies are immature, messaging non-existent. A lot of promise shown with regards to technology, despite all the overlap, but we are far from seeing this market truly succeed as technology is only a small piece of what it takes to make a business successful.
The event itself is a hell of a lot more interesting and more fun than HIMSS. Hat’s off to the organizers, they have done an excellent job bringing together some excellent people who are pushing the envelop and hopefully with input and engagement from the consumers and physicians they are targeting, these companies will push healthcare in the right direction.