As I consider all of the different health platforms that are being built by mobile health companies, I can’t help but wonder if we need a health specific platform. Let me make the case for a minute that we don’t need one.
We already have plenty of platforms that we’re using already. Facebook and Twitter readily come to mind. LinkedIn is another interesting platform that most of us are on. Plus, while I’m sure that some don’t consider it a platform, I don’t know a single person online that doesn’t have an email address. In fact, I think I’d have to dig into some of my nursing home visits to think of someone I know who doesn’t have an email address they use regularly (although, many of those in nursing homes have emails as well).
Do we really need a separate health platform beyond those that are already free and publicly available today?
I’m sure that people’s first gut reaction will be around the security and privacy concerns associated with the platforms mentioned above. Certainly there’s a strong case to be made for this. I recently saw a report that said that your credit score could be effected based on how many of your Facebook friends have bad credit scores. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how health insurance companies could use your data on these public platforms to influence your premium.
Certainly there are some concerns there, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping a whole generation of people who share their health information just the same. It’s possible that this will catch up with them and they’ll want a more private place to discuss their health, but I don’t see this happening soon.
I’ve also been intrigued by chronic patients approach to the privacy of their health information. They’ll share anything and everything with anyone who could lead them to an improvement to their chronic condition. The concept of privacy doesn’t mean much when you’re dying.
This still leaves everyone in the middle. I know I’m careful about what health information I share online. More than once I’ve gone to my wife and asked her if she really wanted to share that information with the world. It’s hard to balance the benefits of sharing with the unknown.
Certainly I haven’t made a very strong case for the current platforms. They still have some major weaknesses. I have no doubt that we’ll have health built into current platforms and dedicated healthcare platforms. If you’re an entrepreneur I just think you have to be aware that whatever your building might get beaten by what’s already out there.