Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Online Health Communities : Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy

For years, patients have liked to work in groups, to support each other, to help themselves cope with illnesses which their near and dear ones don’t understand, to seek advice from others who have similar ailments. 

Bringing people together in collaborative dialogue to explore social conditions that are the major influences of health and illness generates deeper collective awareness and community-driven action.

Since Individuals don’t see their lives partitioned into an online and offline world, Online communities should be given as much value as offline ones. A variety of Online Communities must come up for connecting patients quickly and privately with others who share similar health experiences. A fantastic example of one such community is Patients Like Me

Technology today exists not only in the form of created online communities but also online community frameworks; These allow just about anyone with an idea for a group or community to set up an online network, full with video and audio chats, whiteboarding, discussion forums and groups and all the other good stuff.

This helps create an integrated digital ecosystem which simultaneously addresses both individual and social dimensions of health. In effect this
-- Allows Patients to engage with each other

-- Allows Providers to engage with this medium

This is the 5th Article in a series of Articles on Using IT to facilitate Information Therapy by Nrip Nihalani and Aditya Patkar 

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