I've been seeing this strange term Health 2.0 around for a few months and it was only when I came across Dr. Scott Shreeve's wonderful illustration (to the left), that the concept began to make any sense to me.
The best definition I have been able to come up with (it's a bit of a mouthful) is:
"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, and quality of health care".
What I think is being described includes the following:
1. Health 2.0 is customer-focused. That means that whatever the healthcare service or product is, it is designed to meet the explicit needs of the end-user i.e. patient or customer.
2. Health 2.0 is transparent. This balances the power between the "producer" and the "consumer" so that there are no hidden agendas. It implies that pricing is obvious, underlying assumptions are exposed, and the various metrics make sense.
3. Health 2.0 is focused on achieving measurable and meaningful outcomes. The assumption here is that all parties have input into the decision as to what is meaningful.
4. Health 2.0's incentives are aligned. What is good for the goose (physician, hospital, payer or vendor) is good for the gander (patient, consumer, customer).
5. Heath 2.0's "fulcrum" or centerpiece is the full continuum of care. As beautifully illustrated, the entire cycle, from prevention and wellness management to chronic condition management and terminal care, is served in an integrated manner, with the patient or consumer at the hub.
6. Health 2.0 relies on the connectivity that truly interoperable technology standards can provide. If the "consumer" patient is at the center of the system, then a truly portable personal health record, integrated with an electronic health record generated by providers, that are seamlessly connected to permit interventions and care at whatever location they're needed, is vital for the provision of comprehensive and efficient care.
7. Health 2.0 includes monitoring and managing. Done well, these activities can lead to more effective care, and to achieving the meaningful outcomes I mentioned above.
What could this mean for an entrepreneurial physician?
It seems to me that you, as a physician, are really well-placed in this model - you are the professional who understands what is at stake for managing people's health, and you are almost certainly still the person in the healthcare system most trusted by patients, and in most direct communication with patients.
This suggests that you, the physician, have a lot of leverage. Using your creativity, skills, insights, imagination and first-hand knowledge, you're in a terrific position to become a significant player, and creator of many of the solutions that Health 2.0 is seeking to provide.
Study this graphic and decide where your special talents and skills lie.
What "offering" can you design to address one or more needs in the model?
Is it your ability to teach well, to design great surveillance systems, to communicate personally with patients, to partner with and coach patients to take greater responsibility for their outcomes, or to conceive of information technologies that add value/reduce costs/create efficiencies? Is it a concierge medical practice, an international "medical tourism" practice, or a retail-style clinic that you need to develop? Or an entirely new beast altogether?
I urge you to let your imaginations rip!