Wall Street is again turning its sights on healthcare, which does not bode well for the industry or the health of the population. Another techie, one Steve Case, the founder of AOL and former chair of floundering Time Warner, has mounted his trusty steed and is galloping to save all those poor Luddites who care for us every day. Sort of reminiscent of Joe Clark and the ill-fated Healtheon, which saved itself from total extinction merged with WebMD, thereby setting the state for the saving of both companies and over $1 billion in investor money. But I digress.
The Washington Post article this morning suggests that the web is the next land of opportunity in healthcare. Some 80% of online adults search for health information on the web. The article touts two companies, including Stave Case’s “Revolution”, as being at the ones to provideconsumers with the information they want on physicians, hospitals, and their health. Some of the quotes compare this latent demand to what has already shaken up the travel and investment industries, and the belief that consumers will demand and make decisions in healthcare in the same way they buy an airline ticket or a mutual fund.
I think there is a need, demand, and viable businesses to be grown. This is where physicians need to stand up and take control. Every practice needs to put up a website – Medem will be happy to help you, I’m sure (I do not have any relationship with them). There are some others, and you can hire a local web designer/host for your practice as well.
The takeaway: physicians must re-take the leadership position in advocating for their patients, and in guiding paitients and the general public to reputable, reliable health information. The web is clearly the most powerful tool to do this.