Sharing the ‘content pie’ in healthcare
Monday, 28th February 2011
Although there may be much hype and usage regarding FaceBook and Twitter they are not suitable formats for all users – but the technology is.
One of the trends that has captured the information product market this last year or so is the social networking aspect. Flat bibliographic data suddenly seems to have an extra dimension and it is much easier to find, visualise and join networks of expertise. Two products I have reviewed have both had this feature – BiomedExperts.com and AIP UniPHY, and they were both focused towards particular groups of users.
Users still like to flock together, for example like doctors – have their own place to hang out, use their own language and have peer to peer discussions. But they still want to have an informal social networking type experience and in some cases attracting large investment into their sharing platforms.
Also this type of information concentrated users share and experience has a very high re-use value – and that makes it a financially viable as a business model if you can funnel out content at the other end.
Sermo recently caught my eye, an online physician community in the US spanning 68 specialities and all 50 states. It is billed as a ‘real time meeting place’ and as a place to harness the collective power of physician’s observations to improve patient care.
This US model seems to be working if the injected capital growth of 3.5 million US dollars is anything to go by. The venture capital firm MMV Financial believe that the Sermo model is working well and delivery benefits to users – and with one in five US physicians already a member they believe their capital input can only improve outcomes.
Of course the real trick to Sermo is the aggregated drilled down content that can be extracted about therapies, devices and treatment options. And with a ready pharmaceutical industry as customers of content, as well as large healthcare institutions and government departments, it is a win win situation for many healthcare stakeholders.
In the UK there is a similar model to Sermo with Doctors.net. It has a similar raison d’etre and outcome model. Whether it is attracting the same capital funding - perhaps not. But the lesson is that these business models work and already the venture capitalists are wading in.
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