Now, we are beginning to see what the network era may mean for the healthcare sector.
First, there is WebMD, part of HLTH Corporation. It has evolved over the years to be a significant place on the network for people to access information as well as make connections. Its role is simple: "WebMD provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information. You can trust that our content is timely and credible." It has two interdependent networks--one focused on consumers and the other focused on healthcare professionals.
Then there is Microsoft Healthvault. As the website states: "Imagine controlling the flow of your health information. Whether you need to search the Web for the most up-to-date treatments, catalog existing health records, receive test results, or monitor current physical readings — HealthVault gives you the control you need." And in a typical Microsoft way, it leverages the power of complimentary partners to make the service attractive to users. Here is a list of websites that have already signed on to experiment with Microsoft. There is also a growing list of devices that are compatible with MS Healthvault.
Now it looks like Google Health is about to be launched.
Details may be forthcoming in due course.
I see these three as complimentary and not competitive. All three have important roles. I will be watching this space to get a better understanding of the evolution of networks in healthcare--an important part of the economy.