April 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
We humans have an incredible need to be social. The birth of Internet 2.0 taps into the fundamental need we have to reveal ourselves and reach out to one another. It seems that voyeurism and self-disclosure is built into our DNA. While health care hasn’t been the first industry to tap into this inner need, it may be one of the biggest beneficiaries, since we humans also like talk about our health, and all that is related to our personal wellness and fitness. A recent survey by PwC looked at the influence of social media on individual health behaviors. The results were surprising.
45% of those surveyed said that information that they found on social sites influenced whether they might seek a second opinion before they have a major medical procedure. Wow. It seems that Facebook is more than just impressing your friends with photos from your most recent trip to the beach.
Even more interesting is that 33% of individuals sought out the opinions of others who had a similar medical condition to themselves. While patients will continue to seek out the expert opinion of their doctors, they will also look to individuals who have been through the same path as they have been.
Several organizations have already tapped into this emerging opportunity. The hugely popular CaringBridge organization allows families to share their grief when they are going through difficult health situations. The Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) connects people with various types of cancer.
We in the mobile health industry must create ways to make these connections as we look for ways to get people to better engage with their care plans. Tapping into our uniquely human need to be social can be one of the most powerful tools we have to bridge the gap between patient, the patient’s social networks and their provider.