Consumers and online health information aggregators: whose missing from this picture?
By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 7 October 2009 in Uncategorized
Today I’m at the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, where I’ll be moderating a panel of the “consumer aggregators” in health care. “Say what?” those of you who don’t speak Health 2.0? Consumer aggregators are the places online where lots of health citizens go en masse for health information, support, advice, and tools.
Today’s panel brings Google Health, Microsoft and WebMD together to talk about trends in health care consumers online. I’ll set the context describing the “N” of health citizens going online using data from the 9th Cybercitizen Health Study from Manhattan Research coupled with Susannah Fox’s data from her seminal report, The Social Life of Health Information. Furthemore, the September version of the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll which found that 56% of Americans are changing their health behaviors in response to health costs. Within that cadre of “DIY”ing health citizens are those who go online for health management, both clinical and financial-related issues.
What’s different at this time as Health 2.0 matures is the nature of consumer aggregation. Increasingly, while consumers are going online to long-time players like Google, Microsoft and WebMD, health citizens are also finding their way to other names, some with consumer-facing identities such as MayoClinic.com and true consumer brands under the EverydayHealth/Waterfront Media banner of media outlets.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: In one year, will Google Health, Microsoft and WebMD be the key consumer health aggregators once again? They are certainly financial behemoths in the space, with about $400 billion in market cap as of this week. A fragile media and advertising market could limit business model potential for some of the newer entrants. Stay tuned for the new hungry players to grow with the organic growth of U.S. health citizenry going from 150 million people upward, seeking meaningful relationships and helpful, actionable information through networks and groups — both mature and greener.