Democratizing Healthcare: Online Communities
“Patients aren’t learning from Web sites – they’re learning from each other,” observes Dr. Ted Eytan at Permanente Federation. Almost everyone uses the internet to research health. In fact, 75% of patients who are online told researchers that the last online health search they did affected a decision on how to treat an illness.
Susannah Fox, an associate director at Pew Internet and American Life Project, calls Google “the de facto second opinion” for patients who want more information about medical condition and options. She suggests adding the word “community” to the condition that users research. This will bring pages designed for patients to share their ideas. The NY Times suggests checking out PatientsLikeME.com
. According to Matthew Hold who created a conference on the topic, Health 2.0, “the more people you have in the conversation, the better better information drives out the worse information.”