26 May 2007

Revolution Health

I am following Revolution Health (www.revolutoin.com) with considerable interest. Steve Case, Revolution Health founder, also founded AOL and has a deep understanding of the consumer Internet market. That he has set his sights on the consumer eHealth market tells me that there is real potential in this market. Check out the latest eHealth developments at:


29 March 2007

What is Personal eHealth?

Despite its imprecise definition, eHealth is a term that is widely used and is gaining growing acceptance within the healthcare community and among senior bureaucrats and politicians. Branham’s 2005 eHealth in Canada study identified two major elements of eHealth initiatives across Canada:
  1. Digitization of healthcare data and the underlying processes that produce or consume this data.
  2. Integration of healthcare data from various sources to create context specific views of relevant healthcare information.

Taking this observation into consideration, Branham defines eHealth as:

The digitization and integration of healthcare processes using Information and Communications Technology.

Personal eHealth focuses on those processes in which the individual receiving care or making decisions about the care that they will receive plays or can play an active role. A few examples of processes in which the individual can take an active role include:

  • Booking an appointment.
  • Researching a diagnosed disease and the care plans associated with that disease.
  • Vital signs monitoring including blood pressure, pulse, and blood glucose levels.

It is important to note that despite the individual’s involvement in many healthcare processes, it is not always possible or practical for them to take an active role. An obvious example is surgery. Although the patient is present, they are a passive participant on whom the surgery is performed.

28 March 2007

Patient vs Consumer

Although I have not seen much supporting literature, I contend that to understand Personal eHealth and how it will evolve you need to consider that individuals, in looking after their health,
will alternately and sometimes simultaneously act as a patient and as a consumer. In each role individuals will think and act differently and may consequently have a need for different services.

I differentiate between these two roles as follows:

  • In the consumer role an individual will make choices of about the services that they need, when they need them and from whom they receive them. In this role, the consumer may engage service providers outside the traditional healthcare system such as a consumer health portal or consult with other individuals in on-line communities of interest. The concept of individual as healthcare consumer explains why services such as WebMD or the more recent revolution.com are gaining mindshare.

  • In the patient role an individual has made choices regarding their healthcare services that they wish to receive and are engaged with one or more healthcare providers for these services. Just as banks and courier companies are using ICT to streamline operations and engage their customers in ways and at times that are most convenient to these customers so too can healthcare providers use ICT to engage their patients.

What do you think about this duality of roles and its impact on eHealth services?

22 February 2007


Welcome to my blog. For the past few months I have been tracking and thinking about what I am currently calling the "Personal eHealth" market. I am now exploring this market in more depth and thought that it might be interesting to share what I learn along the way. I find that writing my thoughts and observations helps me immensely in sorting out and analyzing what I am learning. Along the way, I hope that I can offer a few insights. Equally important, I am hoping to engage in stimulating dialog with at least a few people.