The PHR Risk: Revolution Health Axes PHR

by | Jan 27, 2010

Revolution Health is closing down its Personal Health Record (PHR) service at the end of February.  Below is the email sent to those with a Revolution Health PHR account.

Thank you for being a loyal user of the Revolution Health Personal Health Record. Unfortunately we will be discontinuing this service as of the end of February 2010 and removing all records, information, and data from the Revolution Health Web site.

So that you don’t lose the information you’ve entered into the system, we strongly suggest that you download your personal records as a PDF to print and save for future reference. To do this, simply follow these instructions:

1.       Log in to your Personal Health Record.

2.       From any page of your record, click on the “printable version” link on the top right corner of any page. When you see a pop-up box asking you to “Select the following sections to include in your print out,” simply make sure that the sections you want to print and save are checked and then click the “Submit” button.

3.       Once the PDF is created (this only takes a moment), you can print directly from it and/or save it to your computer. To print the PDF, click on the printer icon at the top left of the page. To save it, click on the disk icon to the right of the printer icon.

If you encounter a problem printing or saving your records, please e-mail our customer service department at for assistance. Even after the Personal Health Record is no longer available, Revolution Health and our partner sites will continue to offer you the same great health information and community pages as always. We hope you continue to visit Revolution Health often to take advantage of our offerings.

Thank you,
The Revolution Health Team

Revolution Health, the one time Internet consumer healthcare upstart darling that founder Steve Case (AOL fame) stated would change healthcare as we know it, flamed out early after a series of strategic missteps and ultimately was sold to the online health publisher, Everyday Health, who is now preparing to do an IPO in 2010.

It’s not like this is a great loss to the nascent PHR industry (Revolution Health actually had a pretty p*ss-poor PHR) nor a signal that PHRs are dead, though Chilmark Research has argued that no one is interested in a digital file cabinet for their health records, which most PHRs are today.  Rather, the PHR market is extremely difficult to gain traction in and all but impossible if a PHR vendor is pursuing a direct to consumer (B2C) marketing strategy.  Revolution Health was attempting such and failed.  PassportMD was pursuing such and was recently acquired.  Countless other PHRs in the market pursuing such a B2C strategy are simply the walking dead – zombies that still have a web presence but no activity (e.g., VitalChart).

What this announcement does say, however, is that one needs to be careful in their own assessment of a PHR for personal use or even if they are looking to sponsor a PHR for their members (payers), employees (employers), or customers/patients (providers).  Not all PHRs are created equal, not all will survive.  Look to those that have a broad customer base, steer clear of those that are solely focused on the consumer.

What is truly odd in this announcement by Revolution Health is that rather than offering their customers the option to directly export their data to another service, be it Google Health, HealthVault, WebMD or one of the PHR players in the market, they are taking the most expeditious path out the door.  Not exactly consumer friendly.  Also, Revolution Health states it will remove all records from the website, but says nothing about what will happen with this highly personal data thereafter.  Will it still be on their servers?  Lastly, why is it that when one goes to the Revolution Health website, you can still register to create your own PHR account?

Now how screwed up is that?!


Ted Eytan, of Kaiser-Permanente, gives his own spin on the story arguing that it is not that consumers do not want a PHR, its just that they seek a solution that actually helps them manage their health and in KP’s case, their interaction with this healthcare provider.  Impressive statistics at KP, truly a leader in this market that virtually all in this market can learn from.


  1. Office Ally

    We are happy to help fill in the blanks if we can be of service. Our PHR is what we call a hybrid. You can read about our recent contract with Blue Shield of California to replace Relay Health for those patients.

    Office Ally has been around a few years and built our core business on providing “free” clearinghouse services for physicians and billing the insurers versus the doctors having to pay since they tend to have a higher level of benefiting.

    The pdf format given to the consumers that have utilized the services from Revolution for storing their personal records as a means of moving it is truly a disappointment, we agree with you.

  2. Michael Jahn

    I share that link with a lot of people lately when they ask “why PHR” or “what is the business case for me supporting PHR”.

    If this becomes part of the criteria (or is a requirement) we all need to work out workflows for the release and better define ‘what is the standard’ – as there is no clear definition as to what my patient health record IS…well, I hope it is more than a pot it note saying there “Your requested health record is on this CD” and when I open it, it is a .txt file – or not much better – an ASTM CCR XML file.



  1. ICMCC News Page » The PHR Risk: Revolution Health Axes PHR - [...] Article John Moore, Chilmark Research, 27 January 2010 SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "The PHR Risk: Revolution Health Axes PHR", url: ""…
  2. MoMo AMS #14 Jeana Frost « 3G Doctor Blog - [...] appears to be the drug companies, whose products it’s members are discussing. In the week when the $200Million venture…
  3. What happens if a patients falls out with their Online Community? « 3G Doctor Blog - [...] What happens if a patients falls out with their Online Community? It always surprises me how little coverage reporters/analaysts give…
  4. Telus Goes with Different Model for HealthVault « Chilmark Research - [...] strategy for such services is fraught with challenges that even big consumer heavyweights such as Revolution Health and more…
  5. The PHR School of Hard Knocks | The Health Care Blog - [...] and self-insured employers, most notably are players like WebMD, Dossia and Revolution Health who closed down their PHR business…
  6. The PHR School of Hard Knocks | Health Care Jobs In Connecticut - [...] and self-insured employers, most notably areplayers like WebMD, Dossiaand RevolutionHealth who closed down their PHR business in early 2010.With…
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