Why do I think the time is now? Over the past few months this area has been hotting up these are just a few of the moves/innovations:
- This week On January 28, 2011 the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings US hosted a policy discussion focused on the challenges of enabling personalised medicine. Some of their key interest areas were identified as: moving from a shift to a heirachical delivery system to one that features greater transparency, collaboration, and patient involvement with more more empowered relationship between primary care doctors and their patients. Also mentioned was the digital revolution now available both for the profession and patient. You can download the full paper here.
- The very prestigious BMJ or British Medical Journal now has open access blogs – so now readers can access and re-use the content via creative commons. This is a small but significant move by this journal and JAMA has also fully embraced the digital revolution.
- Mashable recently discussed the social web and wellness/health Why More Health Experts are Embracing the Social Web
- Outcare patient e-technology innovations continue to build.
- The Centre for Disease Control (US) has been an early adopter of social media communication integration over the years (view Swine Flu and Social Media post) and now regularly produce Social Media Metric reports that are available on their website.
- Our own Croakey Blog has been discussing this issue for quite some time.
On a personal level observations from working with health clients also indicate that consumers are increasingly flocking online to get up to speed on health conditions but this has moved on to simply seeking information to participating and producing it.
I started dabbling in social media many years ago when setting up a Facebook group regarding Cerebral Palsy and many of my searches online were looking for support groups as well as trusted medical information. For anyone that has ever tried to navigate the health system for themselves, friends or family members you will know what I mean! online can be a sanctuary.
Years ago when working with the Cancer Council NSW much of the time the communication team spent was translating highly medical information into something that health consumers could read, understand and act apon. Today health consumers are not only reading and joining organisationally run sites but increasingly creating their own.