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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Google Flu Trends Expanded to Canada and 15 Other Countries

The CBC reported today that Google Flu Trends now includes Canada and much of Europe.

Rather than depending on reports from government agencies, which can lag substantially behind the reality on the ground, Google Flu Trends tracks online searches related to the flu, and gives a nearly real-time assessment of H1N1's progress around the World.

In related news, Microsoft has launched the
H1N1 Swine Flu Response Center, which lets you self-diagnose H1N1 and decide whether to seek medical help.

Are we entering a new age of corporate responsibility? Or is it just good marketing?


Starting an Alternative Healthcare Business in Ontario

The Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre website has some good advice on starting an alternative healthcare business in Ontario. Note the use of the word "business" as opposed to "practice."

What differentiates a business from a practice? If you're like the vast majority of alternative healthcare practitioners, you're in practice to help people first and foremost, but the success of your practice is not just dependent on your altruism or your skill as a practitioner. The current healthcare system is arguably stacked against alternative healthcare practitioners, so to be a successful practitioner, you also need to be a successful business person.

The difference between a business and a practice ultimately comes down to sales & marketing. Traditional practitioners have no trouble obtaining patients, because the healthcare infrastructure distributes them rather effectively. As a non-traditional healthcare provider, you're not so lucky. You need to find patients, and you need to make it easy for patients to find you. Just as important: you must provide the information potential patients need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare.

As long as alternative healthcare remains "alternative," it will be a conceptual sell. Even though all buying decisions are primarily emotional in nature, the target audience for your sales & marketing efforts will need to be convinced.