Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Ideology isn’t just a political stance. No, it’s an infiltration into our lives – from the deepest regions of our individual and collective unconscious processes to personal beliefs to the shifting dynamics of culture.

We can discuss Participatory Medicine, Digital Medicine, and an almost infinite array of topics and sub-topics within Healthcare ad nauseum. Unless we more fully apprehend the specific ideologies of consumers, however, it’s difficult to bring these modalities into their fullest manifestation.

When (competent and invested) Healthcare Providers (HCPs) assess patients – when assessments are done properly – what they’re doing is searching for the relevant over-arching conditions within and without the patients’ world.

For example, if a patent complains of knee pain, and the HCP works up a proper assessment and runs the relevant diagnostics, it’s possible Lung Cancer is the source of the pain. At that point, further discussions and interactions must not only include the technical aspects of treating cancer, they must also include the psychological, sociological, economic, cultural, and…ideological factors related to the patient.

Does the patient believe in Medicine? What’s the patient’s conception of Choice? What about risk aversion or risk-seeking? How do her ideological views of the world influence her comfort or discomfort with life-changing decisions?

This may be an alien conception to most HCPs – after all, Nursing, Medical, and other Allied Profession education are themselves steeped within their own ideologies.

And that’s what the whole “Healthcare Revolution” is, at its core, all about – Ideology.

I know this can take a bit to sink in for readers. But I also know, as an HCP myself, how infiltrative ideology spurs into our lives and the lives of consumers.

Perhaps the point can be further imparted more clearly with two other questions to reflect upon:

  • What is *your* ideology?
  • How might your ideology work with, or against, your patient’s?

“Question Everything” is a safe motto in any revolution. In fact, it’s not only safe – it’s imperatively effective.


Phil Baumann


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  • Rowan Mor

    This is a topic that hits very close to home from a patients perspective. I prefer natural remedies where possible, and prescription drugs as the next resort. My body sometimes doesn’t mesh well with synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs. I am also pagan, which I have more than once had the treating healthcare professional turn into a snide participant in my care as a result of my mentioning. I don’t advertise either fact, but certain situations have warranted me bringing it up. I am there to get better within the framework of what I believe is my best path to healing and their profound medical expertise; finding treatment that respects my ideology is tough.

    The most interesting part is that I work in the healthcare field on the IT side and interact with Dr’s, Nurses, Pharmacists and others regularly in my long career. I respect what they bring to the table of care, but am not sure how they would treat a patient with my ideology… And trust me going to get help for depression after your Mother dies is not the right time to mention being pagan even if it is pertinent to the treatment plan.