Pushing the envelop on healthcare delivery

There are high-profile business leaders who take an interest in big health issues affecting Americans and people all around the world.

For example, Bill Gates (and his wife Melinda) started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring innovations in health and learning to the global community. Now, Steve Case (formerly of AOL fame), has started a new company called Revolution.

There is a difference between the two – one is a foundation and the second is a for-proft company. But, Case’s new concept is intriguing and one that will be getting attention as he moves it forward. I am not trying to promote his work, but it may have an impact healthcare delivery in the future and thus worth a look.

According to the web site Revolution, for the time being the company will focus on three areas: resorts, wellness, and health.

Case says this: "Over the past year, Revolution Health has been working behind the scenes to create the first comprehensive, consumer-driven health care company, designed totally around meeting the needs of consumers and giving them more choice, control, and convenience. There are certainties in life. The need for health care is one of them. The need for a more effective health care system is another. Many who have followed this nation’s health care crisis claim it is too complex and intractable to change. We disagree."

Today’s New York Times article says Case is about to announce a number of business initiatives. Let’s keep an eye on what Case tries to accomplish.

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  1. There are a lot of people who have been very successful in fields like electronics who are turning their attention to health and life science. They’re bringing their business acumen to a new area and hoping to break through the slow, expensive process of developing health products. It remains to be seen whether or not the extra layers of complexity, regulation, and risk involved in human health matters thwart their efforts to move as swiftly as they hope.

    One other orientation they bring to these endeavors is indicated by the phrase you quoted: “consumer-driven health care.” There are those who think health care has, for too long, been doctor-driven or health-care-interest-driven. I’ve even heard pointedly from people who think that long-established voluntary health agencies are not serving consumers particularly well. They see them as just part of the entrenched health care paradigm.

    How interesting that Case’s site is called “revolution.” I thought that language was reserved for us old ‘70s left-coast types. Here’s the first paragraph from http://revolution.com

    “Revolution, a new company launched by Steve Case in April 2005, seeks to drive transformative change by shifting power to consumers. Our mission is to give people more choice, more control and more convenience in the important aspects of their lives – and build significant companies in the process.”

    I recommend people read the rest of the site.

  2. Steve Case also uses the word “synergy” on his new web site – I started to quote that section and decided it was too sentimental of me to show appreciation for the that word – too 70s as David might point out :).

  3. Out here in California Div. we’re working with an entrepreneur like Case. I can tell you it’s a different kind of ride. In my opinion it’s important for the Society to gear itself to work with more high-powered, market-oriented people. It’s essential for distinguished giving and for a positive perception in the eyes of many of today’s power people. I think we’re too tied to the 20th century public health model and community.

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