I don’t know of anyone that would disagree with the notion that the health care industry is dramatically behind other industries on their use of technology. I think the major key is that most health care people see themselves as a necessary part of society and not as a business entity. Let’s be honest. If you need an operation or if you’re sick do you really have a choice not to do it? No, you go to the hospital and get it done. I think this contributes to health care’s lack of technology use.
I did recently get an email of someone who’s trying to embrace some of the latest “Web 2.0” technologies to help with health care. It’s called Who is Sick? It’s a pretty interesting notion of being able to track various sicknesses as they break out throughout the country.
The best part of the website is a google mashup of sicknesses. It’s pretty fun to click around and see what’s happened. Unless of course you don’t live in a major city. I live in Las Vegas, a reasonably large city, and there were only 2 sicknesses listed. The site is in beta. I think that the site’s attempt to have forums is not going to work well. I think they should focus on aggregating health information. The user submitted health information is good, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to sustain them.
If this site really wants to take off then it needs to start contacting all the EMR companies that it can find. It needs to create relationships, do profit sharing or something with each of those EMR companies so that they can suck the data directly out of the EMR and into the Who is Sick? database. It’s the only way I think the website can get enough critical mass to be successful.
If the site does create a relationship with some of the large EMR vendors like eMDs or ECW, then I think this website could be on to something special.