Did you know some doctors once had a hand signal to warn their colleagues about internet-using patients?
I talk about this and other health care history, plus a bit about the possible future (including some market opportunities), in an interview with Alex Howard:
One study I cite in this segment of our conversation centers on the analysis of messages posted to an online breast cancer community. Researchers found that 10 of 4,600 postings were false. But forum participants corrected seven of the misleading posts, often within a few hours. Only 3 posts containing misinformation went unchecked by the community.
Sure, that’s 3 too many, but the analysis also shows that this was a high-level medical discussion among women whose lives were at stake. Group members talk about prescription-drug shelf life, disease-staging parameters, and the likelihood of recurrence within five years – serious topics, taken seriously. The excerpts show that patients, when given access to sound medical information, cite it and put it to use.
I use this example to make the point that the internet can help spin conversations toward misinformation or toward enlightenment. The question is: which will we choose? Which will we nurture?
See two more videos and read Alex’s article about the recent Health Datapalooza: Peer-to-peer healthcare, e-patients, and self-tracking drive health’s social revolution.
As always, I’d welcome your own memories of our recent past and predictions for the future.