Remember the Search Engine Wars? Get Ready for the Health App Wars

Microsoft has been quietly scouting and scooping Google on establishing "strategic collaborations" with Health 2.0 firms including American Well.

They're also stepping up the competition surrounding opensource/openid signons and sharing APIs (within set strategic parameters of course - this is still MS World we're talking about).

Who has the better health product? Debatable. At this point, probably inconsequential.

Both Google and Microsoft's slide into the consumer-centric PHR space are helping advance the market in general, as Keith Schorsch points out over at The Health Care Blog.

What matters right now is which company is able to establish a cutting-edge, market-share takeover.

My personal opinion? Neither utility is consumer-friendly enough to reach 'killer app' adoption rates of 30-40%.

Why? I've played with both tools and won't use either one, and I'm definitely the type of hyperinvolved e-patient these firms want to be wooing.

I agree with Keith that the firms are still getting it wrong:

"PHRs and electronic medical records remain an industry-driven vision, not a consumer-driven one — focused on efficiency and reducing costs. It seems we’ve lost sight of whether the consumer really desires and is willing to participate in these services."

I most definitely desire and am willing to participate in these services, when I find one that's functionally useful, stores information in an easy-to-share format, and is above all else, user friendly.

Current offerings don't come anywhere close on ANY of these points.

Unfortunately for consumers, the Health 2.0 PHR domination wars are currently all about quantity, not quality.

Right now it looks like Microsoft is winning. But looks can be deceiving.

And it remains to be seen if this early leading edge will allow Big Evil to stay ahead of the competition, especially if a new killer app enters the market and consumers adopt it quickly en-masse.

A scrub of press releases reveals multiple Microsoft partnerships in the past month (I'll do some digging and see if I can't figure out a TechCrunch-style list later today).

Now, Google could have inked just as many agreements, but may not be releasing info on them yet.

Let the Health App Wars begin...

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