Steve Case's New Healthcare Company Not So Revolutionary

from the you've-got-ulcers dept

Regardless of one's political persuasion, most people can agree that the US healthcare system is in serious need of reform. Just the fact that costs continue to spiral higher each year is a sign that the system has problems. So it was intriguing to read, nearly two years ago, that AOL founder Steve Case had his sights set on the healthcare industry. For all of AOL's faults, there's no denying that it played a significant role in the history of the internet, and it seemed the healthcare industry could use someone with Steve Case's penchant for ambitious projects. As it was originally conceived, Case's new company, audaciously named Revolution Health, promised to greatly simplify the health care process by helping people manage their information, navigate the world of insurance and pick their providers. It even planned to get involved directly with healthcare delivery through the use of ultra-cheap clinics that performed rudimentary health services. Fast forward two years, and Revolution Health has finally opened its doors. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the "revolution" part. The company looks like it's trying to be drkoop.com 2.0. The site has assembled information about various diseases (nothing revolutionary there), as well as symptom calculators, which plenty of other sites have, but which don't work all that well. Other than that, the site has some blogs and social networking features, as well as a repository to store your medical records, though it's not clear how that's any different to any other online file storage service. It's likely that the company will continue to roll out more features and services going forward, but it's hard to imagine that this company will have the desired impact. At this point, the industry seems to have too many systemic issues to be solved by one company, let alone a consumer-oriented website.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    nonuser, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    site's not bad

    It's kind of a category-killer type site, compared to the department store-approach offered by yahoo, cnn, msn, etc., or speciality sites addressing specific health topics or diseases. I haven't spent any time on WebMD so I can't compare the two.

    Hopefully we won't have trial CD-ROMs from Case's new venture falling on the kitchen floor when we empty our purchases from the drug store.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 4:49pm

    I love it when someone who did one big thing thinks they can do absolutely anything.

    Steve had his success but it outgrew his capabilities. Now he's going to solve our health care crisis? I don't think so.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 4:58pm

    Insurance Companies are the Good Guys

    Though people like to talk about the American health insurance industry being in cahoots with everyone else to exploit consumers, the reality is that insurance companies are the most powerful private-sector entity to exert downward pressure on prices. Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment makers, hospitals, all have their arms twisted by insurance companies to accept lower prices. It is in the insurance companies' own interest to provide affordable plans to consumers. Consumers exert upward pressures on prices by demanding newer drugs, newer treatments, newer tests which do not necessarily work better than old ones.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous for Good Reason, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Bad Ideas

    You know the nit who started and then drove drkoop into the ground was the Managing Director, Information Portal Division for this miracle project. Of course they've just recently pitched him and he is off trying to ruin another company in california info fhe ground. It will be interesting to see if things take another direction now that he's gone and busy hiring up all the x-aol people at his new company.
    Trust me sound decision making isn't this guys strong suit in the least!!!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    wifezilla, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 6:12pm

    Insurance companies...

    "insurance companies are the most powerful private-sector entity to exert downward pressure on prices. Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment makers, hospitals, all have their arms twisted by insurance companies to accept lower prices."

    And they pass the saving on to...oh...wait...nevermind.

    Billions of dollars per year...paying for expensive executives and salesmen in bad suits. Wow. I feel healthier already!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 6:13pm

    Category killer?

    There are plenty of these kinds of sites out there, not even counting WebMD.

    www.healthline.com
    www.medhelp.org (for almost 13 years now btw)
    www.everydayhealth.com
    www.healthboards.com

    And, clearly WebMD is the far leader in the space. This also doesn't count the hospitals like Mayo that have their own tools and services.

    Maybe if they really do get into the health insurance and management stuff they will live up to the name, but for now, they are just a copycat of sites that have been around for a bit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Richard, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 6:04am

    records?

    ", as well as a repository to store your medical records, though it's not clear how that's any different to any other online file storage service."

    How exactly do I get records to store on the site? At one doctor, the records are all scrawl-covered papersin a folder and at the other, 100% paperless (with even paperless prescriptions transmitted to my pharmacy), but all in the computer system at the doctor's office.

    Neither offers me real access. And besides why would I want my records on the Internet, given the crappy security records of many companies?

    Buncha jibber-jabber, if you ask me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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