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Keas Puts Healthcare Advice, Apps Online

A startup founded by the former head of Google Health dispenses personalized healthcare information and applications via the Internet.

A startup company with a service designed to bring the App Store business model to dispensing healthcare advice on the Internet has released it to public beta.

Keas, founded by Adam Bosworth, the former head of Google Health, is designed to let individuals get healthcare advice on the Internet tailored for their specific medical profile. Individuals input their health records into Keas, or allow the service to retrieve electronic medical records (EMRs), and then Keas automatically matches those records with its channels of healthcare advice on subjects including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and back pain.

Keas currently has partnership with Microsoft HealthVault and Quest Diagnostics -- which does most of the blood testing in the US -- to import medical records into Keas's system, with patient and healthcare provider permission.

For healthcare providers, the service represents an opportunity to generate revenue, increase visibility, and improve patient health by authoring health plans for Keas. Authors require no special technical skills beyond HTML and the ability to populate a spreadsheet -- and if the healthcare provider lacks those skills, Keas can match the provider with a "Keas care plan jockey" who can do the job, Bosworth said.

That's where the App Store comparison comes in. Healthcare providers split revenue with Keas, which provides the distribution platform.

Bosworth described Keas as being, basically, an Internet matchmaker -- individuals input their medical conditions, either manually or by providing access to EMRs, and then Keas matches the individuals with personalized healthcare advice.

Bosworth, who also helped develop Google Docs, said his service will help healthcare catch up with other industries use of the Internet. "Finance, travel, shopping -- every other area has been revolutionized by the Internet except for health," he said.

Among Keas's initial partners is celebrity pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, of DrGreene.comwho is inputting his childcare books into Keas. The service is also partnered with Healthwise, which provides health information for consumers.

Keas anticipates several revenue streams once it comes out of the current beta. "Beta is a time to learn, not to charge," Bosworth said.

The company will charge a subscription to individuals, just like iPhone users need to pay a subscription to AT&T. And, just like iPhone users get some basic apps with their devices, Keas users will get basic healthcare plans included with their subscription fees. And, just as iPhone users can buy additional apps from the App Store, Keas users will be able to buy additional plans from Keas.

Keas will split revenue with the authors of its healthcare plans.

Although Keas has the most popular complaints covered on its site, it's surveying users to find out what plans they'd like to see added. For example, the company would like to add a fertility plan and app. Users would be able to track their ovulation, and Keas would display a red or green marker each day, indicating the user's fertility state and whether the user wants to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, Bosworth said.

Keas might also add a plan that shows users how to do sit-ups, with indicators that lets users compare performance, he said.

Bosworth worked at Microsoft on the Access desktop database, then Internet Explorer 4 and .Net. At Google, he worked on Google Docs before starting Google Health.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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