According to Red Herring,
- 46% of U.S. adults have researched a medical condition online.
- 36% have researched a drug or medical condition online.
- 12% have researched a doctor or hospital online.
Why is this important? Because consumer-driven healthcare is not a fad nor a myth – it’s real, it’s here to stay, and Forrester says it’s a $16B industry. Consumer healthcare tools have been provided so far by new companies, not legacy providers. However, any vendors that don’t have systems that don’t let healthcare organizations provide consumer front ends to their back ends are going to lose out in the long run. It will be easier for companies that have large number of users on the consumer side to move into the back end than it will be for back end providers to move out to consumers. So, if HCIT vendors don’t want to get eaten by up and coming e-Bay, Amazon, and Google like companies they should get moving on extending their systems out to consumers as soon as possible.
Although HIPAA has provided a transitional impetus to many healthcare providers, I believe that consumer driven healthcare will provide an even bigger opportunity for change of an entire industry. Patients are feeling more empowered these days, they have more choice, and once they have decision making capabilities based on real information online they’ll take even more control than they have now. Today we basically have a “Yellow Pages” style directory of doctors and hospitals; however, new services are providing much more information about care providers and their effectiveness.
A new company makes selecting a doctor, hospital, or medical plan as easy as picking a restaurant.
…Their service, www.myhealthadvisor.com, enables patients to “shop on-line” for doctors, health plans, and hospitals. And it’s getting some attention – 60 million people already use it! BusinessWeek also just named it “Best of the Web” for healthcare information. In the 16,000-response survey, Subimo even beat out WebMD and Yahoo!Health. The site contains info on 5,000 hospitals and 100 medical conditions and procedures. For $24/year, consumers get all that rich information.
Another interesting new service was covered in Genetic Engineering News: ZivaGuide Changes the Way Millions of Americans Access Healthcare Information Online. Some excerpts:
ZivaGuide is the first online healthcare resource to provide a single, centralized site for access to personalized guidance, customized information and localized resources. It uses a combination of professional expertise, proprietary and licensed content, innovative technology and common sense.
Among the many features of the ZivaGuide site is ZivaCares (www.ZivaCares.com) a companion online community Website developed by Mary Furlong, president of Mary Furlong & Associates. For 20 years, Mary has guided the digital marketing strategies of major U.S. corporations for the 45+ age market. ZivaCares will be a gathering place for people to share experiences, find emotional support and gain valuable insights from people who care for and about others. The 44 million caregivers in the U.S. will now have a place to go for support and resources.