Health Care on the Internet: Potential Still Untapped

Identifying national opportunities and challenges of health information technology

In 2000, Health Strategies Consultancy LLC identified opportunities and challenges in health information technology to guide grantmaking at RWJF.

Key Results

Under the grant, Health Strategies accomplished the following:

  • Interviewed approximately 30 academics, policymakers, venture capitalists, and leaders of e-health companies, and reviewed more than 150 articles.
  • Produced an overview of the companies and technologies shaping the e-health marketplace.
  • Identified current e-health activities and innovations in five RWJF health care interest areas: supportive services, priority populations, clinical care management, information and coverage.
  • Compiled a written report, Emerging Privacy Issues in the Information Age, analyzing privacy issues in communicating health information.

Key Findings

Health Strategies presented a written report, Health Information Technology Study for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Project Conclusion, highlighting these findings:

  • E-health vendors face major challenges, among them, developing a sustainable business model, attracting capital, and persuading consumers, providers, and others to adopt their applications.
  • Technology is rapidly improving and will impact the health care industry.
  • The specific ways in which information technologies can improve health care should be studied.
  • Investing in e-health presents challenges, including costs; lack of expertise; the "digital divide" between affluent consumers and providers and low-income consumers and safety net providers; few technology vendors that understand safety net providers; limited ability to sustain and copy e-health projects; privacy concerns; and government agencies' reluctance to support e-health projects.