Verizon Abandoning Walled Garden Network & Business Model: Implications for Healthcare

Wha…?  why are we talking about Verizon…isn’t is a healthcare blog?

When a major, multinational company does a complete turnaround on its operating and business model, it’s worth noting and examining the reasons behind the switch.

Wireless Week reported on a presentation made at the CTIA conference this week by Verizon COO, Lowell McAdam:

In a nod to the future, McAdam also said Verizon Wireless will scratch its “walled garden” approach because “in a 4G world, we need to turn that guarded model inside out.” The operator will transform its business model, he said, because it realizes that innovation in applications and use will come from outside the company.  Verizon will open its network, applications and location technologies to outside developers…[emphasis added].

Ars Technica reported further on McAdam’s commentary: 

I think collaboration and openness will be the operating platform for the future if we’re to bring the full promise of what 4G LTE brings. That’s really the new paradigm, the new model for operating in the entire wireless industry.

“Now I know that some of you in the audience are saying, ‘C’mon Lowell, you guys are the poster child for walled garden.’ What I’d say is that for the first 25 years that garden approach of closed systems served the industry pretty well. But in a 4G I think we need to turn that garden model inside out.”

How big a deal is this? Here’s an imaginary comparable statement that might be made by Judy Faulkner, CEO of Epic:

Will Mobile/Wireless Apps Be the Breakthrough for Retail eHealth & Remote Monitoring?

Two slides from Mary Meeker’s presentation at Web 2.0 this week really caught my attention.

Compare the proportions that users pay” for desktop Internet services vs. mobile Internet services (the area inside the red lines — click on the graphics to see larger versions).



What do these slides tell us?

Adieu, LifeCOMM

“Qualcomm pulls the plug on LifeComm”  announced Brian Dolan of mobihealthnews recently. 

As demonstrated by e-CareManagement blog readership, there has been a lot of interest in LifeCOMM.  My first blog post on LifeCOMM in 2007 has been single the most commented on post and the second most widely read blog post.

It’s taken me a while to sift through my thoughts and feelings about saying “Goodbye” to LifeCOMM. At first I was deeply disappointed, but after further reflection think that LifeCOMM wasn’t the right type of platform for today’s consumer mobile health market.


My first reaction was one of disappointment.

Perspectives on the Upcoming 5th Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference

 The Healthcare Unbound Conference is a highlight of my year and I always look forward to it!

What’s so special about this conference?

First, the caliber of the people attending.  It’s a stimulating mix of high-level clinical, technical and business types.  The energy is flowing and many people have told me how much they like to go just for the networking.

Second, the caliber of the conference organizer.  I’ve worked with many conference planners, and Satish Kavirajan is not your ordinary conference organizer.

Satish really knows his stuff and he’s a pleasure to work with.  I’m impressed how from a year in advance of the first Healthcare Unbound in 2004 he delved into the substance of the topics.  He read every link and every report I sent him, he talked with experts in the field, he asked deep questions about how best to structure a session or find the right mix of people for a panel.  In addition to many years of conference experience, Satish has an MBA in finance from Columbia — not your typical conference organizer.

Finally, there’s the caliber of the faculty.  Here’s the list of session titles and keynoters for Day 1 of this year’s Healthcare Unbound Conference:

  • The Personal Health Information Network (PHIN): Opportunities and Implications for Healthcare Unbound. Vince Kuraitis, Better Health Technologies and David C. Kibbe, The Kibbe Group; American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Healthcare Everywhere – How the New Culture of Wellness Is Opening the Door for Healthcare Unbound. Liz Boehm, Forrester Research
  • A Behavioral Economist, a Roboticist, and a Healthcare Unbound Advocate Walk Into a Bar: Meanings for the Rest of Us. Mike Barrett, Critical Mass Consulting
  • Keynote (title pending). Jay Srini, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • From Mainframe to Personal Healthcare: A Progress Report on Addressing Technology, Policy, and Cultural Challenges. Eric Dishman, National Chair, CAST; Intel Corporation
  • The Internet of Bodies. Don Jones, Qualcomm
  • Google Health Overview. Jerry Lin, Google
  • Continua Health Alliance:  The Next Generation of Personal Telehealth is Here! Dave Whitlinger, Continua Health Alliance; Intel Corporation
  • Microsoft HealthVault Overview. David Cerino, Microsoft
  • Disruptive Healthcare Innovation – Changing the Rules of Diabetes Management by Marrying Wireless and Clinical Innovation in the Healthcare Ecosystem. Anand Iyer, WellDoc; In-Building Wireless Alliance
  • Improving Health Outcomes and Lowering Costs Using a Distributed Care Management Model. Larry Leisure, iMetrikus

I hope to see you at the 5th Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference! Please consider attending, sponsoring and/or exhibiting.

Hospital as Mainframe, Wireless Technology as Liberator

Sometimes the serendipity of airplane readings provides for insightful connections.  I thought I’d share one from this week’s travels.

The aha of “hospital as mainframe” came from reading Eric Dishman’s epilogue in Dr. Mike Magee’s excellent recent book, Home-Centered Health Care:

As with mainframe computers only a couple of decades ago, today we have to make a pilgrimage to that hospital mainframe to wait ever so patiently as we time-share those miraculous modern medical capabilties that have been gathered there.  In the midst of already ballooning healthcare costs, growing ranks or un-and under-insured, and epidemics of age-related illnesses and injuries, this mainframe model cannot scale to meet the needs of ouj aging population where neither the dollars nor the doctors will exist to deliver healthcare business as usual.

Just as we moved from mainframe to persional computers that are now part of our everyday lives at home, work, and play, so, too, we must redistribute healthcare expertise and equipment from  mainframe megaplexes to our homes and to our personal lives. Eric Dishman is General Manager, Health Research & Innovation Group, Intel Corporation. Disclosure: Intel has been a client of Better Health Technologies.

OK, sounds good…and just HOW is all this going to happen?

Ruminations on the 2007 Healthcare Unbound Conference

Although a bit late, I’d like to share perspectives from the latest Healthcare Unbound conference. The conference took place in San Francisco on July 16 and 17 and attracted 400 attendees with a rich blend of business, information technology, and clinical backgrounds.

PowerPoint from Opening Keynote

Here’s a copy of the PowerPoint for my opening keynote presentation. My colleague and fellow blogger Tim Gee did a great job summarizing key points on his blog.  THANKS, Tim.

In a nutshell, my main theme is that the adoption of Healthcare Unbound technologies is becoming increasingly dependent upon adoption of broader health information technology (HIT) standards for interoperability and transportability of personal health information.  We should view the Healthcare Unbound ecosystem as highly interdependent — a crew team rowing in harmony rather than a bunch of kayakers in sleek craft that are independently powered and steered.

Major Takeaways from the Conference

Here are some of my key take away points from the conference:

Links: May 29, 2007

More information on LifeComm, the QUALCOMM sponsored health care MVNO

Additional links:

Disease Management Going Mobile & Retail: QUALCOMM’s Health Care MVNO

An article in Wireless Week announces the creation of a new species: a health care MVNO named LifeComm. LifeComm promises to move disease management, wellness, and fitness into new territories.

What is a MVNO?

More acronyms!  What is a MVNO? A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure. Instead, MVNOs have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.

You’ve seen MVNOs advertised on TV: Amp’d Mobile, Disney Mobile, ESPN Mobile.

What Will the LifeComm MVNO Do?

Here’s some information from the Wireless Week article: