Politico Makes Bold Move Into Digital Health Space

Posted: Jun 3 2014, 1:44pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 3 2014, 1:46pm CDT, in Latest Business News


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Politico Makes Bold Move Into Digital Health Space

As traditional media outlets struggle to figure out why they continue to lose readers and influence to bold disruptors, it’s perhaps instructive to contemplate a timely example of one such gutsy interloper: Politico, which (via PoliticoPro) has just launched an eHealth vertical, staffed by three strong writers – Arthur Allen (a medical journalist and author of Vaccine), David Pittman (formerly at MedPage today), and Ashley Gold (who wrote for FierceHealthIT and FierceMobileHealthcare) — and led by a veteran journalist, Joanne Kenen (Politico’s healthcare editor).

Politico’s large bet on serious digital health coverage is nearly unique among major media outlets. At most major newspapers, digital health tends to fall between the cracks of health and tech; the limited coverage it does receive seems to be gadget-oriented (i.e. which activity monitor should I buy?).

The reason – as my Forbes colleage Zina Moukheiber (one of the few mainstream journalists focused on digital health), accurately notes, is that “’digital health’ is still too small to assign full-time reporters.”

Yet Politico is assigning three.

Why? Because they are savvy enough to skate to wear the puck is going.

Like a handful of forward-thinking VCs, Politico evidently recognizes the transformative potential of digital health, and realizes that its potential significance goes well beyond gadgets and gizmos, and, considered broadly and imaginatively, is likely to impact healthcare and medicine, policy and politics, culture, innovation, as well as of course technology (an aspect of digital health that is consistently covered by MedCity News and MobileHealthNews, and often highlighted by Wired, TechCrunch and Re/Code as well).

It’s too early to know whether Politico’s eHealth experiment will succeed; I worry – a lot — that PoliticoPro’s notoriously high paywall will sharply limit the impact of their promising team.

However, it’s hard not to be inspired by Politico’s pioneering move into this important and underreported space.

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