Monday, August 29, 2011

The Rise of Participatory Health-Care

If you don't know the Pew Internet & American Life Project already, you should definitely sign up for their reports; the organization studies the social impact of the internet - all the ways we use the web, mobile, games, and more and how it affects us. Susannah Fox is the associate director, digital strategy, at the Project and her reports always make for interesting reading.

Earlier this month Susannah published a new report that says that much like the music industry was transformed by people sharing songs with one another (what's called "peer-to-peer"), healthcare can go in the same direction if it allows people - consumers, patients, and caregivers - to share what they know. She cites "our ancient instinct to seek and share advice about our health" coupled with another powerful force: "our newfound ability to [seek and share] at internet speed and internet scale."

Those of us creating tools for self-care have known this for quite a while, but it's exciting to see the movement picking up steam at last. Susannah explains the new landscape of what she calls "peer-to-peer healthcare" in this report - it's good reading! (You can see a slideshow of Susannah's presentation here.)

Do you connect online or on your phone or tablet with others about your health? What do you talk about? Do you offer advice and guidance as well as receive it?

Image: Words people in a survey used to describe their smartphone, courtesy of Pew Internet & American Life Project

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