Health 2.0 101
The popularity of user-generated content has increased on social networking sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health business. An incredible number of individuals are now going on the internet to give their contribution to an extensive range of health care issues that range from extraction of wisdom teeth to the avian flu pandemic or using acupuncture to deal with infertility. This is what is known as Health 2.0 or user-generated health care.
To some degree, that is not new as there were already online support groups which have existed since the early 1990s. On the other hand, the content has developed, and we finally have websites videos and numerous subscribers. According to one research firm, more than 20% of Americans have contributed some information on health-related content. The hype that surrounded web 2.0 has raised the consciousness of new possibilities thus there continues to be an increase in new content and new users.
The increase in user-generated content is in part due to the wider internet trends and the fact that people have more access to the tools for coming up with content. Tools like the digital camera and webcams have made it possible for individuals to take pictures and upload them. But, there are other factors which have led to this increase. Individuals with multiple chronic diseases like depression, diabetes are interested in getting some good tips from other people who have similar conditions. Today, any area of medical knowledge is too extensive for just about any single physician to know all of it. Some patients who may not get all the information from their doctor prefer to go online, joining a forum with other people with similar conditions for more information.
There are numerous discussions on health- related issues online and it is peculiar as health is a sensitive issue that folks don’t merely discuss with anyone. Individuals usually are not conscious of how irreversible info is online; as they say, the internet never forgets. There’s the risk of malicious folks abusing one’s personal data. Some sites try to mitigate this risk by requiring the use of pseudonyms. Another concern with this user-generated content is misinformation. Too much health data can confuse some individuals. User-created content is useful, and it’s helped people, but one has to utilize the info in addition to consulting their doctor.
Most of the user-generated content is accurate because if one person shares erroneous information, other people may correct it. Some people have utilized user-created content as their best source of hope. If one is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer; they can get support from other folks across the planet who may recommend physicians and can offer exact information about the therapy.