Sunday, January 14, 2007

Health 2.0: A Personal Tour Of Revolution Health

Revolution Health, launched its preview version in December 2006, and is scheduled for a mid January 2007 public launch. Over the holidays I took the opportunity to register as a beta user and try out some of the features and tools. Over the last couple of weeks I've continued to explore the service it offers.

Overall I'm impressed with the content, quality and screen appeal of the features. The question remains whether consumers will flock to and regularly use such a site. What will make consumers start using such tools? Will it require financial incentives? Will the tipping point be when health care premiums skyrocket to a point where there is a critical mass of uninsured and being healthly become a financial incentive? How do we make individuals take a more active role in prevention under the current system? What type of consumer "revolution" is needed for business models like Revolution Health to be successful, especially among the sickest, oldest and poorest populations? I'd be interested to hear comments on these question and any other thoughts.

For those of you who are new to Revolution Health. It is the brainchild of founder, Steve Case, co-founder of former CEO of America Online (Steve's Revolution Health blog). Revolution Health says its mission is to give consumers more choice and control over their health care.

The health portal allow the user to do a variety of things: create your own personal health portfolio, learn about health topics, rating doctors and hospitals, complete online health risk assessment surveys, join community groups on health specific topics, read and comment on health related stories and create your own health care blog.

The health content is divided in sections on Healthy Living and Conditions & Treatments. The content is from resources such as: The Mayo Clinic, Harvard University and The Cleveland Clinic. The website allows users to rate the content they think is best and even submit your own resources from around the web.

Personal Health Portfolio feature allows you to save information about your conditions and treatments for future reference, store basic contact information for all your doctors and health care providers and automatically generate a a form to take with you to your next office visit.

The Tracking feature allows you to track a variety of areas: blood pressure, blood glucose, health weight/BMI, weight loss/gain, pregnancy weight gain, exercise routine, etc. There will also be a
membership section which includes other services such as: personal health counselor, claims advocate and health expense manager.

Throughout the site it allows user participation. You can rate content, providers and facilities. Provide links to other resources. Under the Learn from Others section you can explore the content contirbuted by others, share your own health stories and event create your own health blog. I was especially impressed that the designers had built in RSS capability into the blogs -- but when I tried to add some feeds to Bloglines I could not get them to work. I'm suspecting that this feature is just not fully operational yet in the beta version.

As a lawyer who focuses much of his practice on privacy issues I was particularly interested in Revolution Health's privacy policy, what they collect, how they use the information, what choices users have about the collection of the information and the security measures in place. I also was surprised and impressed to see (after being logging in but non active on the site) that the Revolution Health staff have built in a automatic log out feature as a security measure to protect privacy.

For more background and commentary on Revolution Health check out these blog reviews and resources:

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