1.3.08

GPS and Geriatrics? Health 2.0's Greatest Potential Lies in End-of-Life Care Coordination

GPS units on walkers? Awesome!

Read this post on Engadget.

Now THIS is the kind of market-based innovation I hope we'll see more of from Health 2.0 entrepreneurs.

It's also why the biggest market potential for Health 2.0 (and subsequent dot-0's) is towards the tail end of a patient's lifeline. (To talk more about this theory, meet me at Health 2.0 on Monday).

So what about the current Health 2.0 wellness networking and rating-sites glut?

It's similar to the crowded, current social networking market - we've got LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, and a host of others. A handful will emerge as market leaders, but many startups will die a quick death due to lack of funding, lack of users, or both.

H2.0 entrepreneurs - do yourself, and us, a favor - think carefully before you start another networking site.

You'd do better to frame a firm around a "golden years" offering that improves quality of life and safety for seniors. And then figure out how to get it covered by Medicare. And HMO's.

With current offerings that take a SSDD (same stuff different day) approach, you're competing for the attention of a host of highly engaged, tech-savvy users in other age categories. Unless you really impress us, we won't further the relationship beyond initial registration.

But many older folks are adopting Web 2.0 tech, and looking for ways to ensure communicating healthcare news and decision-making is a family affair.

Case in point: the very first people I knew using VOIP were my grandparents, both in their 80s. They got a nice Mac, a webcam, and signed up for Skype so they could VOIP with my dad in Minneapolis.

Moral of the Story: If a firm offers new tech (or adapts existing tech to new applications) targeting end-of-life care (65 and over, sorry all who are in this ill-named grouping), not only do you target a rapidly growing demographic, but you can engage significant secondary involvement from the large numbers of middle-aged children, family members, friends, and caregivers who support aging parents.

In other words, your user base will include people like me, but you'll also capture dedicated users from other age groups - people like my dad, grandparents, aunt, uncle.

Homework: Check out sites like CareFlash, that help make healthcare a family affair, even when we can't be there in the flesh.

1 comment:

robert.resnick said...

This is a jewel of an idea. Dealing with the care of my elderly parents, who live 1,000 miles from me, has been unwieldy. I'd love to hear more about your ideas.

Rob Resnick
Reuters