It will come as no surprise that I am a fan of the web and all of the blogging tools and social networks that It has spawned. Google is a big part of this world -- the company helped to create many of the tools that I use on a daily basis. Jeff Jarvis was one of the early and most successful bloggers and he has now written a book entitled What Would Google Do?. In his blog, Buzz Machine, he recently provided his analysis of what Google does, and will continue to do, to survive in this new age (see: What Would Google Do? on sale today). Here is a list of these Google rules as understood by Jarvis:
- Customers are now in charge. They can be heard around the globe and have an impact on huge institutions in an instant.
- People can find each other anywhere and coalesce around you—or against you.
- The mass market is dead, replaced by the mass of niches.
- “Markets are conversations,....That means the key skill in any organization today is no longer marketing but conversing.
- We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit.
- Enabling customers to collaborate with you—in creating, distributing, marketing, and supporting products—is what creates a premium in today’s market.
- The most successful enterprises today are networks—which extract as little value as possible so they can grow as big as possible—and the platforms on which those networks are built.
- Owning pipelines, people, products, or even intellectual property is no longer the key to success. Openness is.
I personally believe in all of these rules. I also think that all are applicable to how healthcare will be conducted and delivered by hospitals and by physicians. In our healthcare system, we are moving toward an era of patient empowerment in which physicians and nurses will be required to have "conversations" with patients rather than dictating to them the terms of a relationship. Patients, physicians, and hospitals, as noted above, will form health networks with the former making substantial contributions to their own health and wellness. I have written many previous notes about wellness and preventive medicine.The web will contribute, in part, to patients' knowledge and understanding about how to achieve such a goal.
I will return in later blogs to a more detailed discussion of how and why these Google rules apply to healthcare. For now, however, I refer you to Dr. Keith Kaplan's recent blog note in his Digital Pathlogy Blog about how the Mayo Clinic is making broad use of Health 2.0 tools to promote its mission (see: Mayo Clinic launches new culture blog). I will also mention that the University of Michigan Health System is posting Tweets on Twitter and engaging in "conversations" with other users of this service. This achieves several goals simultaneously: it provides valuable medical information, it publicizes Health system activities, and it also puts a human and friendly face on the institution.