Tom Davenport, in a Harvard Business Publishing Blog post, does a nice job of discussing the merging of “Health 2.0”, the aggregate of online communities, wiki’s, bloggers, and tweets, with the role of traditional medical providers. He asks whether, if you get seriously ill, you will rely solely on colleagues online or whether you’ll seek out a traditional medical provider at a reputable facility and, correctly, concludes the latter. He also accurately points out that internet savvy consumers will, after the onset of their symptoms or illness, rely on “health 2.0” people and tools to obtain information, check out options, get reactions and opinions on proposed therapies and, I believe, armed with this information, will come out with a better outcome.
In my view, it would be a bad mistake for the advocates of health 2.0 approaches to consider it an “either/or” proposition. Rather, with the help of alliances with traditional medical providers, we can forge a brave, better new world of empowered, informed, e-patients.
Thanks, Tom Davenport, for singing our song. In my view this is Participatory Medicine at its best: an equal partnership with patients and providers, with patients accepting responsibility for their health, but also relying on medical providers to provide quality health care services, each helping the other in ways for which they are uniquely qualified. This is the health care system that I envision for the future!