In part three of our Medicine 2.0 series, we talked about how scientists and researchers can use Medicine 2.0 tools and ideas. In this interview, Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, talks about how entrepreneurs can use Medicine 2.0 as the Medicine 2.0 conference hits the ground at MaRS.

How is Medicine 2.0 relevant to entrepreneurs?

It seems that after a long draught since the dot com crash, investors are once again willing to invest in health-related Internet start-ups. I am involved in several health 2.0 start-ups and ventures myself, and I’ve not seen so much interest in new start-ups since the late 90s.

As two market giants – Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health – enter the arena, numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs are created and will advance standards-setting in our sector.

However, creating a Facebook API for your Web 1.0 project doesn’t necessarily make a viable Medicine 2.0 application, and doesn’t necessarily meet the expectations of a generation of consumers who grew up with Web 2.0 technologies and expect unlimited data portability, “ownership” and access to “their” data.

Medicine and health care also remains one of the most complex and most hierarchical systems on the planet. There are very difficult privacy issues and there are also open questions on whether what works in one industry will work in medicine. For example, as I previously mentioned elsewhere, rating processes work well to identify great movies or music that suit our taste, but are they valid approaches to identify the best doctors or the best treatments or the best piece of scientific evidence, or are they rather promoting opinion over fact? These are all very difficult questions, and I am glad to see that at least some entrepreneurs are willing to let academics like me participate in the development and evaluation process of their applications.

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Laura Malloy

Laura Malloy is a freelance journalist living in Mississauga who interned at MaRS. She holds a diploma in Print Journalism from Sheridan College and is a self-confessed word nerd. See more…