Posts Tagged ‘Revolution Health’

Revolution Health is closing down its Personal Health Record (PHR) service at the end of February.  Below is the email sent to those with a Revolution Health PHR account.

Thank you for being a loyal user of the Revolution Health Personal Health Record. Unfortunately we will be discontinuing this service as of the end of February 2010 and removing all records, information, and data from the Revolution Health Web site.

So that you don’t lose the information you’ve entered into the system, we strongly suggest that you download your personal records as a PDF to print and save for future reference. To do this, simply follow these instructions:

1.       Log in to your Personal Health Record.

2.       From any page of your record, click on the “printable version” link on the top right corner of any page. When you see a pop-up box asking you to “Select the following sections to include in your print out,” simply make sure that the sections you want to print and save are checked and then click the “Submit” button.

3.       Once the PDF is created (this only takes a moment), you can print directly from it and/or save it to your computer. To print the PDF, click on the printer icon at the top left of the page. To save it, click on the disk icon to the right of the printer icon.

If you encounter a problem printing or saving your records, please e-mail our customer service department at CustomerCare@revolutionhealth.com for assistance. Even after the Personal Health Record is no longer available, Revolution Health and our partner sites will continue to offer you the same great health information and community pages as always. We hope you continue to visit Revolution Health often to take advantage of our offerings.

Thank you,
The Revolution Health Team

Revolution Health, the one time Internet consumer healthcare upstart darling that founder Steve Case (AOL fame) stated would change healthcare as we know it, flamed out early after a series of strategic missteps and ultimately was sold to the online health publisher, Everyday Health, who is now preparing to do an IPO in 2010.

It’s not like this is a great loss to the nascent PHR industry (Revolution Health actually had a pretty p*ss-poor PHR) nor a signal that PHRs are dead, though Chilmark Research has argued that no one is interested in a digital file cabinet for their health records, which most PHRs are today.  Rather, the PHR market is extremely difficult to gain traction in and all but impossible if a PHR vendor is pursuing a direct to consumer (B2C) marketing strategy.  Revolution Health was attempting such and failed.  PassportMD was pursuing such and was recently acquired.  Countless other PHRs in the market pursuing such a B2C strategy are simply the walking dead – zombies that still have a web presence but no activity (e.g., VitalChart).

What this announcement does say, however, is that one needs to be careful in their own assessment of a PHR for personal use or even if they are looking to sponsor a PHR for their members (payers), employees (employers), or customers/patients (providers).  Not all PHRs are created equal, not all will survive.  Look to those that have a broad customer base, steer clear of those that are solely focused on the consumer.

What is truly odd in this announcement by Revolution Health is that rather than offering their customers the option to directly export their data to another service, be it Google Health, HealthVault, WebMD or one of the PHR players in the market, they are taking the most expeditious path out the door.  Not exactly consumer friendly.  Also, Revolution Health states it will remove all records from the website, but says nothing about what will happen with this highly personal data thereafter.  Will it still be on their servers?  Lastly, why is it that when one goes to the Revolution Health website, you can still register to create your own PHR account?

Now how screwed up is that?!


Ted Eytan, of Kaiser-Permanente, gives his own spin on the story arguing that it is not that consumers do not want a PHR, its just that they seek a solution that actually helps them manage their health and in KP’s case, their interaction with this healthcare provider.  Impressive statistics at KP, truly a leader in this market that virtually all in this market can learn from.

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The New York Times reported yesterday that Revolution Health Network is expected to announce sometime today that they will merge with Everyday Health. Looks like a pretty lame marriage, but probably the best that Steve Case’s holding company, Revolution LLC, could get for this online property as it is an ugly bride.

The official PR from Everyday parent, Waterfront Media gushes profusely about how the combined entity will deliver all sorts of value to consumers. Granted, the combined entities, now under the Waterfront Media banner, will be able to offer advertisers 24 different online properties where they can flog their wares on the hapless consumer (hey, someone has to pay for this free advice).

What I found particularly interesting is that Revolution LLC (Steve Case’s holding company) is not so much selling his Network to Waterfront, as he is investing in Waterfront Media. NYTimes puts the value of the deal at $300M. Revolution Health Network is maybe worth a tenth of that amount and Waterfront had revenue of just $50M in 2007. Looks like Steve decided to let someone else run this business, but he will keep an eye on it as he gets a a couple of seats on Waterfront Media’s Board of Directors.

My favorite in all this story though is the quote by Steve in the NYTimes:

“We think we have the wind at our back, and can pass them,” said Steve Case, Revolution’s founder, referring to WebMD. He said the combined company could “really be the new leader in this category, which is a hot category.”

I for one am not holding my breath Steve. That is not to say WebMD isn’t vulnerable, it’s just going to take a lot more than this shotgun wedding to overtake them. And Steve, a little bit of advice: If you don’t know which port you are heading for, any wind will do.

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Anyone who has listened to a recent WebMD quarterly results webcast clearly understands where WebMD sees growth. Not too surprisingly, it is not PHRs via customized portal solutions for payers and employers, despite them having over 250 clients including such household names as EMC, IBM, WellPoint and numerous BCBS plans.

No, it is in advertising and marketing. WebMD sees a big opportunity here as healthcare companies, particularly drug companies, look for new approaches to reach the consumer beyond traditional media. Being the number one site for healthcare content with clear Brand recognition, they have a commanding lead on their competitors, something Revolution Health could not overcome despite all the $$$ invested.

But on the Internet where everything moves at a frenetic pace, such leads may be fleeting even for a company like WebMD, who must constantly look over their shoulder. With both Google and Microsoft getting into the consumer healthcare market, WebMD’s long-term prospects are not assured and vigilance and aggressive moves will be necessary.

One such move is the announcement this morning by WebMD to acquire QualityHealth.com and parent company MTS Corp. MTS (Marketing Technology Solutions) is just what its name implies, a company designed to offer healthcare companies (primarily drug companies) a channel to the consumer market, that channel being the QualityHealth website, though they do have other Internet properties as well including Nubella, a nutrition specific site and Healthpages, a yellow pages like directory for finding healthcare service providers.

The QualityHealth website is just another one of those cluttered consumer-facing health content websites with an amalgamation of health related news, a number of health related tools, e.g., the all too common BMI calculator, some social communities (which were deceptively poor – lots of cross-posts to make communities seem more active than they really are) and of course, advertisements everywhere. More duplicative of the existing WebMD and not as well executed. Taking a look at traffic statistics on Quantcast and comparing them with those of the recent post on Everyday Health, QualityHealth ranks fourth not far behind the sinking ship of Revolution Health.

So why would WebMD acquire such a property?

First, MTS has a nice list of clients and partners that WebMD can further leverage across numerous properties. Secondly, MTS “claims” to reach 9 million consumers per month via its three properties. Third, MTS has an internally built analytics, rules-based engine for targeted ads and promotions that WebMD may find some value in. Fourth, and maybe most important, we are seeing consolidation in the broad category of consumer healthcare sites as there are simply too many in the market today and traction is waning. Fifth, WebMD got a good price for MTS.

Why a good price?

Looking quickly at the MTS properties via compete.com, one sees that though the QualityHealth site is seeing growth, the other two properties are virtually stagnant over the last year (first figure below). Secondly, when one looks at average length of stay at these properties as well as page views, each important metrics to assess stickiness of a site, these properties are stagnant or worse slipping.


Expect further consolidation in the market as larger players with deeper pockets (e.g., media companies, established Web properties and others) pick-up those with an established presence, a client base and stagnant growth.


WebMD paid ~$50M for MTS which reported sales of $21M in 2007.  Assuming modest growth in 2008 puts sale at roughly 2x revenue.  But WebMD will pay a bonus of $25M if certain performance metrics are met.

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The Washington Post had a brief article yesterday of a rumor that local Health 2.0 darling, Revolution Health is in merger talks with Everyday Health.

Based upon my cursory review of Everyday Health and knowledge of Revolution Health, these two look like a carbon copy of one another – lots of female targeted ads, simple content on dieting, some social networking/community capabilities and even simpler tools for health management. Thus, such a merger will unlikely result in a 1+1=3 scenario where each brings something unique to the other, but more of a 1+1=1.5, were the value is in the small uptick in number of users/impressions that can then be sold/marketed to advertisers. But even here I see very little value in this merger. One need only do a quick comparison of the demographics of users visiting each site (here, I’ve done it for you: Everyday Health and Revolution Health) to see that there is a huge overlap.

Which may not necessarily be a bad thing, at least according to a recent comScore PR. According to comScore the healthcare information content category is growing 4x the Internet norm. Having listening to the last couple of WebMD quarterly conference calls, there is certainly a lot of money to be made here as companies look to tap into the growing trend of consumerism in healthcare. One particularly “hot” market opportunity are all those pharmaceutical firms who are looking for new ways to reach and educate the end consumer beyond traditional media.

WebMD is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the market and the strategy here may be to simply combine forces to more effectively compete against WebMD. As the figure shows, however, even combined, these two will still trail WebMD in impressions. (Note, I used Quantcast, one of many Internet traffic tracking solutions and ther numbers may not match up with others.) Pretty weak justification for a merger, unless of course one of the parties (Revolution Health) is making the offer so sweet (little or no cost to Everyday Health) to be too tempting to pass up.

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A recent article in the publication Workforce Management reports that Revolution Health has signed-on investment bank Morgan Stanley to help it explore options including seeking outside investments and even possible sale.

I’m not at all surprised.

If you have been a regular reader here you know that I am not a big fan of Revolution Health.  It’s not that I am against the concept of what Revolution Health is trying to accomplish, far from it. No, it more the ineptitude of the executives at Revolution Health who have spent a boat-load of Steve Case’s money, with little, if anything to show for it.

Yes, Revolution Health may have picked up some interesting acquisitions but their execution stinks.  No synergies among acquired properties have been developed, many consumer facing solutions are poorly architected and now with Google and Microsoft jumping into the consumer healthcare market, they have snowball’s chance in hell of making it – at least as a direct to consumer play.

This is the last place I would put investment $$$ (certainly not with the current management in place) and would only pick them up if it was a fire sale price as there is something salvageable here, but it will take even more $$$ to right this severely listing ship.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much press Steve Case’s Revolution Health receives in the popular press.  Just this week, in announcing the Microsoft-Kaiser agreement, the Wall St. Journal referenced Revolution Health in the same article as a company with similar intentions as HealthVault.

Please, nothing could be further from the truth. Well, actually, maybe that is their intention but they don’t even come close. Revolution Health is more akin to WebMD than either HealthVault or Google Health.  The only thing I can surmise is that Mr. Case must have some real pull with the popular press.

In an attempt to set the record straight, the popular trade publication, mdng media has a cover story on Revolution Health for their June issue.  Just received the link today from the author, Sean Johnson, who interviewed me about a month ago for this story.  Sean has done a nice job in putting together this article and it appears that Mr. Case was not able to readily persuade Sean as he has done to other journalists.

And the article’s timing is very serendipitous as Revolution Health just announced last Saturday that it would whack about 25% of its staff, the second layoff in less than a year.

It would appear that Mr. Case’s “Revolution” has run off the tracks.

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Received an email this weekend from the organizers of the big healthcare IT conference, HIMSS, which will be held next week in Orlando. This is the BIG EVENT, where virtually all present and future players in the HIT market come to pontificate on HIT’s future (e.g., both Google’s and Revolution Health’s CEOs will be giving keynote presentations).

Now getting back to that email, which provided me a link to a “HIMSS Yellow Pages” online directory of exhibitors. Naturally clicked through to take a look at the directory and found a listing for PHR providers. Great, this will make my planning easier I thought and went to take a look at who will be exhibiting. Imagine my disappointment in finding just three companies listed (CareData, ICW and Greenway) none of which are significant players. Actually did a quick check on them, here’s what I found:

  • CareData is a small EMR supplier with a PHR called GlobalPatientRecord. Went to the PHR section and virtually all of the links associated with the tabs across the top (e.g., Company, Features, Testimonials, FAQ, etc.) are broken. Pretty clear that PHR is not a focal point for this company.
  • ICW is a PHR pure play with their solution Life Sensor. Life Sensor has seen some success in Germany, but after several years of trying to break into the North American market, they still have nothing to show for it. Give them an A for persistence but an F for execution.
  • Greenway Medical is another small EMR company who is pitching a PHR solution. This solution. however, is nothing more than a tethered portal to the Greenway EMR and not a true PHR.

Note, that Microsoft’s HealthVault was also listed, but as I have explained before, HealthVault is a Personal Health System, (PHS) and NOT a PHR.

So What’s Going On Here?

In my research on the PHR market, I have heard more than a few grumblings from PHR vendors that HIMSS is just giving lip-service to this sector, which seems quite evident based on what one sees here for this conference as well as what one may find on the HIMSS website (very little and dated) on PHRs. These PHR vendors have also reported that the HIMSS PHR task force has really gone nowhere, receiving little substantive support from HIMSS.

All of this is not that surprising seeing that HIMSS receives the vast majority of funding from those much larger hospital information system (HIS) providers such as Cerner, Eclipsys, Epic, GE Healthcare and Siemens to name a few. These HIS vendors have been anything but cooperative with PHR companies who are looking to develop APIs to these systems to facilitate interoperability and automate the updating of a consumer’s PHR. The HIS vendors have their own plans and would much rather have their customers (hospitals and larger physician practices) buy the patient portal solutions they are offering.  Could this lead to a jaundiced eye cast upon PHR vendors by HIMSS?

This leaves the independent PHR vendors out in the cold at an event such as HIMSS. But, this may change in time should the PHR market really begin to gain some traction. Question is though, where does one go to see that traction occurring? What even(s) will have a critical mass of PHR vendors where one can really begin to size up this market and its future? Unfortunately, no such event exists today that I am aware of.

In time, maybe (and that’s a big maybe), HIMSS will be the event. Then again, a number of PHR vendors will be at the big payers event, AHIP in June.

What is becoming clear is that today, the PHR market is splitting into three distinct markets, providers, payers and employers.  Therefore, if one is looking for such solutions, you’ll be looking at tethered EMR/PHR solutions from HIS vendors at HIMSS, payer-centric solutions that focus on disease management at AHIP and health & wellness with incentive management capabilities for those employer-centric PHR solutions.  Right now, most PHR vendors are using word-of-mouth for this last target opportunity.

Final Notes & FYI: 

What I can’t quite figure out is why, if HIMSS is giving so little visibility to PHRs, that the likes of CEO’s from Google, Microsoft and Revolution Health feel compelled to present at this event.  One can write-off Microsoft for they are targeting healthcare providers as well with Amalga, but the others?

Looking at the broader HIMSS agenda, one does finds a single session dedicated to PHRs titled PHR: An Industry Update from Various Perspectives to be held on Tuesday, Feb, 26th @ 1pm, room 203A for those interested.  I’ll be there, so please introduce yourself if you see me in the crowd.

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