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Health 3.0: Meet Your New Customers

Posted Sep 14 2008 3:01pm

Health 3.0: Meet Your New Customers

"You better start swimmin, or you'll sink like a stone; for the times they are a-changin"
- Bob Dylan

Managed care got us through the ’90s. Then, Consumer Driven Health Plans emerged toengage employees directly by empowering them through new benefit designs to take a decisive role in where, when, and from whom they receive care. Now, in 2008 we’re seeing the evolution of a next generation health care model – Health 3.0.

Are you ready for:

  • patients able to store their personal health record in an online “safe deposit box”
  • local physicians and hospitals managing integrated care systems designed around inter-generational, multi-site (even global) services
  • customers using Internet social networks to collaborate on a cancer treatment vetted by fellow patients, or collaborating with complete strangers on rating physicians in their community
  • innovations crisscrossing genomics, proteomics, nanotechnology, cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals

Health 3.0 is a term coined by Jeff Gruen, MD, Senior Advisor at Revolution Health, one of the leading Health 3.0 companies. It describes the newest wave in health care structural change. Three areas of innovation characterize Health 3.0—information technology grounded in sweeping web-based connectivity, personalized health care delivered in clinically relevant settings, and insurance financing mechanisms embracing consumer-centric business models.

Digital Customers

Consumers have long been using the internet to shop for an array of products, from books and music to TVs and clothing. Over the last few years, consumers routinely turn to the Web to research and buy health insurance products on websites called Tonik, Insurance Store, Vimo and eHealthInsurance.

Over 150 million people used the web last year to gather information and make purchase decisions involving their health care. They’re turning to websites, both commercial and social networking, to manage their medical and financial decisions:

  • prepare for doctor’s visits
  • investigate diagnoses and treatments
  • sign-on to wellness “frequent flyer-type” healthy reward programs
  • explore medical tourism care alternatives
  • manage Health Savings Account budgeting
  • comparison shop for vaccinations, medications and medical equipment
  • evaluate and coordinate in-home caregiver options

And if that’s not proof enough, check-out the new buzz words starting to show-up in health care glossaries – googlediagnosing, personal health simulation, cyberchondria, body hacking, biocitizens, boomer future proofing and theragnostics.

The vast wealth of health care intelligence is turning the digital consumer into a new type of customer—one which many organizations are not prepared to serve. Companies are not yet equipped to effectively manage these enlightened and empowered customers. In order to adapt and survive in this changing technological landscape, health companies (insurers and providers alike), need to find ways to maximize web tools, video content and mobile technology to communicate with, and service digital customers.

In a recent article I addressed the marketing and sales challenges of this changing world. One in which the consumer’s healthcare comfort zone is being squeezed and “new media” is quickly becoming status quo -

Health 3.0 is the convergence of innovative medical delivery models, a retail-based health insurance purchasing landscape, value-based financing schemes and most importantly, the digital customer—an activated consumer with any time / any place / any device connectivity accessing an almost bottomless information reservoir, with the confidence and savvy to put it to use.

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