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Health 2.0 – Day 2

by John Moore | October 23, 2008

8:15am Interview with healthcare SaaS darling athenahealth. CEO Jonathan Bush is being interviewed by Chris Lawton of the Wall St. Journal. Jonathan speaks so fast (he definitely has ADHD) it’s nearly impossible for me to keep up. One comment from Jonathan: Many of the Health 2.0 companies say they are different than Google but put nothing that truly shows they are different. Tey have not done the hard work to really create something different.

Jonathan just inferred that they are looking to deliver solutions that better connect physicians to consumers. Made reference to using technologies like RSS feed to get your lab results from your physician. Wants to enable consumers to go online to do appointment scheduling and other transactional processes.

Athena Clinicals, their new EMR, less than 1000 doctors using it now. Aveage they receive is 89 pages of paper from physicians per day, directly faxed to them for processing. Like the payments processing, which startd their company, they are looking to revolutionize doctor practices, making their life simpler and helping them, the doctors, make money.

8:30am Interview with Sermo CEO Daniel Palestrant. Sermo made a big announcement this morning partnering with investor publisher, Bloomberg, to connect healthcare investors with physicians. Sermo is now working with 10 of the 12 top pharmaceutical companies. (At last year’s Health 2.0 event, Sermo announced Pfizer as first pharma partner.) Clearly, pharma is lookng for new channels to reach physicians. Today, Sermo in reaching only a small percentage of physicians though, so how much patience will pharma companies have as Sermo looks to expand its reach remains to be seen? OK, Daniel just answered that question stating they are getting 7K new physicians/month signing up. Surpirsingly, it is older physicians where they are seeing the most growth. Daniel claims these physicians are leveraging Sermo as they are too busy to use traditional learning channels.

Future at Sermo: Now preparing to expand service overseas. By mid-2009 will have an offering that brings in the consumer. Still, I wonder how Sermo will actually start making money, something that Daniel did not touch upon. Even with forecasted growth of some 7K new physicians/month, it is going to take them a very long time to have a truly influential presence in healthcare. Even the Bloomberg announcement today, while interesting, it is unclear how it would actually work and how investors would benefit by it. Physicians are busy people and investors maybe more so. Will have to get a demo on this new Sermo-Bloomberg service as at first glance, this looks like a non-starter.

9:00am Panel Session on Health 2.0 Around the World: Starting off with Sage Software exec, James Matthews emphasizing the term mHealth. India, 300M paid cell phone subscribers which will grow quickly to 720M. Becoming ubiquitious in India, everyone SMS’s each other. This is where health is moving – this is how the world will connect.

First up from panel is VOXIVA, which is focused on mHealth (right at top of their homepage). They target the physician market to ease physician-consumer communication. Working in Uganda with a nationwide mHealth service to assist tracking population health and wellness. Gave demo of using SMS on a service offered in Mexico, CancerNet. VOXIVA’s model is leveraging what is already out there by offering a platform for others to quickly build out mobile health apps. (Will need to look into this more as it is difficult to understand where thy make their $$$)

Next up, isis, a nonprofit developing apps focused on sexual health education. SMS text messaging for prevention and referral. Lots of work focused on youth, thus the emphasis on mHealth. Also working in South Africa. Beginning to expand beyond sexual health issues to address depression in teenage youth. Some really good stuff they are doing – quite impressive and their product/service development model is excellent. One of my favs so far at Health 2.0

Now we have Alensa, a European company focused on mail-order health products. Making a profit. Work closely with the physician community, started with 12 docs to provide advice on their site. Company is Romanian. Recently launched a health blog aggregator for clinicians to put their blog and even moneitize their posts (has widget for charging reader a fee to see full post, can be done via mobile, numerous currencies supported). Odd, just don’t see anyone actually paying for your typical Blog post.

Now we have German company PHR provider ICW. (Note, they were profiled in our iPHR Market Report – some nice technology, particularly for linking in biometric devices). Demonstrated a technology they developed that links blister packaging of medications to unique medication regime of a given patient profile. Closed loop process from the inital entering of medication regime, to blister packaging, to barcode bedside delivery and link-back to the patient profile updating profile that medications have been taken at prescribe time./interval. Guess, ICW, like most PHR providers, must look to other markets to foster growth. But let me put that in context: From early on, ICW has always had some development focused on the clinician. And with some 600+ employees, it is also clear that much of their business today comes from outside of consumer-focused apps.

Now have a spokesperson from the UK’s NHS who is giving an overview of their PHR, MyHealthSpace. Not unlike what KP has done with MyHealthManager – track health, see labs, support eVisits, make appointments, etc. Nothing new here if you have been tracking KP’s roll-out.

Panel discussion/comments: Need to design apps/services that are able to run on any number of modalities. Too many are focused on just one or another, basically painting themselves into a corner. IDEO chief, Doug Solomon finds health and technology like oil and water right now, each in their own separate worlds in creating products/services. He is seeing an amazing amount of creativity occurring overseas, particularly among poor people using mobile technology in rural areas. Encourages developers to get out in the field and see what is being done – “you’ll be amazed”.

11:00am Panel/talk show format – Tools for Consumers: Matthew Holt, one of the founders of this conference has just danced up on stage as Matilda, long red hair wig and all. “Matilda” has a new iPhone and A.D.A.M. has just taken the stage to introduce/demo their iPhone Health Navigator app. Note: talked to A.D.A.M. head of engineering yesterday who told me this app would not be available until Q1’09. Still working through some of features (some pretty slick ones he demo’d for me, including streaming educational health videos delivered over the iPhone. They are still working through the pricing model and what will be offered for free and what will be add-on features for a fee.

David Clymer of myMedLab just gave a demo with Matilida demo’ing the ability to purchase a lab test online. DTC (direct to consumer) model. Operate in 47 states today with 200 collection sites. Had talked to David several months back. As I recall, they have a close partnership with the second largest national lab service, LabCorp. David gave me a free test to try out the service. Unfortunately, the closest lab to draw my blood was some 40 miles away – to much of a hassle to bother. Wonder if they are having the same problems with other consumers.

Next up, Linda Avery from 23andMe and Mari Baker from Navigenics to talk about DTC genomics testing. Linda is seeing the genetics testing market moving very quickly. Early learnings at Navigenics is provindg a completely new level of information and inspiration. Over 6,000 physicians have taken the CME course that they are offering online. Now looking to partner with one of the big societies to extend the reach of the CME course. Matilda took genetics tests from both. Linda demos the private customer site showing various risks, based on their combing of the research, and provide links to specific reports that the consumer can review and learn more about their risk(s)and ways to augment the risks. Now we are looking at the Navigenics test results, again showing various risk profiles. Mari started demo, unlike Linda, clearly stating that she is not a genetic adviser/counselor and encourages Matilda to use one when evaluating one’s genetic profile and risks. Good move Mari – this is absolutely critical for all in this audience to understand.

This should be good, we now have former Googler, and founder of Keas – Adam Bosworth. When signing up fo rthe service, looks like one will complete a baseline HRA to set your baseline on health. This is a health & wellness app/service. Also structured to import your lab data, or order, via DTC a lab test. Some nice grapics to display various charts and goals. Five tabs across top: My To-dos, Overall Progress, My Labs,My Meal Plan and My Exercise Plan. Under My Meal Plan, three choices, create your own, Keas recommends or other member recommendations. More pictures/graphics. Very graphics heavy site – you’re going to need broadband. Also has streaming video (Youtube videos) embedded.

Opps, looks Adam is having a “Neupert moment” a burp in he demo.

Demo is back and live, albeit with some “operational problems.” As one, over time, mproves their health profile within Keas – Keas provides positve feedback messaging. So, Adam, who is your customer? The end user or employers/payers looking for health & wellness apps they can sponsor for ther constiuents? Likely the latter, but will have to follow-up.

So there you have it, Keas is a health & wellness ap that will draw in data from labs and self-entered to help guide one in taking better care of their health. One big missing piece though is medications. Real mystery as to why that was left out. There must be some justification, but I can’t figure it out – especially since they are advising the user on meal plan. That meal plan may be in direct conflict with a consumer’s medication regime.

Roy, CEO of AmericanWell has now taken the stage with Matilda to demo their online doctor eVisit. Live video feed via webcam for consultation between doctor and consumer. eVisit is timed for 10 minutes, which can be extended by physician if they deem it appropriate. Plenty has been written on this company before – they have conducted an extremely heavy marketing push. Despite all that marketing, they have only landed one significant client, BCBS of HI. They are going to need a lot more than that to stay in the game.

Now Matilda just got a phone call with an automated system leading Matilda through her Rx reill including asking her if she wanted to save some cash by going with a generic. Matilda made the switch and the automated system confirmed request and sent the script to the pharmacist and a note to her physician.

DestinationRx now giving a demo on Matilda’s medication regime and adverse drug interactions. Also advises on savings opportunities for Matilda for switching from one medication to another. Example used was Lipitor, a 90-day supply costing $80 and suggesting three comparable generics costing $6.00 for that 90 day supply. Great demo, nice pricing visibility for the consumer. This looks like a winner.

Destination Rx also allows one to manage the meds of a loved one, say a child managing their elderly parents Medicare Part D medication choices. Provides ability to compare plans from the various insurers, match it up to the medications one is taking to show which is the most cost effective plan. In this example, the plan with the lowest monthly premium was not the one with the lowest total cost – in this example, a $2k/yr difference.

Geez there are a lot of med checkers. Just had a demo of PharmaSURVEYOR. Unimpressed. Too complex and too messy a site that I personally would avoid. Had a strip of Google ads down the side of the page. Simply amazed at how many of these Health 2.0 apps are somewhat dependent on that Google ad bar.

Marlene, founder of doublecheckMD has taken the stage to demonstrate their new offering that provides a personalized treatment regime based on a condition one might have, in this case high blood pressure. (Note: Marlene, who is one of the nicest people I’ve met here, told me yesterday that this new offering was developed in close cooperation with Aetna). One of the nice features of their site is the use of a natural processing engine that allows the user to enter common everyday terms – very user friendly. Find their site text heavy and could be cleaner/easier on the eye.

QuickenHealth now demo’ing their Health Expense tracker. Shows bills one may need to pay as well as exactly what you are being charged for in simple understandable English, unlike a standard EOB. Do online bill pay. As others have stated, not much more than a health specific Quicken app. Claims and benefits, if they have a partnership with Intuit enable upload of claims/EOBs directly into expense tracker. Pretty simple, straightforward app – nothing new or exciting.

2:00pm Panel Discussion on Privacy: Yes privacy is important, of curse they are talking about HIPAA for non-covered entities, for and against – the usual, nearly intractable issues we have heard for years now so not much to report here.

As with any event, usually the best discussions and oft-times most interesting things seen are outside the formal presentations & demos. During lunch was introduced to the CEO and founder of MEDgle. He and his team have developed yet another health search engine, but this one actually has an intriguing twist. Rather than do broad web searches for the consumer, their system does a structured search on content that they have gathered. But the real twist and added value here is that when one does a search you are presented with a several demographic type filters that narrow the search to your specific profile (e.g., male, 30-50yrs old, sedentary). They launched their first product/service a little over a year ago, MEDgle.com which is focused on medical conditions/symptom search. Two days ago they launched a new service, Healthiermee.com. Just did a drive-by of Healthiermee: first impressions, easy sign-in, nice graphical interface for setting up initial profile, some quick feedback on health and risk(s). They’ve done a nice job. Along with what I saw from RightHealth/Kosmix yesterday, this looks like a search engine with some legs. Now comes the hard part, taking it to market. This is one to watch.

5 responses to “Health 2.0 – Day 2”

  1. […] Overview John Moore, Chilmark Research, 23 October 2008 […]

  2. Hope Leman says:

    I very much enjoyed reading your reports on this conference. I would say, though, that there was something of great importance that was demoed in the Panel Discussion on Privacy. That was Private Access:


    As you say, some of the most interesting things at conferences are chats after sessions and I had a fascinating talk with Robert Shelton, CEO of Private Access. Anyone who follows clinical trials and laments the currently convoluted, inefficient system that burdens researchers and does little for patients should look into Private Access. It really could improve things hugely for scientists and patients and work wonders by fast-tracking trials. That is so crucial for diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for instance. It is a fascinating development in that it is an attempt to meet the privacy needs of patients and the needs of scientist for trial subjects. I really felt such a surge of hope after seeing that demoed and reading about Private Access since.

    You are so are target about PharmaSURVEYOR–junky interface. Neat concept, poor execution.

    Great write-up!

  3. John says:

    Thanks for the comment. As you are well-aware, there was quite a bit going on at Health 2.0 and one could certainly not cover everything, thus I missed PrivateAccess.

    Just did a drive-by of their website, Unfortunately, do not share your enthusiasm. The website is horribly thin on the details, e.g., descriptions of products are just a brief paragraph long, lacks any privacy policy documentation and the list goes on.

    That’s not to say they have nothing to offer, only to say the have nothing readily usable today and until they do, looks more like PowerPoint (Vaporware).

  4. […] one wonder if it was the slick demo of A.D.A.M. that WebMD saw at the recent Health 2.0 conference or hearing Microsoft’s announcement at the Connected for Health Symposium that a […]

  5. Hope Leman says:

    Hi, John. Thanks for comments. I can assure you that Private Access is not vaporware. Their partnership with the Genetic Alliance is solid and important, given the power of the Genetic Alliance in effecting change in health policy on many fronts. But your impressions about the relative thinness of the site in terms of detail are helpful.

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