Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kaiser/Deal Battle Finally Hits West Virginia Press

I woke up this morning and pick up my Charleston Gazette off the front lawn to see the headline "E-mail jolts HMO giant" as the front page story. Yawn, not because I was up late but because this was old news to me. Guess it was probably "new news" to many West Virginia readers.

The front page story was a regurgitation of the WSJ article (read some interesting follow up comments from the WSJ Health Blog) that really didn't add anything new to the overall story. There was a companion article, Misleadership critic testified for gay hate crimes law as a teen, that did highlight Justen Deal's West Virginia roots.

I've followed this Deal/Kaiser ordeal over the last year since originally reading about the incident via a number of health care related blogs I follow. I've not gone in depth on the specifics on the incident and accusations regarding Kaiser's HealthConnect, thus don't have the ability to comment on whose side to take, but I do find interesting the aspect of the David vs. Goliath struggle that continues online in large part as a result of the blogospere and new media tools.

Like Dmitriy, the real story is not what happened last November that was reported as front page news today in Charleston, West Virginia. Instead the story is about the distribution and discussion surrounding Mr. Deal's original email via the blogosphere and social/industry media using blogs and web 2.0 driven tools. The ability of individuals to challenge ideas, groups, companies and industries with these new tools. The power you and I have in collaboration with others to change traditional notions of business, industry and government. Once you start to understand this story you gain a new appreciation for what might be unfolding before us all.

The other story this situation highlights in my mind is the question of how long traditional media will survive without changing. So often I find myself reading articles in the morning paper that I have already read the night, day, week or in this case year before. Like this morning - it made me question why I continue to subscribe to my local paper? I find it fascinating that even the writers and editors are moving beyond the traditional constraints of the news media industry structure.

The discussion of this and other topic will continue at next week's Health Care Blogging Summit where I will be participating as a part of a panel discussion on the impact of health care blogging with another Kaiser whistleblower.

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