Social media’s impact on healthcare

As previously mentioned here on the blog, social media has become a big part of healthcare today, and communities have been created for healthcare professionals and patients. Recently, we’ve been blogging and tweeting about some of the innovative and revolutionary products start-ups have presented at the Launch! Sessions of the Health 2.0 conferences around the world. Many of these new tools and devices have one thing in common: They’re social.
A social approach to healthcare
In recent years, sharing our personal health issues publicly and using connected devices have increasingly become a natural part of our behaviour and lifestyle and will ultimately improve our health. A significant article published by the business media brand Fast Company in 2009 led to a discussion on Twitter exploring the social future of healthcare between healthcare professionals, leaders, reporters, bloggers, and designers. One of the outcomes of the discussion was that connected health devices improve motivation, make it easier to conduct healthy behaviour and improve the quality of healthcare as well as encourage behaviour change.

As you can see, the social dimension of healthcare has already been identified as an important issue for some time now, and today connected health tools and devices have become fundamental in the development of new solutions. Connected devices and social networking make staying healthy easier, more effective, and more meaningful, as it allows you to tap into your network’s experience and get instant advice from friends, other patients, and physicians while the devices unobtrusively collect information for you.

Healthcare has become social
Nowadays, self-tracking and the “Quantified Self” movement have gained a lot of popularity throughout the world. Although this trend focuses on knowing one’s self, an important part of the practice is also to share goals and results within social networks.

According to The Next Web, more and more people want a holistic report on their health. This holistic report can include different components, such as: sleep patterns, blood pressure, calorie intake, and other elements that affect our health over time. In turn, they want to be able to share this with their networks or their physicians.

Withings is of course an example of a health device integrating a social dimension as it allows you to share your measurements with your network. Many of our users choose to autotweet their weight to get support from their communities for example. Many have also been asking for a Facebook share function, which will arrive soon.

Do you share your health data with others? Does it motivate you to better take care of your health?

Image rights: Fast Company

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