For Dossia, Digital Health Isn't Just Personal Anymore

John Nosta | Forbes | November 27, 2013

At Boston-based Dossia, it’s not just personal anymore.  The digital health start-up was early in the race to build a lifelong and portable personal health record.  It’s backers read like a who’s who among Fortune 500 companies – Walmart, Intel, Applied Materials, Pitney-Bowes and BP America among them. Dossia first rolled out its personal health record (PHR) platform in 2008, at roughly the same time as Google GOOG +0.78% Health. It started modestly with a pilot for Walmart employees, but eventually aimed to connect the 2.5 million employees, dependents and retirees receiving health benefits through its founding partners. But as is often the case with digital health start-ups, getting the stars to align is just one of many Herculean tasks.  As even Google learned in its fleeting romance with PHR’s, if the vicissitudes of a hugely complex $2.7 trillion health care industry don’t snuff you out, an anemic consumer market almost assuredly will.

Dossia was always sober to the realities of treading into unchartered PHR waters.  And like the venerable team at Google Health, Dossia’s executives learned early on that capital and a good idea, even a noble one, will only take you so far.