John Bell asks, "Are we getting somewhere?" with health care and social media? His post sounds like it's a mixed bag 1) We've got more Web 2.0 companies jumping into the health care space because 2) more patients are relying on social media for their health information. But 3) the pharmas -- excluding a couple of folks -- aren't moving very quickly and 4) the HMOs are barely moving at all. The thing is, 5) they need to change because the world is changing around them.
Kristen Nicole at Mashable shares the news that OrganizedWisdom has launched a health search engine with human brain power behind it that, according to Nicole, avoids the trap of other search engines "that can lead you on a wild goose chase providing links with irrelevant data and leaving you to decipher what’s credible and what’s not." OrganizedWisdom's Wisdom Cards (like this one for Heart Disease), which organize content around a specific disease are great, including everything from government web sites to consumer generated content. Folks will surely be tripping over themselves to get listed as a resource on these cards and, luckily, you can recommend a link and, even better, share the card with others via email. (I'm with you, Kristen, as far as the value of creating something that folks can embed and, um, how about an RSS feed for updates????!!!)
Organized Wisdom's blog sent me to this article in The Economist about "Health 2.0" from their September 6 print edition. According to the article (which cites Jupiter), more than 20 percent of American Internet users have created some kind of health-related user generated content. The article attributes the "explosion" of content to increased broadband access as well as the growing importance of word of mouth from peers as a resource for health information -- particularly for "lesser known illnesses" and the fact that doctors just can't know it all, particularly about the patient experience. The concern, says the article, is that the drive to learn more about their ailments has led people to disregard privacy issues and to has left them vulnerable to misinformation. But for those facing a scary situation, the former may be something they are willing to risk and, as far as the latter, the wisdom of the crowd has made this a relative non-issue.
BTW: Hillary Clinton will be unveiling her plan for universal health care today. Let's hope she gets it right this time -- for everyone's sake.