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Jul 26

We recently had the chance to speak with Jill Balderson, Managing Partner of HealthEd On Demand about their new offering that benefits patients and physicians alike.  And yes, you can get it on your iPad.

Kevin: You recently launched HealthEd On Demand. What is it exactly?


Jill: HealthEd On Demand is a flexible, web-based platform that lets healthcare professionals provide personalized, high quality education and support for patients in seconds-extending the care they provide patients without extending their working hours.

Kevin: How does this benefit healthcare professionals?

jill_balderson1Jill: HealthEd On Demand can benefit healthcare professionals in many ways. First, it allows for more effective communication with patients-healthcare professionals can access a library of education and support materials that are certified by Health Educators and trusted by doctors. Then, they can share these resources with patients through a secure portal with just a few clicks (or taps!) They even have the option to add their own resources to the library.

Second, it provides healthcare professionals with tools to measure and maximize care. HealthEd On Demand automatically documents when materials are sent to patients and when they are accessed. The reports tool, for example, shows which materials are shared most often and viewed as most helpful. Healthcare professionals can also send group messages to patients for communications like screenings or seasonal health topics.

Third, it saves healthcare professionals time. They can have more focused office visits, because patients will have resources like instructions and educational support available in between visits. It also reduces the hassle of making photocopies or searching a supply closet or the web for patient information-not an insignificant chore in busy practices.

And finally, HealthEd On Demand is very easy to use-sign up takes less than five minutes. And it can be accessed from any device with a browser including smart phones and iPads.

Kevin: And how does it benefit patients?

jill_balderson2Jill: We’re finding that patients feel more engaged and supported with HealthEd On Demand. They get information and answers in an organized and easy-to-use format that comes directly from their healthcare professional, so they know it is trustworthy. And by giving patients the personalized support of educational plans that are tailored to their needs, they will be better equipped to reach their goals.

Kevin: Rather than making this a direct-to-patient portal, you decided to target healthcare professionals. Why?

jill_balderson3Jill: When we first started planning HealthEd On Demand two years ago we saw an abundance of direct to consumer content publishers. And while these serve a purpose by providing relevant, condition-based information, we did not see anyone creating a bridge between the provider and patient. To us, this seemed like a gap, as well as an opportunity.

In many ways, healthcare professionals are already acting as a content management system, delivering key information to patients. So we wanted to provide them with a tool that will increase retention rates (80% of information exchanged in a clinical setting is forgotten) and improve communication with patients-something providers tell us they want and need.

Kevin: HealthEd on Demand is a robust platform, how can it be offered as a free service?

jill_balderson5Jill: We are able to offer this as a free service thanks to the support of sponsors who provide some of the educational resources and templates. The platform can also be licensed to power private label solutions for larger healthcare provider organizations.

Kevin: Are there social components to HealthEd on Demand?

jill_balderson6Jill: At its roots, HealthEd On Demand is social. Healthcare professionals are able to see patient rankings and feedback on the materials, as well as patient progress, so they can gain a greater understanding of what works most effectively. They can also import resources for patients from the Web, such as a YouTube video of a patient sharing his or her experience with a disease or treatment. And by giving healthcare professionals the ability to add their own content, and share it with other professionals, we are creating a healthcare content community.

For patients, they are able to share valuable resources with family and friends, and most importantly, build stronger bonds with their healthcare providers.

Kevin: I know you just launched this year, but what has the feedback been so far?

jill_balderson8Jill: Feedback has been great. It seems that we’ve really filled a need with HealthEd On Demand. One of our internists recently told us that his patients tell him how useful they find the resources he sends them. He said it’s like an “extra measure of support once my patients leave the office.” It’s always extremely gratifying when we hear how we are making a difference in the lives of both healthcare professionals and patients.

Kevin: Are you still taking applications for membership?


Jill: Absolutely! Healthcare providers are always welcome to join online at

Jill Balderson
Managing Partner, HealthEd On Demand

A member of the HealthEd strategy team since 2005, Jill serves on the company’s executive leadership team as chief strategic officer. She’s responsible for leading HealthEd On Demand’s simple, web-based system that enables healthcare professionals to “prescribe” personalized health education action plans for their patients.

Jill’s background includes integrated marketing leadership roles in several industries, from pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare to financial services, travel, and technology. Prior to HealthEd, Jill was the digital marketing practice leader for DVC Worldwide, where she led strategic planning efforts for Web site and e-marketing campaigns for companies like Schering-Plough Consumer Healthcare, The Gillette Company, AT&T, and Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

Jill once spent 30 consecutive days at sea without sighting land, navigating from Cape Cod to St. Lucia by the stars on a 134′ schooner.

Jan 15

Imagine a social community site consisting only of your family, friends, and loved ones; where a person suffering from cancer or Parkinson’s Disease can gather a tight-knit support group in one location, offering a space to provide updates and commiserations, information and explanations, without the risk of that too-public feeling that sometimes accompanies large public sites like Facebook.

For many e-patients, the allure of connectivity is mitigated by a desire for privacy and respectful distance. Anyone who’s experienced a serious illness knows that the comfort of sympathy and condolences is balanced by the tedious duty of explaining, often over and over, what is going wrong, why it’s going wrong, and what’s going to happen.

CareFlash “Care Communities”

picture-41CareFlash, created by self-described “recovering CFO” Jay Drayer, attempts to address these concerns by offering patients private and secure social networks with features designed to make the relationship between patients, caregivers, and well-wishers as streamlined as possible. A simple e-mail based blog system allows patients to keep their network of supporters up to date, and integration with the iHelp Calendar lets everyone involved coordinate needed involvement and assistance, including visiting hours and errands.

The site also offers a wide variety of animated videos explaining the diagnosis and treatments of a number of diseases, ranging from hypertension to macular degeneration. The videos, which are produced by Blausen Medical, are offered in a number of languages, and have proved incredibly popular. “Many doctors tend to explain diagnoses and recommended courses of action using plastic models…white boards and brochures,” said Drayer. “This commonly leaves people with only a vague understanding of the associated diagnosis, anatomy, and treatment. It’s more common than I ever would expect that we hear from people that they never had a comprehensive grasp on their diagnosis until they viewed the associated treatment.”

New Solutions for New Demographics

These videos are just one of the appealing aspects of the site. Just as Blausen’s animations provide confused patients with a clearer understanding of their conditions, CareFlash offers a social space to a demographic profile that may not be comfortable with Facebook or Twitter. As Drayer says, “Participants in Care Communities tend to be most representative as being the parents and grandparents of the Facebook generation.” By granting users their own private mini-sites, with greater control over who is allowed access, users can bypass media-hyped worries about privacy, spam, and viruses.picture-42

CareFlash has also made in-roads into non-English speaking groups. Drayer attributes the popularity of his project among ESL families to the multilingual options offered by the site’s videos. These families may face challenges in getting explanations of complex healthcare concepts from primarily English-speaking hospital staff, and the site offers them an alternative.  Most of the videos are currently available in Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian and Arabic, and Drayer plans to expand user options to at least ten options by early 2011.  In addition, well over 10% of the site’s population is located in the eastern hemisphere.

Big Ideas, Small Scale

We can see from these cases that making small allowances in terms of user functionality, such as allowing private, tightly user-controlled communities, and offering multiple language options, can allow a site to bridge the gap between typically “wired” demographics and other groups.

Hopefully this appeal will continue as CareFlash expands. The site is currently monetized through advertisements and private-label Care Communities offered to various healthcare entities. Drayer has in mind a “rich development roadmap” for the future, including many features suggested by users.

Jan 14

video_morley1Race driver Charlie Kimball and Ambre Morley of Novo Nordisk Talk Twitter
(20 minutes) watch video

  • How Charlie manages diabetes–while driving over 100 miles per hour
  • The branded tweet heard around the world
  • Managing compliance issues on Twitter
Each one-day boot camp is led by Kevin Kruse and is limited to only 15 participants to maximize individual attention. Sign-up now to get a 50% early bird discount.

SAVE THE DATES: e-Patient Connections 2010!
The conference that generated all the buzz last year will return to the Philadelphia Hyatt Bellevue from September 27-29, 2010. New partners and an exciting new format will be unveiled later this month. Make sure to sign-up for all the updates at

Dec 06


“Healthcare has traditionally not been a consumer oriented industry,” Bill Fox explains. “The doctor knew everything and the patient, the consumer, listened. Other industries don’t have this luxury and long ago figured out that he who hears the customer thrives.”

Fox is the Executive Director of the National Center for Patient Interactive Research (CPIR), a group dedicated to bringing power to the patient through innovative health information technology (HIT). He recently testified before the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research as part of a panel discussing how to spend the $1.1 billion dollars targeted for such research. What CPIR brought to the table was an important realization-that the patient’s voice plays a crucial role in the future CER. The path to this lies in using technology to help create a stronger bond between the patient and the physician, what Fox calls a “therapeutic partnership.” As he puts it, the patient’s “is the only voice which is not being heard on a systematic, standardized, and measurable basis,” in the industry that needs that voice the most.

“It is well established that certain populations: minorities, the old, people with disabilities, do not get the same quality of care and have worse outcomes then other populations.  By giving every patient the ability to report on what happened in their encounter with the healthcare system we assure that every voice is heard. Getting the facts on the table is the first step to a transparent, fair healthcare system for all.”

He points out that patient engagement leads, in the long run, to better health as well, tending to choose less costly but equally effective procedures, and requiring fewer surgeries and acute episodes.

Fox believes the days of the physician as the sole decision-making voice in the clinic is over; as access to health information and empowerment online increases, patients can and should play a stronger role in their treatment. What other industry, he asks, plays as intimate a role in the consumer’s well-being, and what other industry, paradoxically, traditionally functions so independently of consumer input?

CPIR’s testimony pins down two points where patient interactivity can be enhanced and energized. The first is in the physician’s office itself, where new strategies on listening and communicating can help the patient set personal self-care goals. Fox points out several cultural shifts that will need to occur to make this possible. Physicians will have to learn how to ask more, and tell less. Patients will have to learn how to ask about and describe symptoms better, and how to set their own goals.

The second is a proposed follow-up system, where patients can use simple and intuitive technologies to “review” his or her experience. Did the physician communicate clearly and sympathetically? Provide the best possible service? Did the patient leave the office feeling good about his or her role in self-care? CPIR proposes that this data be collected and analyzed by an independent third-party and used by health systems, insurance companies, and researchers to look more closely at patient-physician relationships, as well as back to the patients themselves. “By measuring the patients voice at the point of care we set in motion the ability to measure quality more transparently, more fairly and more accurately - and for that measurement to get paid for throughout the healthcare continuum.”

Of course, this is an incredibly broad goal that depends on enthusiastic commitment and participation from both patient and doctor, above and beyond any outside initiative. Fox states that “this is a huge cultural shift, and as I said to the Coordinating Council, culture often eats strategy for lunch. We need to design fairness and transparency into these tools, for both clinicians and patients, and make sure we don’t fatigue doctors any more than they already are.  HIT should streamline and focus clinical practice.” Yet Fox stresses that the technology needed for patient input already exists in many forms, and all that remains to be done is implementation.

Above all, Fox’s model for patient empowerment hinges on “dignified accountability.” Asking informed questions, listening and self-monitoring, and taking responsibility for one’s health on a day-to-day basis all contribute to a clinical atmosphere that’s more like a meeting between peers than a lecture. “You energize patients by actually giving them responsibility,” explains Fox. “This needs to be done thoughtfully, but it needs to be done. The patient’s job is to take care of themselves - to work with their caregivers to be as healthy as possible given their conditions.  Just like any other job, they need the tools and the knowledge to do this.”