Social Media milestone to improve ehealth
New technologies are about to transform healthcare all over the world thanks to the interesting opportunities that content sharing and a wider people communication offer. For instance, personal health record (PHRs) development lead by multiple public organizations and private companies worldwide (such as uPatient by Medtep) will make personal health management easier while this tool takes the most of technological opportunities on communication.
Getting an open and uninterrupted patient-physician communication through PHR use is the best way to digitalize healthcare and improve its quality and value but, along that, Social Media creates a very comfortable and easy to use place to share and create content. In medical context, this content is developed mainly to make personal health management easier or softer and in most cases it is published by old patients related with different kind of diseases or medical issues.
The point of sharing experiences and knowledge among people is a way of expressing empathy and offer some kind of “psychological” help to those who are living health worries but this relationship should never be used to make self-decisions to treat these difficulties without professional consultation.
Even if shared social experience can be useful to treat minor diseases, in front of serious maladies a patient must always access to professional assistance. Ehealth introduction does not replace the need of doctors or physicians in all the cases. Social Media contents and technological tools such as health apps (in which mhealth is based) are attractive and valuable resources to be used in healthcare but human resources are the more reliable and most experienced or educated ones who can treat people professionally.
Precisely, this point makes these resources taking part in Social Media an important way to improve healthcare quality and reliability. Healthcare related content in Social Media should be validated by professional institutions and controlled afterwards. Many technology or social based organizations or businesses are currently creating digital places and resources where to help on personal health management. But, since most of these agents do not have consistent medical support, content validation policies would be required if risky medical self-making decisions turn a real danger for human healthcare.
Social Media is a great tool for improving healthcare quality but professional assistance is essential to secure this positive development. Until this reality comes true, all Social Media consumer need to be careful and objective when consuming these contents.
This is the recommendation Medtep community would like to express.
Engaging Health through Social Media