Consumer-driven healthcare (CDHC) is a term that is relatively new and still being defined. CDHC refers to the shift in responsibility for healthcare decisions and the funding of those decisions from employer initiated managed care plans to plans that are managed by the employee. This puts the consumer at the center of many important decisions regarding their health. These plans offer consumers features like personal health savings accounts and offer healthy consumers the option to choose a plan with a higher deductible in combination with lower premiums.
When consumers take charge of their healthcare, and what they pay for it, a huge appetite for health information results. And the Internet is the go-to place for that info for those who elect CDHC plans.
The Health Content '07 conference in Philadelphia last month was designed to provide an overview of the different types of healthcare content available online. The content providers represented three primary areas: consumer healthcare portals, evidence-based medicine and Web 2.0.
Execs from iVillage, The HealthCentral Network, Everyday Health and Healthline indicated they are all enjoying a growing audience and the advertising support that goes along with a lot of targeted eyeballs. Most of these sites offer the standard portal staples of encyclopedic information, daily health news, specialty resource areas and a few offer videos and other unique applications.
A lot of companies are starting to use Web 2.0 services, where people participate in online communities and share information based on their actual experiences. We've all heard the saying, “Content is king.” With the shift toward consumer-directed healthcare, content still wins the day but it's the consumer who wears the crown.
Dan McKillen is president of the HealthDay news service