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Social Networking for Health, Applied

I wrote about the potential impact that social networking can have on health care yesterday without asking myself a crucial question: Will I participate?

For some offerings, like managing personal health records and bills, absolutely not. That’s not information that I want on the internet, nor is it something I’m willing to share with a third party.

I was initially reluctant to try Revolution Health because I didn’t want to give them all the information that they require in the set up. So I used my junk e-mail address and made up a birthday. I’ll disclose these things to my bank, but that’s about it.

I’d like to think that I’d participate in the social parts, but it’s doubtful. I’m not much of a joiner, nor am I good at obligational interactions. It’s kind of like the forums that I used to participate in. I enjoyed the regular contact with other headache sufferers and got a lot of good information, but I lost the emotional need for it so I stopped posting. I continue to think about some of the participants, but I’m still not involved.

I already have a blog (obviously), so unless I used it to direct people here, the blogs on social networking sites aren’t necessary. The emotional needs I mentioned before are met by all the wonderful people who e-mail me after finding this blog.

So, there’s a potentially great tool that’s success depends on how much people contribute. I applaud this, yet doubt I’ll participate. Considering that I do and share a lot more online than many other people would be comfortable with, I doubt I’m not alone in my reluctance.

With this in mind MigrainePad may be the best option. Not only does it offer a comprehensive headache journal, but it now allows you to track weather in relation to your headaches.

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Social Networking for Health Care

With sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn (not to mention Dogster) exploding in popularity, social networking is all the buzz these days. Some clever entrepreneurs have applied the same approach for health.

Launched for public preview today, Revolution Health is AOL founder Steve Case‘s current project. (The media blitz began today, so the site is slow right now.) A similar site called Daily Strength, also in preview, has been up and running for a few months.

MigrainePad, a non-corporate social networking site specifically for migraine
sufferers, was started last summer by two headaches sufferers. There’s a headache journal on it. It is in the early stages, but you can sign up to be a charter member.

All these sites offer an exciting new approach to empowering patients to become involved in their own health care. The patient is at the forefront, rating and describing their experiences with ailments, treatments, doctors and hospitals. Participants are encouraged to tell their own stories and can connect with others who have the same health problems.

Revolution Health goes a step further with tools and assessments of nutrition, fitness, heart attack risks and many more, as well as assistance in improving your overall wellness. You can also compare insurance plans in your area, track your health history and manage your health-related bills.

These sites have tremendous potential for changing the way we take care of ourselves. Because of it’s comprehensive approach, I am most excited to see how Revolution Health develops. (I just got off a press briefing conference call for the site, so I’m probably biased.)

The usefulness of any social networking depends on how many people use it, so it will take time for them to develop. Check them out and see if you think they’ll be useful for you. I’d love to hear what you think.