Friday, October 24, 2008

An Injection of Interaction

Health 2.0 is not just a concept, it is also an LLC. A quick glance at the links I've just provided should illustrate the difference handily.

The LLC is currently hosting their Second Annual Health 2.0 Conference , examining the plans offered by our candidates as well as the effects of the chaotic economy on health care and how social technology fits into the overall picture. Evidently, there is quite a bit of interest since as of last Friday night they have had to add another room to the conference where the proceedings may be watched on a large screen due to attendee demand. It is a sign of how vital this conversation is when we see people shelling out money to sit in an adjoining room watching a video feed.

One of the biggest themes at the event is the way in which the methodology is shifting. Social media-driven approaches need to engage with the patient base in ways entirely unprecedented within the medical industry.

Lidija Davis of The New York Times reports:

The rules of engagement however, as Clay Shirky pointed out in his keynote on Wednesday, are changing.

According to a study released today by Edelman [PDF], trust and confidence are inversely proportionate to demand for health care. With an aging population, behavior-related chronic conditions, and expensive innovations, companies must help people address their specific personal health concerns with thorough, transparent and specific information.

Additionally, the financial meltdown is aggravating an already weak health system as people forgo or postpone essential health care due to loss of insurance or inability to pay.

The answer, according to the survey, is engagement: "Effective health engagement can build trust, and conversely, trust is the key to deeper engagement," said Nancy Turett (Edelman).
Interactivity in the name of the game is the modern day. Online access is becoming less and less optional as time goes by, and companies are starting to realize this. The consumer of 2008 has high expectations learned from their use of services like online banking and websites such as eBay and Amazon. As belts tighten during the economic downturn, more and more people will be taking a closer look at their health expenditures trying to find ways to reduce their capital outlay.

A good example on the corporate end is Aetna. The company is working on a system to allow their customers to transfer their existing health records to Microsoft's Health Vault, an online EMR option. Other big players in this aspect of the industry are WebMD, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all of whom have programs worth watching. (Ms. Davis' article linked below has more detail and quotes from each them.)

Transparency note: The Health 2.0 Conference has Kaiser Permanente as its Flagship Sponsor. This blog's affiliation with Kaiser Permanente can be viewed on our About page.

SOURCE: "Health 2.0: Rules of Engagement " 10/23/08
photo courtesy of zaldylmg, used under its Creative Commons license

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