I’ve been reading some of the posts from Mike about HIMSS, which lead me to review some of the positive buzz happening in the US. This in turns had me thinking about the differences between the Canadian and US markets, especially in the Personal Health Records (PHR) space.
Mike can attest to my long standing skepticism about the business model for PHRs in the Canadian market :-). PHRs are being pioneered in the US market for a variety of reasons; not least of which, I believe, is the greater role the patient plays in picking and choosing healthcare options. In Canada it seems that patients have less leverage. All that being said, I believe in the concept of a PHR. You as a consumer own your health record, and should have control over that information. The hard part for many Canadians is figuring out what half of the healthcare data actually means.
If you look at a classic market adoption chart, I would argue that the Canadian PHR market is at the starting/early adopter phase right now. There are several different options and business models being tried out; with the largest effort to date coming from TELUS and MSFT. I remember watching Dave Pattenden from MSFT engaging with the market (with Healthvault) a couple of years ago. He took a lot of heat from the powers that be, but in my opinion delivered the right message to the key decision makers. All of which brings me to the point of this post, where the heck is Google in the Canadian PHR market?
I see all kinds of Google Health announcements out of the US, the latest being the addition of Surescripts as a partner. What is surprising to me is not their lack of visible presence in Canada, its their complete lack of marketing or even engagement with stakeholders. Perhaps they simply have no interest in the Canadian market, because if they did they are falling rapidly behind their key competitors.
Canadian consumers view healthcare a little differently