Carol shifts strategy

You may recall a Minnesota company that debuted an online marketplace for health care services a few months back.

Well, it’s not working out.  Carol has announced a shift in strategy.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Carol.com, a Twin Cities start-up that drew national attention for its efforts to create an online medical marketplace, has cut 25 jobs, or a quarter of its workforce, a sign that consumers may not be ready for the trend known as consumer-driven health care.

Bloomington-based Carol has struggled to attract users to its year-old website, which it bills as a Travelocity for health care.

Medical providers never got comfortable with the idea of posting their services online for comparison shopping and consumers “didn’t know what to do with us,” said Carol’s chief marketing officer, Marcia Miller. The economic downturn and the pressure to produce results finally forced a shift in direction.

What are they going to do now?  Focus on providers.  Again, from the Star Tribune:

Carol’s two consumer websites — in the Twin Cities and Seattle — will remain up. But the company will now focus on consulting and software services aimed at hospitals, clinics and physicians.

It will help providers repackage services in ways patients can understand, rather than in the current system organized around insurance payments. It may also rent the Carol software platform for hospital and clinic groups to include on their own websites — backing off from the original goal of allowing users to compare directly among providers.

Interesting.  Wonder if they always had a back-up plan?

2 thoughts on “Carol shifts strategy

  1. what a surprise! the general public can’t navigate the straits of health care pricing or packaging where available. this was a guaranteed failure that did not understand the market. the “empower the consumer” mythology lives on. we are a long way from making that happen – if ever.

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  2. More and more consumers are signing up for CDHP, and as a result, there is a greater demand for “meaningful” tools to help consumers make the most of their health care dollars and find the best value.

    Until health care providers and insurers are willing to reveal price data, it’s up to consumers to collabaorate and post/share prices they paid for actual services — to share wiith other consumers. OutofPocket.com is a community search engine that enables consumers to do just that.

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