On-line Health Services Begin to Mature

Kauai, Hawaii December 7-15, 2008 035 OK.  I’m supposed to be on vacation, but a few items caught my attention this week that I just had to share with HealthBlog readers.

Your Future Chief of Staff from Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine provides an excellent review of the growing use and demand for communication and collaboration technologies in transforming healthcare delivery.   Among other evidence, the article cites Jay Parkinson, MD, a physician whose work I frequently reference in my keynotes around the world.

Further evidence for how e-Health is transforming healthcare delivery is provided in my newest House Calls for Healthcare Professionals audio-cast.  In this program, Expert Medical Advice Just a Click or Phone Call Away, the CEO of TelaDoc shares information about his company’s phenomenal growth; a company that has provided more than one million telephone-based, e-health consultations to patients across America.  Grad Conn from Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group joins the program to discuss how TelaDoc’s partnership with HealthVault will add value to the company’s services.

imageFinally, while vacationing in Hawaii last week, I couldn’t help but notice the frequent television ads sponsored by one of the state’s leading Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.  The ads are promoting a new program that starts shortly after the first of the New Year.  HMSA, through a partnership with AmericanWell and HealthVault, will be offering on-line services that will make possible e-health consultations between all residents of Hawaii and physicians in that state.  This will include consultations provided by telephone, e-mail, web chat instant messaging, and web video conferencing.  HMSA provides abundant information about the new program for both consumers and physicians on their web site.  According to company information, more than 40 percent of Hawaii’s physicians have indicated interest in using the new on-line services with patients.

It looks like 2009 may be a watershed year for e-Health as Internet enabled health delivery services begin to move into the mainstream.  For someone who’s been following the growth of on-line health services for more than a decade, and contributed to some of the early initiatives on both the technology and business models that make it possible, it is like watching a beloved child mature into adulthood (or at least adolescence).

Bill Crounse, MD  Senior Director, Worldwide Health   Microsoft Corporation

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