Google and Microsoft, aware that a large number of Internet searches are health related, are actively attempting to build a presence in the healthcare sector. This, claims Cambridge UK based analysts Wireless Healthcare, will impact on both healthcare professionals and medical device manufacturers. According to a series of reports published by Wireless Healthcare, doctors who are already having to come to terms with informed patients who have 'googled' their symptoms could see these same patients gaining access to their genetic profile and managing their health using an online patient record.
Wireless Healthcare believes that Google's recent investment in the Genetic profiling company 23andMe and Microsoft's purchase of the intelligent medical search company Medstory could lead to the emergence of services that are highly disruptive within the healthcare market. "We are seeing the emergence of a new ehealth model that challenges some of the assumptions made by existing online healthcare providers and medical device manufacturers," said Peter Kruger, Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, who went on to explain: "This new model impacts not only on how diseases are diagnosed but also the way healthcare is delivered and ehealth services are funded."
Kruger pointed out that while Internet search vendors derive most of their current revenue from advertising, it is unlikely they will be able to base online health on the same funding model. "Advertising and healthcare do not mix well and this issue is already proving to be controversial. I am sure that regulators would be unhappy if banner advertisements started to appear on a patient's online medical record or diagnosis," said Kruger. However, in a report on consumer electronics and ehealth, Wireless Healthcare Describes a number of funding models that have already been deployed by Companies marketing healthcare devices and services to the growing 40 to 59 demographic group - people who both take their health seriously and have started to use internet searches to identify early signs of disease.
On the 25th of September Peter Kruger, of Wireless Healthcare, will Present research into new models for online healthcare at the Consumer HealthTec Summit in San Francisco.