Nexthealth Model on The Way...

After hours of feverish coding, emails, phone calls, and international Skype chats, we saw the first Flash animation elements and very rough mockup of our Nexthealth model.

I will tell you that after 3 hours of sleep, with a team of 3 calling in from an office in Baltimore, MD, a family vacation on the Potomac in southern Maryland, and a library in Amsterdam, what we're doing seems even more incredible.

Try using Skype video chat, holding up a graph mockup of the website you've just drawn, showing it to a partner in Holland, while also talking on the land line to your web design partner in Baltimore, who's also walking you through an online mockup of the application.

This is the way thought moves to action in tomorrow's healthcare innovation teams.

Even more amazing than the multi-channel method of communication we've adopted is the way this thing is being built.

Nexthealth co-founder Maarten and I met online at Tony Chen's Hospital Impact Ning site last year before I moved to Holland, and we met a sum and total of once in person before kicking off the Health 2.0 Unconference NL in Amsterdam last April.

We drew the graph we're turning into an interactive roadmap to consumer-centric care on a small whiteboard in his apartment the first time we met for dinner to discuss the Unconference. He drew an x-axis, I drew a y, and we were off.

We've been drawing and refining this &^% graph on cocktail napkins, flipcharts, and available forearms ever since.

Talk about collaboration - it gets even crazier.

I recruited Brad Sugar, our web guru extraordinaire, after being left high and dry via a recommendation from a friend who flaked. Oh yeah. And I found Brad (or he found us) on Craigslist. LAST THURSDAY.

The very rough teaser: We're building an interactive, 'free range' decision support model that lets healthcare users create a roadmap to consumer-centric care.

Health 2.0 sites give us content. They give us community. But consumers still have to find ways to integrate that information and social networking in a way that supports the choices they have to make about what's next for their own health.

It goes beyond needing to verify credible sources or incentivize behavior - first we have to give consumers tools to help them make choices that are relevant to their needs, wants, and lifestyle.

Who or what currently helps a patient answer the question: Which hospital do I choose for my knee replacement surgery - hospital A or hospital B?

Who or what currently helps a physician answer the question: How competitive am I with other docs in my practice area and local environment?

The Nexthealth model walks users through the process of making these decisions in a non-intimidating way.

This baby is the first of its kind. Free to use. You won't see any ads on the site. You won't have to pay to play.

You'll be able to test it anonymously, sign up by yourself or with a strategic planning team. Send someone plotted points. Maybe even connect to other Health 2.0 firms using a search function, but that'd be phase II.

We're building the site, graph, database, and animations in (deep breath) just under 2 weeks. We hope. To say this is one of the most intense work periods of my professional life would be the understatement of the century.

This is an incredible commitment of time, energy, and brainpower by three people who believe in the 'holy grail' of semantic interoperability for health: Consumers will be able to access healthcare goods and services, online and offline, at will.

We also believe this needs to go free-range rather than be kept in a consulting firm's closet somewhere, to be parceled out hospital by hospital, physician group by physician group.

We're talking about providing something real, concrete, to help accelerate our system's evolution to consumer-centric care.

Maarten den Braber and I will present research on the evolution of consumer-centric care at Medicine 2.0.

If you'll be in the Toronto area September 4-5th, please join us.

To the friend who told me at the last Health 2.0 show that I was ready to get something started - You were right. More than ready. I was afraid of failure, and it was holding me back.

And maybe the worst will happen - we fail. Maybe the graph doesn't work, or maybe only our friends and family use the tool to make us feel warm and fuzzy.

But it's time to stop talking about how to bring consumer-centric care to the fore and try something new. If we fail, we'll keep trying. Building other decision-support applications.

Nexthealth is on the way. And it's just the first step.

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