Platform Failure and Success: Lessons from Outside Healthcare

Healthcare is just starting down the road of adopting platform technology and business models. What lessons can we learn from other industries?

A recent article by Andreas Constantinou in Vision Mobile blog provides guidance. The article lists a Dead Platform Graveyard from the past 10 years — you will probably recognize some of the names: Meego (Nokia/Intel), Palm 5/6, Symbian OS (Nokia) WebOS (HP), Windows Mobile (Microsoft). Blackberry RIM is a candidate to make next year’s list.

Software platforms have failed for a combination of reasons:

  • Cost of ownership
  • Conflicting revenue model
  • Lack of network effects
  • High adoption barriers

The author also provides great lessons and guidance as to what DOES work:

The EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup — Potentially Earth-Shattering

Yesterday’s announcement of  “Standard Health Data Connectivity Specifications” by the EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup (EHR|HIE WG) is potentially earth-shattering.

My mom would not know what I mean by “Standard Health Data Connectivity Specifications,” so I’ll try to write this in plain English.

Who Are These Guys? The EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup

The workgroup consists of HIEs (Health Information Exchanges) representing seven of the largest states, eight EHR vendors, and three HIE software/services vendors.

A Rebuttal to PHR Luddites

Unlike some of my colleagues, I’m not losing ANY sleep over whether personal health record (PHR) systems ultimately will be adopted and used by patients.

In my mind, the issue isn’t WHETHER, but WHEN.

Yes, I know that adoption has lagged and that surveys suggest 7% or less of the U.S. population has used a PHR.

Stay with me on this one for a minute. You’d have to have two underlying beliefs to conclude that PHR systems won’t eventually emerge:

  • That health record data will persist in non-electronic formats, i.e., paper
  • That people won’t have interest in accessing or using their health record data

Table of contents for PHR Systems

  1. A Rebuttal to PHR Luddites
  2. Part Deux: A Rebuttal to PHR Luddites

Could Facebook Be Your Platform for Care Coordination?

My guess is you’ve probably never asked yourself this question. A quick preview:

  1. Technical barriers aren’t the limiting factors to Facebook becoming a care coordination platform.
  2. Facebook’s company DNA won’t play well in health care.
  3. Could Facebook become the care coordination platform of the future? If not Facebook, then what?

1) Technical barriers aren’t the limiting factors to Facebook as a care coordination platform.

Can you imagine Facebook as a care coordination platform? I don’t think it’s much of a stretch. Facebook already has 650 million people on its network with a myriad of tools that allow for one-to-one or group interactions.

What would it take to make Facebook a viable care coordination platform?

  • More servers to handle the volume — not a problem
  • Specialized applications suited for health care conditions — not a problem
  • Privacy settings that made people comfortable — more on this later
  • A mechanism to identify and connect the members of YOUR care team — really tough, BUT this is NOT a technological problem, but a health system one

Suppose you are a 55–year-old woman who is a brittle diabetic. Your care team might include a family physician, an endocrinologist, a registered dietitian, a diabetic nurse, a ophthalmologist, a podiatrist, a psychologist, and others. Ideally you’d have one care plan that coordinates the care among members of the team, including you.

What’s the reality of today’s health care non-system?

  • There is no formal designation of “your team.”
  • There is no mechanism to designate one “plan” that coordinates the plays among your team members.
  • It’s possible that multiple quarterbacks are calling the plays for your care.
  • It’s possible that members of your team have no knowledge THAT you are being treated by others and HOW you are being treated by others.

Care coordination today is in the stone ages — there is no system for care coordination.

Supplying a modern Facebook-type technology platform doesn’t change this. The major limiting factors in Facebook’s becoming a care coordination platform aren’t technological.

Let’s look a bit deeper.

Table of contents for Social Networks and Care Coordination

  1. Could Facebook Be Your Platform for Care Coordination?
  2. Could Google+ Be Your Platform for Care Coordination?
  3. Google+ Shines the Light on the Value of Data Portability

Top 20 iPhone Medical Apps: No Connection to EHRs…Yet

iMedicalApps recently published its list of Top 20 Free iPhone Medical Apps for Healthcare Professionals.

What struck me about the list is that the state-of-the-art is stand alone applications — I didn’t see any that had any connection to an EHR (electronic health record).  Here’s the top 5 to give you a flavor of what’s on the list:

  1. Medscape
  2. Micromedex
  3. New England Journal of Medicine
  4. Epocrates
  5. Free Medical Calculators

I expect that this list will begin to look very different in coming years as EHRs continue to open their platforms to outside developers…and applications will increasingly be integrated into direct patient care.

Doctors Love iPads. What Does it Mean? What Does it Mean?

After attending the largest annual health IT conference of the year — HIMSS 11 –  John Moore reported that “nearly every EHR vendor has an iPad App for the EHR [electronic health record], or will be releasing such this year.”

Doctors love iPads…not surprising? But, how might you explain this?

There are at least two different possibilities:

  • Coincidence Theory
  • Conspiracy Theory

The Coincidence Theory

So doctors want to access EHR software through the iPad…what’s the big deal?

Apple has built a great new hardware platform with the iPad. There’s nothing else like it in the marketplace.  While other companies are building competing tablets, Apple’s has been the only viable option in the market for over a year.

Getting DIRECTly to the Point: The Role of the Direct Project in Fast-Tracking Health IT Interoperability

By Rich Elmore and Arien Malec. Rich Elmore is the Direct Project Communication Workgroup leader and Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Allscripts.  Arien Malec is ONC’s Coordinator, Direct Project and Coordinator, S&I Framework.

A patient’s health records are no longer confined to a doctor’s office, shelved inside a dusty file cabinet. With the advent of the Nationwide Health Information Network, a framework of standards, services and policies that allow health practitioners to securely exchange health data, medical records digitized to be easily shared between doctor’s offices, hospitals, benefit providers, government agencies and other health organizations, all across America.

This health information exchange is dramatically enhanced by the Direct Project. Launched in March 2010, the Direct Project was created to enable a simple, direct, secure and scalable way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information to known, trusted recipients over the Internet in support of Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements. The Direct Project has more than 200 participants from over 60 different organizations. These participants include EHR and PHR vendors, medical organizations, systems integrators, integrated delivery networks, federal organizations, state and regional health information organizations, organizations that provide health information exchange capabilities, and health information technology vendors.

10 Reasons Why an Open IT Platform Strategy is the Right Long-Term Choice for an ACO

  1. Many Physicians and Clinical Service Providers Will Not Be In Your ACO Contracting Network.
  2. Expect Significant Patient Leakage (Migration) Out of Your ACO Network
  3. Expect Patient Demands for Sharing Records.
  4. Minimize Anti-Trust Concerns.
  5. Expect Continuing Government Pressure for Broad Data Exchange.

Will ACO IT Models Be Walled Gardens or Open Platforms?

Will ACO (accountable care organization) IT models be walled gardens or open platforms?  i.e., will ACO IT platforms focus on exchanging information within the provider network of the ACO, or will they also be able to exchange information with providers outside the ACO network? (If the question still isn’t clear, click here for a further explanation.).