Health 2.0 and the Wisdom of Patients 1

Social networks from Facebook to disease-specific sites are thriving and changing the way people address disease management. A recent report called “The Wisdom of Patients: Healthcare Meets Online Social Media,” written by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of THINK-Health, discusses how social media is empowering and educating healthcare consumers and providers.

In a phenomenon referred to as “Health 2.0,” defined within the report as “the use of social software and its ability to promote collaboration between patients, their caregivers, medical professionals, and other stakeholders in health,” patients and providers have found a way to harness the power of collective intelligence, leveraging the accessibility of the Internet to address people’s healthcare concerns.

“When patients managing the same chronic condition share observations with each other, their collective wisdom can yield clinical insights well beyond the understanding of any single patient or physician.”

The report, which is free to download, includes a list of online health resources created by people that are working to change the way we share concerns and discover information. Some of the featured Health 2.0 pioneers: Amy Tenderich of DiabetesMine; Matthew Zachary of the I’m Too Young For This! Foundation; Jack Barrette of WEGO Health; and Ben Heywood of PatientsLikeMe.

With an imminent shortage of primary care physicians on the horizon, I have to say that I feel better knowing that these resources exist to put this valuable information right at your fingertips.

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