by Patricia Salber
The amazing Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is up to something new. She calls it Healthcare DIY (do-it-yourself). Partnering with Tim Armand and Olivier Chateau of Health Union who created the well-trafficked condition-related sites, Migraine.com, Multiplesclerosis.net, and RheumatoidArthritis.net, Jane’s team has developed a beautiful new platform, Healthcare DIY.
The idea, she told me, is to build a community of people who want to take charge of their health. These are folks who understand that the current healthcare system is built on a “cure the sickness” model. And, although that model made sense in the past when infectious diseases were rampant, not so now. It’s the lifestyle-linked diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, which are killing us now.
Prevention, as well as some of the most effective treatments of these conditions, are in consumers’ control – diet, exercise, and moderate consumption of ingested and inhaled of toxins of enjoyment (if you know what I mean). These are behavioral choices that each of us makes on a daily, often minute by minute, basis in between and far away from our quarterly or annual PCP visits: Should I order a side of fries or the salad? Should I circle the lot one more time for a parking place near the store or deliberately park in the outback and walk the two blocks. One more glass of Chardonnay? Or a post-dinner walk instead?
Healthcare DIY wants to become a home for people who want to take control of the decisions that impact their health. They are already in the choir and are receptive to health messaging. “We are not targeting folks who aren’t engaged in managing their health, at least not at first,” Jane said. “Rather, we are targeting the health literate who would benefit from the content on our site – including content that is product linked.”
For example, if a consumer product has proven health benefits, then HealthcareDIY could work with that company to design a targeted advertising campaign that helps the company reach consumers that will benefit from that product. “Picture partnering with a grocery store that has consumer-facing nutritionists on staff – why not help them get their message out? How about helping to promote a mattress that research has shown helps people sleep longer and sounder?” Jane asks. Furthermore, she envisioned, the bed company might couple with a mobile health device developer that helps track sleep quality.
Ah, I get it…this could be counter-detailing to industry messages that lure us away from our best intentions (e.g., smoking is sexy, drinking vodka is sophisticated, and fast food tastes really, really good).
Healthcare DIY is built on four pillars:
- Live well
- Eat Right
- Shop Smart
- Use Technology
Each of these pillars has its own content on the site. Living Well includes posts such as “Health is Wealth” and “Money, Stress and Sleep.” You can read about “Grocery Economics” and “Grocery Stores as a Health Destination” in the Eat Right section. Shop Smart provides information on how to shop for a doctor, a hospital, and your medications. It also includes information on the health insurance marketplaces and Obamacare. Use Technology helps the community to understand why they should “Know their Numbers” and how they can use new technologies (e.g., Fitbit) to keep on track.
I want to emphasize that this isn’t just one more health content site. It is all about creating a community that supports each other in staying healthy. And, just as important, will contribute to the knowledge base of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to living right. Once the community has reached critical mass, Jane hopes that community members will participate in market research that will help companies create and sell products that help us get and stay healthy. Love it! Way to go, Jane!