Online Health Care Next for AOL's Steve Case

By Stacy Lawrence  |  Posted 10-06-2005
America Online Inc. co-founder Steve Case has a new project: a consumer-oriented health care company called the Revolution Health Group.

The board of directors of the new company, originally announced in July, includes several heavyweights, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina.

In its first move, it has announced a half-dozen acquisitions that will form the core of the company. RHG says it will provide the three C's of consumer health: content, coverage and care. These acquisitions are intended to address all these targeted areas.

"With these initial investments, we are on our way to building a company that puts patients back in control of their health care decisions," commented Steve Case, chairman of RHG.

Revolution Health Group is planning to launch a consumer-friendly health portal in 2006 at www.revolutionhealth.com. The Web site will be a tool for consumers as they manage their health needs. To achieve this portal goal, RHG acquired four content companies including:

  • MyDNA Media, which offers genetic news and information,
  • 1-800-Schedule, which helps consumers find doctors and schedule appointments with health care providers,
  • Simo Software Inc., which has created software that allows consumers to manage their health care spending, records and finances, and
  • Wondir Inc., which provides a community-based search for information about health needs and issues.

    By late 2006, RHG also plans to offer consumers health care insurance coverage services that aim to give patients and their doctors more control over health care decisions. To date, the company has acquired a controlling interest in two companies that are already helping employers and individuals with health coverage needs:

  • Extend Benefits LLC, which provides individual benefits solutions to corporate America and will be announcing a partnership soon to offer defined contribution health plans to small businesses, and
  • ConnectYourCare Inc., which provides a consumer-directed health care platform for employers, banks, carriers and third-party administrators. It offers health savings account management with an integrated debit card, online account access, comprehensive health care information tools, member advocacy and a member-focused call center.

    Finally, RHG also plans to offer health care. It has already purchased a minority position, with an opportunity to acquire a majority stake, in InterFit Health, one of the nation's largest providers of retail health screenings and immunizations delivered in retail outlets and at employer work sites.

    RHG is providing the capital to support the rollout of InterFit's "RediClinics," retail-based convenient health care centers that provide fast, affordable treatment for routine medical conditions, as well as screenings, medical tests, and immunizations and other preventive services.

    These facilities are staffed with certified nurse practitioners, who are trained and licensed to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for common, non-emergency medical conditions in collaboration with local physicians. RediClinics are located inside major retail outlets, and are open seven days a week, with extended hours on weekdays.

    Seven RediClinics are already operating in Wal-Mart Supercenters in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and in H-E-B stores in Texas. Five more RediClinics will open in the next 45 days, including one in a Duane Reade pharmacy near Times Square in New York. RediClinic is the second-largest national convenient care chain, with a major, nationwide expansion planned in 2006.