10.5.4 Other Revenue Models

There are revenue models that fall between those based on straightforward device sales and subscription-based models. HeartMath have developed an ECG based product which is similar to the cardio respiratory training device supplied by Resperate. However, HeartMath charge a premium for their device and package it with relaxation and stress reduction software. They have also published a number of guides to reducing stress and the HeartMath device itself is used in stress relief and motivational courses offered to corporates and government organisations. The consumer electronics company, Nintendo, which markets a version of its hand held games as a mental exercise device, employs a similar revenue model with software added to a simple core product.

As Internet search vendors enter the healthcare market it will become necessary to consider advertising funded ehealth models. Today a person attempting to diagnose a condition by entering a list of symptoms into Google or Yahoo! will be exposed to a selection of advertisements for treatments and drugs. While such services are only used in a casual fashion by a small group of private users, mixing medical and advertising content is not a serious issue. If, however, the Internet search vendors build dedicated medical search technology, host electronic patient records and applications that interface with medical devices, then advertising embedded into these services will draw the attention of regulators.

There will be significant rewards for any organisation that can resolve this issue and produce technology and business processes that enable next generation healthcare providers to develop funding models, possibly based on advertising, for ehealth services.