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2008 will be the year of web health marketing

The areas of disease management and wellness management are beginning to merge, thanks to the Web, and what you really want to follow here is the money, not the publicity.

Revolution Health logoThe launch of Resolutions 2.0 by Revolution Health is the first shot in what will be a drumbeat of news releases from commercial health sites in 2008.

A combination of technology, marketing, and corporate ambition should cause Revolution, and such rivals as Healthline and Healthcare.com, to break out the big PR all year.

But while we're poring through the public announcements, take a close look under the hood. That's where the real battle will be fought.

I personally think the target should be Healthways, which we profiled last month, and which is in the business of delivering health care information on behalf of insurance companies.

The areas of disease management and wellness management are beginning to merge, thanks to the Web, and what you really want to follow here is the money, not the publicity.

All those with a stake in getting people to act on advice for healthier living, especially insurers, are going to be courted heavily by Revolution and its competitors.

The goal is to create a continuum of virtual care, ranging from personal consulting in acute cases to computerized monitoring for wellness, all tied up with a mix of carrots and sticks to encourage compliance.

Can a Web 2.0 approach really deliver the compliance with wellness advice that will result in longer, healthier lives?

That's the promise these sites are making, and it will be put to the test this year.

So watch the measurements of claims, follow the money, and take all the press releases with a grain of salt.