Save us, Facebook

Facebook logoThe Reuters story about Facebook taking its “first steps into healthcare” read like an announcement that Las Vegas was getting into entertainment or that New York City was getting into fashion. Extraordinary health communities have grown up between the cracks of Facebook’s platform. It’s just that up until now executives publicly looked the other way.

Facebook should support those communities, listen to their users, and create a safe space for health on their site.

Two examples of Facebook’s direct effect on people’s well-being:

Erin and DrewErin Moore is the mother of four children, one of whom is living with cystic fibrosis (CF). She is a member of a Facebook group called CF Mamas, a thousand parents who talk online about everything from recipes to research updates. Continue reading

Patient Communities… at Walgreens?

Walgreens in Jacksonville, FL

UPDATE: On Feb. 18, 2015, PatientsLikeMe and Walgreens announced a partnership:

“Now, anyone researching a medication or filling a prescription on Walgreens.com can access a simple snapshot that shows how their prescribed medication has impacted other patients on the therapy, including medication side effects, as reported by PatientsLikeMe members.”

One more step away from “crazy” and toward “obvious” on the Natural History of a New Idea scale.

Original post:

In May, I spoke at the Chronic Care and Prevention Congress about my most recent report, “Chronic Disease and the Internet.”

I talked about the social life of health information and the internet’s power to connect people with information and with each other.  Living with chronic disease is associated with being offline – no surprise. What’s amazing and new is our finding that if someone can get access to the internet, chronic disease is associated with a higher likelihood to not only gather health information but to share it, to socialize around it.

I built my talk around two examples of how health care can either take advantage of patients’ shared wisdom (and innovate) or ignore it (and fail). Continue reading