News&Views

August 8, 2006

Take 2 Web sites and email me in the morning

Filed under: — mlazoff

Buried in the TechNews.com section of today’s Washington Post.com is the prophetic The Web Returns to Health. The largely “disappointed” U.S. adults, about 80% of whom have already tried searching the Web for health information, has spurred a second wave of corporate investment: “more than $100 million into building virtual destinations that offer consumers something beyond disease encyclopedias. Some want to make it as easy to choose a doctor as a restaurant. Others eventually hope to offer ‘virtual assisted living’ by monitoring medicines or pacemakers remotely, so the elderly can stay in their homes longer.” According to Wayne Gattinella, chief executive of WebMD (which the article describes as the dominant corporation in the field), “‘The health category is the last frontier where the Internet has not yet transformed that industry, the way it has done for travel, finance, and commerce…The consumer is starting to expect the same information with respect to a health provider as they expect with an airline or investment vehicle. Those are the big forces that will accelerate changes in our industry in the next five years,’” though the article makes clear that not everyone agrees. 

The article goes on to describe three upcoming sites: “EverydayHealth.com…set to launch later this year, will deliver personalized health information, even by phone or personal digital assistant, to more than 11 million people who have created profiles on one of Waterfront’s existing health-related sites”; HealthCentral Network’s HealthCentral.com is a collection of sites “revamped” into, “a network of 25 condition-specific destinations that offer physician-reviewed information and the ability to connect with ordinary people who have experienced the same illness”; Revolutionhealth.com, the Web portal of Revolution Health, is scheduled to launch in the fall. Described as “probably the most ambitious of WebMD’s would-be competitors,” Revolution Health will offer “the usual searchable encyclopedia of disease information” and Web tools for patients to locate physicians, schedule appointments and manage health-related expenses. “What sets Revolution Health apart is its offline investments in walk-in retail clinics at places such as Walgreens and Wal-Mart for minor medical issues, and in insurance providers that offer high-deductible plans directly to consumers…RevolutionHealth.com plans to make money by selling customized services to employers and health plans, selling advertising and charging membership fees for a suite of premium services, which may include access to better-quality doctors.”  I wonder how Revolution Health will determine who is a better quality doctor?



July 17, 2006

Medpundit pundits on

Filed under: — mlazoff

An important return: Medpundit is back online after a 2 month hiatus. One of the first (March 2002) and most respected bloggers, nom de plume Sydney Smith provides “Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician” with intelligence and humor. We’re wholly biased: we know her as Pennie Marchetti, MD, a Medical Computing Review Editorial Advisory Board member and author of two Computing Rounds, one on Relay Messaging Service (in the Nov/Dec 2005 issue) and one on HP Compaq’s TC1100 tablet PC (in the May/June 2005 issue). 



July 10, 2006

TheirSpace

Filed under: — mlazoff

About 75 people have already created their own page on My CancerPlace, which opened June 30. As described last Thursday by site creator and patient advocate Michael Horwin in Wired’s MySpace For Cancer Patients, My CancerPlace is the “…first cancer-focused community website…helping cancer patients share and find treatment information…(I)t may also represent the first time that MySpace-type technology has been created for people in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond – the ages where cancer strikes most.” Using Web technology to bring patients together is not new, and the wide range of resources and people they attract result in real benefits for some, and real detriments to others. Still, the reaction of readers to this article is striking. Four comments are posted. One thought the Web site was a great idea and hopes for a similiar site for disabled persons; the owner of a ”health secret” juice congratulates Michael on his publicity; a third suggests cancer patients are segregating themselves from “the main group” out of fear of rejection; and a fourth fears the site is “…just a futile attempt to have the appearance of having some control over the illness.”   



July 3, 2006

Welcome to News&Views

These concise (ideally) summaries and occasional irreverencies on medical computing and assorted topics will be written by Marjorie Lazoff, MD with Lee Ann Riesenberg, PhD, RN, riding shotgun as editor. Kudos to Rhizoid Design for adapting the News&Views interface to meet our picky needs. Drs. Lazoff and Riesenberg both work on the open-access publication Medical Computing Review, freely available elsewhere on this site, which we hope you will visit and enjoy. 

Happy Independence Day! 



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