Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Information-osis A chronic derangement of informational structures and processes resulting in delayed reaction times, misinterpretation of data, high error rates and generally poor decision-making.

One of the themes of this blog is that health is social – which is to say that from the cells of our bodies to the personal connections between us, everything about our health is social.

Social in two senses of the word: as a description of relationships among data and information, and as a description of relationships between people. It’s not simply about social media – that’s just a small part of a larger world.

Throughout these social arrangements is one common theme: information. If there is no information at the genetic level, there is no protein synthesis, no life. If you and I don’t have any information about each other, then there is no (meaningful) social relationship between us.

And so, we can say that the circulatory system of our healthcare is informational. Proper care utterly depends on proper flows of medical information – from diagnostic data to professional communication to patient education.

Healthcare today suffers from a case of informationosis. Is it terminal? If not, is it treatable? I’d like to think that it is a treatable condition. (What else can we hope for?)

Fortunately, there are entrepreneurs with personal encounters with informationosis who are ambitious enough to care for the problem.

Here is the founder of Medpedia James Currier explaining what motivated him to improve our healthcare [link]:

James is right about the over-complexity of what should be simple transactions. We know that the technological solutions to the informational problems that we have in healthcare are terribly expensive.

And yet…there are points of contact between provider and patient that can be made to connect much simpler and more effectively.

Emerging media may be a part of that. In fact, until we get sufficient improvement in the main infrastructure of our medical information systems, we may have to do our best to make the most of the social networks that are rapidly evolving – and doing so without any permission from the gatekeepers in Healthcare.

Join us August 26 at 1:00pm – 3:00pm on our Webinar featuring four perspectives on making healthcare more social.

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  • Thanks for the link to that interview. I heard my own thoughts in James’ words.
    I read recently that the CDC estimates that 9 out of 10 people have trouble following routine medical advice because they can’t understand it. Kind of disturbing! It may be the words used are too complex or the fact the patient is stressed and can’t take in the advice. But there is a clear need for a resource that answers the real questions patients have in language they can understand.

    • Phil Baumann

      Lisa

      Agree – giving resources and speaking in a language that’s appropriate and easily understandable is very important. That’s why supporting social structures are important too.

      Phil