The Intelligent, Connected, Health Consumer
In his latest column on Forbes.com, 7wire’s Managing Partner, Glen Tullman, discusses the coming public and private healthcare exchanges and the need for Intelligent Connected Health Consumers (ICHCs):
7wire helps its portfolio companies put health into the hands of consumers with mobile tools that personalize health, management, healthcare, and the decision-making associated with it. As part of that we have defined the audience for these advanced tools and approaches to health—the Intelligent, Connected, Health Consumer:
Intelligent describes people who will have more access to health and health care information, pricing, and choices and who will manage more of their care, not merely because they want to but because they will have to.
Connected refers to how people will interact with the Internet. People will increasingly wear intelligent devices that will passively (requiring no human action) send information to smart population-management software that monitors and directs health-care interventions. Think The Matrix.
Health speaks to the fact that people are increasingly focused on staying healthy. A corollary is that once you are admitted into the health care system, cost management becomes almost impossible. A focus on maintaining health, as opposed to our current focus on treating illness, is what our future will look like.
Consumer is all about treating people as people, as health consumers rather than patients with problems. We have a bad habit of calling people by their conditions (for example, a diabetic) but the reality is these are people who have full lives with many important issues to manage. Their chronic disease is one issue among many they may be managing, and may not even be the most important. They are not their disease and don’t want to be. They are also very valuable consumers, something that CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Walmart all understand. To the pharmacist, your headache is not a problem. Rather, it’s an opportunity to help, to sell something and to build a relationship.