Smart Ideas: Options Revisited



Health 2.0 101

The popularity of user-generated content has increased on social networking sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health business. Huge numbers of folks are now going on the internet to give their contribution on a wide range healthcare issues which range from extraction of wisdom teeth to the avian-flu pandemic or using acupuncture to handle infertility. This is what is referred Health 2.0 or user-generated health care.

To some degree, that is not new as there were already online support groups which have existed since the early 1990s. But, the content has developed, and we finally have numerous contributors, blogs, and videos. According to one research firm, more than 20% of Americans have contributed some information on health-related content. The hype that surrounded web 2.0 has raised the awareness of new possibilities thus there has been an increase in new users and new content.

The increase in user-created content is in part due to the wider internet tendencies and also that individuals have significantly more access to the tools they use to write the content. Tools like the digital camera and webcams have made it possible for individuals to take pictures and upload them. But, there are other factors which have led to this increase. People with numerous chronic diseases like depression, diabetes are interested in getting some good hints from other people that have conditions that are similar. Today, any area of medical knowledge is too extensive for just about any single physician to know all of it. Some patients who may not get all of the data from their doctor prefer to go online, joining a forum to learn more from other people with similar conditions.

There are lots of discussions on health- related issues online and it is unusual as health is a sensitive issue that people don’t just discuss with anyone. Individuals usually are not conscious of how irreversible info is online; as they say, the internet never forgets. There’s the risk of malicious folks abusing one’s personal data. Some sites try to mitigate this risk by requiring the use of pseudonyms. Another issue with this particular user-created content is misinformation. A lot of health details can confuse some folks. User-created content is useful, and it’s helped people, but one has to utilize the info in addition to consulting their doctor.

Most of the user-created content is correct because if one shares information that is erroneous, it may be corrected by other individuals. Some people have employed user-created content as their greatest source of hope. If a person is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, they can find support from other people across the world who can provide accurate information about the treatment and recommend doctors.