In a recent post, my correspondent asked “(w)hen will WalMart buy some hospitals and offer their own health care?” I flippantly replied “never.” Apparently, I jumped the gun:
“Former American Online chairman Steve Case wants to shake up the health care industry with a $500 million company he founded [in April]. The Washington, D.C.-based firm, called Revolution, plans to buy controlling interests in companies that provide health care and wellness services.”
Thus far, Revolution has purchased four entities to serve as a sort of launching pad: one is a health news aggregator, another is a sort of referral and appointment service, the third offers software that enables consumers to manage their health info, and the last is a sort of community-based WebMD.
Once the company is “off the ground,” it plans to enter the health insurance marketplace, offering what looks like consumer-driven products in both the individual and group markets.
It’s not really clear how they’ll differentiate themselves from “the pack,” nor how competitive they’ll be. But it’s nice to see someone from “corporate America” putting up their own money. And, even more importantly, it’s these kinds of innovations that represent the real answers to the arguments put forth in the book we reviewed earlier.