Health 2.0: The Definition

Posted on January 24th, 2007

Health 2.0*: The Definition

1. Term (see below)
2. Companies
3. Movement (see later)

Much ado has been made about the term and concept “Web 2.0”. The many and sundry abuses of the term have led it to be one of the most over-buzzed, over-hyped, and over-rated definitions of 2006. The term has been trademarked, become a conference, and has transcended from a cultural adjective to a business noun. However, as a concept, it is very much alive. In fact, the term has transcended “definition” to become a “movement” describing the ever widening social, cultural, and innovation effects of the internet.

Web 2.0 was coined by media and technology icon Tim O’Reilly, a well respected and highly successful entrepreneur and prognosticator of all things internet related. Tim provided a detailed description of the term, concept, and movement in a September 30, 2005 tome. Generically, Web 2.0 represents an emphasis on a culture of openness, with social software that leverages the web as a platform to provide customized services and a rich user experience. Basically, it is next generation internet with increasingly simple yet simultaneously sophisticated software that allows ever widening access and uses of information. Tim has refined the “definition” in both December 2005 and again in December 2006. A comprehensive graphic that captures the essence of the current thinking regarding Web 2.0 is found below:

Graphic Taken from Dion Hinchcliffe’s excellent blog, “Web 2.0 Definition Updated

Redirecting back to healthcare and the topic of this post, how is the Web 2.0 term and the concept relevant to healthcare? Of interest, there is a powerful “Health 2.0movement afoot within the industry as indicated by major, game changing reforms being suggested at the White House, Federal, State, and Industry level. Before your “hype dejour” meter redlines, let me convince you that the conversation IS relevant, and that understanding the economics, the competitive imperatives, and the sociopolitical backdrop of the current healthcare reform momentum will help to underscore the role that the type of companies correctly described by Health 2.0 term can play in the process (See an initial listing of “Health 2.0” companies).

I realize that attempting to define something currently nebulous, evolving, and inherently “squishy” is challenging, however, after a thorough google search and no clear definition, it is time someone began the process by making an attempt. In other words, and to pay homage to the buzzword compliance police, I am hoping to leverage this medium (my blog) as an “architecture of participation” to tap into the “collective intelligence” of the HITSphere community and beyond.

So here goes the alpha definition v0.2:

  • Health 2.0 Definition: “New concept of healthcare wherein all the constituents (patients, physicians, providers, and payers) focus on healthcare value (outcomes/price) and use competition at the medical condition level over the full cycle of care as the catalyst for improving the safety, efficiency, quality of health care delivery.”
  • Health 2.0 Company: “Next generation health companies that leverage the principles of openness, standards, and transparency; utilize the technology tools of collaboration, information exchange, and knowledge transfer; and focus on delivering value added services that empower health participants (patients, physicians, providers, and payers) with freedom, choice, and accountability for health outcomes.

I am a strong believer in the concept of “a picture is worth a thousand words” and am currently working on a graphic to bring all of this together. Stay tuned…

* I originally called it “Healthcare 2.0” but quickly realized adding “care” unnecessarily narrowed the term.