The Idea Dude


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wellocities, a journey and not a destination... part 2

It's easy to jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon these days. But you have to ask what is the value in creating another Digg, Facebook or Twitter. Do we really need another social network, news aggregator, or instant messenger? Like any new fad, the initial wave is built from unprecedented excitement and euphoria. It then rapidly dies down. The equal and opposite reaction of disenchantment and disillusionment. Benefits rarely meet such unrealistic expectations.

We're not there yet, but that time will come for Web 2.0, surely as night follows day.

From this, a second smaller and more mature wave appears. More pragmatic and economically viable. Bringing real value for both the consumer and supplier. To me, this could be the destiny of Wellocities. Most healthcare institutions seek to empower the patient by giving them data, either their electronic healthcare record or rich sources of unbiased information. To ensure that the patient is well-equipped with all the necessary information I hear too often.

But in the end we are humans and what we seek cannot be found in books or words. It is found in voices and hearts. We seek someone who has personally felt that physical and emotional pain. Someone was has cared for others in similar situations.

Someone who has travelled that same journey.

For professionals like Dr Amol Deshpande, Web 2.0 is not a fad. It is opportunity to address issues that perhaps our Canadian healthcare system is not in the best position to solve.

Amol explained it to me...
Why an online social network for health? Sites like MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are popular because we all need to be part of a community.

Epidemiological trials (medical studies that look at large numbers of people and follow them over lengthy periods of time) have looked at the effect of social networks on health since at least the late 1970’s. Studies such as House in 1982, Vogt in 1992 and more recently Kroenke in 2006 have all demonstrated the benefits of social networks on our health.

They’ve repeatedly shown that patients who invest their time in developing larger social networks have a reduction in all-cause mortality and in some cases even lower incidence of disease.

The most recent study, from Kroenke assessed women with breast cancer and found a 66% reduction in mortality associated with larger social networks, 66%!.

So, not only do we feel better from being in groups but we could live longer.

I for one know that, as a child, what worked better than a band-aid for a skinned knee was the hug and kiss that followed. Deep in my heart, I hope Wellocities remains true to my experience.

Next, Amol will share with us a true story of one patient's journey where an ordinary miracle was reached through extraordinary means.


Post a Comment

<< Home