Going Digital: Introducing Mitzi Reaugh of NBC Digital Health Network

19 Oct Going Digital: Introducing Mitzi Reaugh of NBC Digital Health Network

Digital (dĭj‘ĭ-tl) adj.

1. Of or relating to a device that can read, write, or store information that is represented in numerical form.
2. Expressed in numerical form, especially for use by a computer.

As part of my preparations for the upcoming Health 2.0 conference, I had the pleasure to interview my closing day panelist for “The Business Case for Health 2.0” session. The intention of the session is to highlight how large health care organizations are identifying, evaluating, and implementing Health 2.0 technology, tools, and concepts in improving health care.  The panelist is diverse, and represents individuals from Pfizer, Safeway, Kaiser-Permanent, and NBC Digital Health. Each has a different focus, a different outlook, but they are all unanimous in stating that Health 2.0 already has and will continue to have a significant impact on how they meet their business and health objectives.

First up for panel is Mitzi Reaugh, General Manager, NBC Digital Health Network:

SS: Mitzi, nice to finally meet you. Congratulations on the recent announcement!

MR: Thank you. Yes we are pretty excited to be able to become a category leader in health video content. Have you linked to our new site HealthVideo.com yet?

SS: Already did it  . . . let start with your background.

MR: I have been at NBC for about three years focused on their digital media efforts. I was fortunate to work on the very fun and very successful Hulu joint venture, where I was focused on business development and new content partners. Previous to that, after graduating from Wharton Business School, I was at McKinsey & Company focused on wireless and emerging online trends. And further back still, I was at IdeaLab with Bill Gross and company evaluating email marketing, online retention techniques, and a lot of other interesting projects.

SS: Pretty impressive and varied background. Why did NBC make the plunge into health care this year?

MR: NBC is always evaluating new media trends and had noted a convergence of health and wealth issues. They were accumulating an impressive library of health related content, with approximately 100 health related segments being aired each week somewhere in their extensive content generation network, but no one had put together to bring all these diverse assets together in a single health related way.

We determined to make a play at organizing and concentrating this content, and over the course of development emerged with the concept that has become NBC Digital Health Network. We like to describe it as a multi-platform content distribution network that enables video on demand. We already are producing so much content – we own the Newborn and Patient content brands within hospitals, and have now exposed this to the outside world as part of DHN. We currently have the largest library of health related video (about 2,000 clips and adding 50 per day) of any site out there and have used a proprietary in-house application to store, manage, and serve up the content. DHN allows us to leverage all this content in new and interesting ways that engage the patient.

SS: Why is NBC representin’ at a Health 2.0 Conference? How do you define Health 2.0?

MR: We had heard about Health 2.0 and identified it as an important trend to follow early last year. We have extensive experience with the advertising and licensing model in the physical world, and have made some impressive inroads in the digital world as well. We saw and still see that health care will also benefit from the adoption of technology and how that technology will enable consumers to experience health care in an entirely different way.  We want to be a part of the conversation, and we find a large concentration of fascinating people aggregating around the Health 2.0 theme.

I think of Health 2.0 as an extension of Web 2.0. It is consumers moving toward a more active, more engaged relationship with the health care system. Health 2.0 provide the tools, allows people to share their stories, and can help dramatically improve both their experience but their health care outcomes. Health 2.0 will provide tons of new resources, provided personalized information, and guide health care in ways that should dramatically alter outcomes!

SS: How does NBC actually use Health 2.0 to achieve business objectives?

MR: We are currently focused on this large collection of health care videos, and figuring out ways to most effectively make that content available to our partners. We have found that video is an exceptional way to connect with consumers. Our evergreen library is constantly growing (we add 50 more clips per day), and being reviewed by our on staff physicians who ensure the quality, the commentary, and the recommendations are appropriate. We are starting to see innovation in the way that others are using our content. For example, one company licensed our materials in order to create a DVD that they then offer as a gift to the folks who buy their product. We are also working with new venture slike SPOT cable, which provides a “my life on demand” experience for the consumers. It is anticipated that networks like SPOT will ultimately reach more than 30,000,000 households.

SS: So, are you like the YouTube of Healthcare?MR: Thanks for the complement .We are like YouTube in that we have alot of health and wellness video. We are different in the sense that we have found that consumers want really credible health information from trusted sources. We can leverage our NBC Brand and resources to ensure that we have not only correct but physician/expert approved health content.

SS: So What is the NBC DHN Business Model
?

MR: We already own the content, so we have been focused on how to enage consumers, partners, or others who could benefit from our high quality videos. We have announced partnership with RightHealth, EverydayHealth, and more than 60 others to provide our content. This means that we have a traditional licensee arrangement with the licensors as well as an ad revenue model. We are always looking new opportunities to add to our revenue streams.

We have found the business opportunities abound, and that critical to our success is our ability to be credible.  In our business model we view credibility as the builder of great companies and the activator of great communities. For this reason we go to great lengths to validate our material to ensure it measures up NBC’s standards and have created the easy to use but very professional HealthVideo.com.

SS: Where will you be focusing your efforts over the next 12-24 months?

MR: We see the most opportunity to engage and activate individuals in the wellness space. People are constantly trying new diets, new workouts, new trends (Vitamin D, Allergies, etc), and new ideas on optimizing health. We are working to create or aggregate significantly to meet market demand. We also see quite a bit of content generation around Chronic conditions as well which attracts a slightly different audience with different needs.

If you were to try to pin me down on emerging trends . . . I would have to say we see alot of activity around helpign people mange their health care finances. We see elder caregiving as a significant role that Americans will increasingly have to play, and that the overarching theme that the health focused web is also maturing. First it was just information, now it is more about community, and later it will be all about actual behavior changes and outcomes measures.

SS: How is NBC DHN uniquely positioned in its quest to blaze a trail in this new frontier?MR: We have the greatest breadth of health and wellness vidoe content and we can deliver that content in unique ways on our multi-platform distribution network.

SS: What kind of commitment has NBC made to fully engage in the DHN?

MR: I am working on that as we speak (laugh!). Essentially, we had some assets that we felt we could utilize, and it fit very well into our larger focus on developing vertical strategies. Health care was just a huge opportunity for us. Organizationlly, we had built a strategy team of 4 people plus any invited business to assess various industries where we should make a play and health care emerged. We have just over 25 employees at DHN . We are scatttered across the country in Inglewood, New York City, and Weukashaw, WI. This is a long term play for us.

SS: What is the coolest thing you plan to do while in SF?

MR: I grew up in the Bay Area so I always love visiting SF! One of my favorite thigns to enjoy is some nice California Wine so I will be looking for some wine bars when out on the town . . .

4 Comments
  • Health 2.0 links for 10-20-08 | The eDrugSearch Blog
    Posted at 15:40h, 20 October Reply

    […] Going Digital: Introducing Mitzi Reaugh of NBC Digital Health Network (Crossover Health) […]

  • Whew! Health 2.0 Winds Down and Gears Up « Crossover Healthcare
    Posted at 21:05h, 31 October Reply

    […] around. Each of the panelist was fascinating and I have full blown interviews with each of them here, here, and here (Vida – you never sent me our interview back!). Given the format, and a last minute […]

  • Mark Bowers
    Posted at 21:31h, 05 January Reply

    What physicians review NBC healthvideo site? The stories I saw could not have been reviewed by a medical doctor – one about mandarin oranges looked like a citrus commercial.

    Mark Bowers, M.D.

    • Scott Shreeve, MD
      Posted at 21:43h, 05 January Reply

      Mark,

      I agree with you . . . Perhaps this is a question for Mitzi. My sense is that it is user generated content that is physician approved. Why a physician would approve that particularly citrus piece is unclear. I believe they are still working on their value equation.

      Thanks for your comment.

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