Thursday, October 11, 2007

Health 2.0. Potentially Clinical Useful?

Alright, you gals and guys of the physician sisterhood and brotherhood. Gird your intellectual loins and open your minds to the concept of Health 2.0, which will supposedly make all health care data more transparent, standardized, more accessible, and more valuable and will deliver greater value to you and your patients. My friend, Brian Klepper, founder of the Center of Practical Health Reform, tells me Health 2.0 may transform the health care industry.

I want to know what you, as practicing physicians, think about prospects for Health 2.0. Basically Health 2.0 is the next generation Internet with increasingly simple health care applications and simultaneously more sophisticated software allowing ever widening access and uses of information at the site of care.

Got that? Good. Now here are a few quick definitions.

Health 2.0 --A new health care concept wherein all players (patients, doctors, payers) focus on value and use competition to improve the safety, efficiency, and quality of health care.

Health 2.0 --Next generation companies leveraging openness, standards, and transparency, and using collaboration, information exchange, and knowledge transfer to deliver value-added services empowering all health participants with freedom, choice, and accountability.

If you have not yet grasped “Health 2.0,” here a little table I’ve cooked up for a talk I’m giving soon on the “Rise of Health-Care Innovation.” On the left are the data sources (personal health records, electronic medical records, and health management and vendor management data), on the right it is being channeled into a data repository available to users at the point of care.

PHR Data All spilling into a centralized transparent
EMR Data data repository containing sophisticated
Health Management Data algorithms rendering the data useful
Vendor Management Data

Health 2.0 is more complicated than I’m letting on. I’m reminded of Alfred North Whitehead’s saying, “Seek simplicity and distrust it. “ In any event, Health 2.0 reformulates data for decision-support, transparency, and revitalized health care markets.

Health 2.0 contains expert content, data-based evidence, and artificial intelligence algorithms for better decision-making for patients, clinicians, health managers, and purchasers.

Health 2.0 is still conceptual. It’s a big idea being pursued by Goggle, Microsoft Webbed, and other big IT firms. Do you, as a physician, think of this approach, still several years off, as promising for your practice?


Dr. Bonis said...

I worked some years in a laboratory of Biomedical Informatics and devoted to the development of decision support tools, text mining algorithms and evaluation of IT in healthcare... and in my opinion is that Health 2.0 (as Web 2.0, grid technologies, bioinformatics, genomic medicine...) are just hypes.

Nice words that allows some people to give conferences a couple of years. Fashionable words that allows researchers to find funding for their projects ("hey, put something about Health 2.0 / grid tehcnologies in our project description so the NLM give us some funding..."). Today is Health 2.0, yesterday was decision support tools and grids.

Of course, some good innovations will last after the hype have pass over. And in general the future will be about some of our currently face-to-face interactions with patiens being translated to Internet (througth blogs, email, messenger or whatever). But there is nothing impresive in the "health 2.0" issue beyond the natural evolution of technologies (with young and not so much young people increasely adopting internet as a natural communication tool).

However we should not forget that Internet access is a privilege of only a 10% of world population (the poorest, including the poorest in USA and EU do not have Internet at home and are far away from Health 1.0 or 2.0).

Richard L. Reece, MD said...

You may be right, but the IT world thinks it's going to change the health care world through data crunching, ubiquitous algorithms, and data channeling at the point of care. The jury is still out. After google, anything seems possible.

Howard Luks MD said...

I do not care for the phrase Health 2.0, but I admit I use it on my website simply because it is a catchy phrase.

I do look to technology and the internet to improve the delivery of health care, to diminish the sheer number of medical errors and to facilitate the sharing of information. Patients do not remember their docs names, their medications, dosages, allergies or whether or not tests were done...and if they were done, who has the results. If there were a central depository where that information could be housed, searched, indexed and cross-referenced... my job would be easier, and I imagine the quality of care delivered would improve as well. There would certainly be less medical errors if this systems alerted all involved if a medication conflict arose, allergy arose, etc.

As a patient, I imagine I would look to the internet for a transparent, equitable, and comprehensive means of determing the "quality" of the care I am receiving. As a patient I would like to know that my treatment is based on sound evidence based medicine. I would want that information presented to me in a cross-referenced (diagnosis, physician ranking, institutional ranking), comprehensive, easy to understand format---and I would use that information to find a doctor or hospital---much like I use the internet to research a washer and dryer. When is Consumer Reports going to enter Health Care :-) ???

Love your blog