Massive Health – Mozilla Firefox Creative Director’s “Design Renaissance” in Healthcare

Hardly any of you have probably heard of Massive Health. Almost none of you have probably heard the name Aza Raskin. Few of you probably know that much about Mozilla Firefox beyond some of you using it to browse the internet. Let’s just say that Mozilla Firefox has changed web browsing as we know it and one of the creative people behind its success is named Aza Raskin.

Why does this matter to EMR and HIPAA? Well, Aza Raskin has announced that he’s leaving Mozilla to start a new health care startup company called Massive Health.

Currently, there’s not much information on the health care startup and only one tweet on the official Massive Health twitter account. Although, it already has 1488 followers. Which is pretty amazing for a healthcare twitter account that’s about a day old.

If you read Aza’s post about the move, you can tell that he takes a unique and thoughtful approach to design. Here’s one section that describes his goals in healthcare:

Each of us has a unique ability. I want to use mine—the knowledge to make products which are disruptively easier and more enjoyable to use—to change people’s lives. Life-changing not in the sense of a new social website or better email, but in making people’s lives materially better by helping them get and stay healthy. Anyone that’s been sick, overweight, or had to deal with a doctor knows that health is a field in dire need of humane design.

Humane Design. Sounds like a relative to the usability of EMR that I’ve talked so much about.

I’m intrigued by what Massive Health might do for healthcare. It seems like a consumer health startup more than one for doctors. I guess he has to start somewhere. I’ll be interested to see what type of creativity he brings to healthcare. A look at the Massive Health website (basically a landing page) looks like they’re going to have a lot of fun doing it too.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I wish him luck, but it takes an incredible amount of domain expertise to go vertical. And Firefox is a pretty good browser but it is, after all, just a browser, and not some kind of design renaissance. So we have a kind-of-pretentious name, a web entrepreneur without domain expertise, and a commitment to good design. I am also interested to see what happens next, but I think it will be a while.

  • Brian,
    I think domain expertise is less of a factor for a consumer health startup. So, I think it depends a bit on what he tries to attack. Plus, it depends on the people that he works with who might have domain expertise.

  • Well I am a loyal Firefox user so I will maintain some optimism. For all the hullaballoo that “mHealth” and consumer health startups generate I really wonder what the business model is. Might insurers subsidize? Will consumers pay (doubt it)? Or is it in advertising (which makes the information suspect like WebMD)? I guess we’ll find out.

  • “Currently, there’s not much information on the health care startup.”

    Copy that. I agree with Brian’s question “what is the business model?” No detail.

    I just finished closely studying this, on the other hand, yellow highlighter, red pen, and sticky notes at the ready:

    Intelligent, frank, rather comprehensive review of the issues, opportunities (including nascent free-market opportunities), and obstacles regarding effective HIT deployment for the betterment of patient and public health.

  • “Anyone that’s been sick, overweight, or had to deal with a doctor knows that health is a field in dire need of humane design.”

    I hope and trust that at some point he will clarify operationally for us precisely what that is supposed to mean, in terms of objectively, significantly, and sustainably improving individual and public health.

  • Thanks for the heads up, John: I always learn so much here, not just from your posts, but the comments thread as well. I was just discussing with a commenter at the blog today about whether “a clever health care IT” would bring us closer to true EHR standards and interoperability in 2011; looks like this is another company to watch in the new year.

  • It will be interesting to see what Aza comes up with, given the family health problems (overweight, diabetes, etc.) he mentioned as a concern in his farewell blog.

    In the one hand, EMR products certainly need to become more intuitive,and maybe Aza will do for EMR what Apple has done over the years for the computer interface.

    On the other hand, Aza’s personal connections will likely lead him into alternative medicine, which is antithetical to the practice of “modern medicine” and the “disease assurance” industry (AM terminology) with which it is aligned. And preventive medicine has been carefully excluded by the medical establishment.

    But who knows, maybe his work will also help to bridge this gap.

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