Flight to Internet Implies HMOs Were ‘Last Big Thing’

In Disney's charming “Beauty and the Beast,” Maurice — the girl's father — is an eccentric inventor. (Wouldn't you, for once, just love to see a movie show a non-eccentric inventor? After all, some — Jefferson and Franklin, for instance — were practical enough to invent a nation without getting hanged in the process.)

Maurice's cleverness is just a tad out of sync. For instance, he invents a machine that automatically chops wood — just as the world is ready to move toward other sources of heat

Our cover story introduces some former high-powered managed care executives who have hurried toward the possibly greener pastures of e-health. In doing so, they hope to be on the cutting edge of great discovery — not left tinkering, like Maurice, on better ways to turn on gas street lights just as Edison comes out with his bulb.

These talented people decided to leave their six-figure jobs for opportunities to think outside the box; they are not afraid of failure. The story behind the story merits some discussion. It took Managed Care's editors about five minutes to come up with a half-dozen names. Just how many top executives have made this move, and whether that number can be called a trend, is impossible to determine. There is, however, something to be said for anecdotal evidence.

As the story points out, a possible motive for making this jump is a bit easier to pin down. As Michael Barrett of Forrester Research said, “Doctors are unhappy with health care at a time when the Internet beckons. It's got to be irresistible.”

Having a sense of adventure adds to the “irresistibility” of e-health. Of course, it doesn't hurt to get results. J. D. Kleinke, a health care economist, isn't nostalgic for fee-for-service medicine, but he sees where the existing system is not making the grade. His e-health company specializes in getting drug information to doctors. (Q&A).

One way or another, e-health is going to be an adventure.