As co-founder of America Online, Steve Case helped create the world’s largest Internet service provider, using technology to connect consumers and businesses around the globe. Now he has a similar vision for health care: to inform and connect consumers though the Internet about health and wellness.
This Thursday marks the official introduction of www.RevolutionHealth.com, which went online with a test version in January. The site is part of Revolution Health Group, which was founded by Mr. Case and includes Colin Powell as one of his partners.
We won’t pretend to be objective about the new Web site. Revolution Health asked us to write a personal blog for it about diabetes (i.e., personal experience, rather than blog about research), which we’ve done now for several months (www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/kellyclose). Case’s goal – as he told The New York Times in a story on Monday – is “to create the most trusted brand in health,” akin to Starbucks in coffee or Nike in fitness.
What interests us, from our corner of the diabetes world, is the consumer movement in health care. Patients increasingly want to take control of their own well-being, and they are demanding – and through the Internet, getting – the tools to make their own decisions. As the Times points out, RevolutionHealth is not the first health care Web site; www.WebMD.com is already there, and Google has created “patient-friendly features.”
This is good news for diabetic patients. It’s a confusing disease, and even the most conscientious doctor, educator, or nutritionist can only spend so many minutes with you per visit. More information is needed. Before the Internet, finding that information was a daunting if not impossible task. Now, at least for online patients, the information is a few clicks away.
Therefore, what’s really important is finding quality information – for diabetes and every other malady – and Steve Case certainly has the resources get it. He’s invested more than $100 million of his own money into the company, which has received about $130 million overall. He envisions a Web site with information on more than 1,500 medical conditions; a directory of doctors, with short reviews from patients; and individual pages for personal health records, in which users can assemble their medical information.
As Case discovers what patients really want and need, we assume RevolutionHealth will evolve in ways that he himself cannot imagine. But we’re confident that diabetes will play a huge part for many years; and as long-time advocates of fundamental change in the health care system, we’re glad to be part of Steve Case’s enterprise.
Let the Revolution begin.