2.0 Is the Wrong Number in Healthcare 2.0

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Is healthcare important. Is it one of the most critical industries? If it is, why is it so behind the project referred to as ‘Web 2.0’? Why should healthcare be so exceptional an industry as to be stuck in another century?

I think we’ll have to abandon the numeric system when referring to new versions of the Web, especially when formulating applications within the healthcare industry. There’s really no ‘Healthcare 1.0’ (whatever it was, it was a dissappointment). So why bother with a 2.0? Why not just settle with Healthcare?

The goal of healthcare is healthcare, not social media. The current system in the United States is so horribly deranged that we we need enormous investments to heal it. Internet technologies and social networking applications for patients and professinals certainly will help in the area of management. But it won’t travel too far in revamping infrastructure.

I’d love to see more healthcare facilities provide more intelligent and usable online interfaces with their communities. Right now, that’s the kind of servicing Web 2.0 can offer, such as:

  • A process for updating the community (via blogs)
  • A process for giving voice to the community
  • Updated information on patient care (e.g. online discharge instructions)
  • A portal for building support groups for patients and family members

The list can go on. HIPAA certainly gets in the way and will need to be repealed or revamped in a more intelligent way. Dignity shouldn’t be a pretext for industrial secrecy. Web 2.0 won’t change that. Good old fashioned political rage can.

Web 2.0 won’t get to healthcare. A whole new iteration needs to be integrated. Unfortunately, Healthcare 1.0 is going to be here for longer than it should. Sadly, we might even see Healthcare 0.5 coming our way. Or -2.0 if we keep screwing things up.

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  1. “…we might even see Healthcare 0.5 coming our way. Or -2.0 if we keep screwing things up.”

    Oops! Hope we don’t get there. Healthcare is not dependent on numbers 1.0,2.0, etc. etc., but the Web 2.0 could be of help, eh. However, the heart of healthcare is not the social media (web 2.0), but the medical personnel and patients.

  2. FYI there's a discussion going on about these issues now (Oct 27-Nov 3) at:
    http://www.thenationaldialogue.org. Today is the last day, so don't miss your chance to add your comments.

    It's called the National Dialogue on Health IT & Privacy. On the site, you can contribute ideas, and read and rate others' ideas. Watch in real time as the best ideas “rise to the top.”

    ** The results of this online dialogue are being compiled into a report to the Federal CIO Council, Office of Management and Budget, and the incoming Administration by the National Academy of Public Administrators. **

    Hope to see you there.
    Maggie, The National Dialogue

  3. Interesting conversation. My beliefs are somewhere in the middle. As boomers age, and begin taking over the healthcare decisions for their parents, we do see more social activism from the patient side in terms of doctor reviews, utilizing website to gain treatment information, and online support groups. These early adopters are using social media as part of their healthcare decision making process, although I think most find you are still not able to glean 100 percent of your information from these sources.

    Unfortunately, the organizations supplying this “web 2.0” type of information/environment for consumers is limited. Traditional healthcare organizations are reluctant to join this movement for some of the reasons Phil mentions. There are simply too many concerns with HIPPA, protecting patient information and just plain concern over the value towards the ever stretched healthcare dollar.

    Will it stay this way forever? Absolutely not. Just now, we are finally seeing physicians come into this century with computerized practice management solutions and the use of EMR's. A paperless office is finally almost the norm in healthcare, whereas it has been much more popular in traditional businesses.

    The healthcare companies already utilizing social media will lead the pack as more traditional healthcare companies reluctantly come forward with more participation in a social media platform. But until we have reasonable restraints on HIPPA, and calm the fears of corporate healthcare attorneys, I do believe healthcare as a whole will be dragging their feet for years to come.

  4. I understand where you're coming from but this post wasn't a dismissal of social media in healthcare: it was quite the opposite. Web 2.0 won't do. By the time healthcare catches up, an entirely new paradigm will be around.

    What you have to understand is that the healthcare system, overall, is so far behind that it will take a much larger effort to bring it into the 21st century than simply setting up blogs or FB accounts. There's a whole myriad of considerations that other industries don't have to confront. The industry won't just have to catch up; it will have to think ahead.

    You're right about healthcare professionals who don't learn to adopt. But the industry has a long way to go. A long way.

  5. In the age of consumerism and transparency social media is playing a critical role in healthcare more than you're giving it credit for I'm afraid. The general healthcare consumer is taking time to connect into communities to learn about and rate their healthcare provider. Web sites such as http://www.hospitalvalueindex.com/, https://www.changehealthcare.com/, and even the government itself is getting in on the action of providing consumers a more educated knowledge base with http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov. RateMDs.com is all about finding a doctor that you like. Healthgrades.com provides research on physicians and nurses. Healthcare consumers are talking on social networks and getting louder by the day. Don't believe me then get a Facebook account and then search for “healthcare.” You'll see that social media can't be brushed aside or treated as unimportant. Those healthcare professionals who don't learn to embrace the medium will be doomed to it. Learn how to harness the power of social media or you'll likely get burned by it.

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