On Friday I am attending a round table event in Washington DC. There is an amazing list of attendees and I am honored to be involved with such distinguished thought leaders from across the health care spectrum. The theme of the event is patient engagement. A topic near and dear to me and a subject of many discussions at HealthCamps around the country and around the world. Thinking about this topic led me to a recent post by Stowe Boyd - one of our leading thinkers on the impact of social tools on society.
I have long admired and respected the work that Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) is doing in the Stream. He is someone who really understands the Social Flow that is far more than the individual platforms that represent what we refer to as Social Media or Social Networking.
Stowe's latest line of research is around "Social Cognition." Two observations from his Defrag presentation caught my attention:
"Reynol Junco conducted a study at Lock Haven University that required a group of students to use Twitter as part of their class work: tweets on others’ presentations, or as a social note taking tool when researching. This led to higher social engagement and a GPA increase of one half grade on average. Imagine if they used it in all classes? Or if the whole school used it?"
"Damon Centola has undertaken research that shows that behavioral changes are transmitted more quickly in denser networks. A company or a community where the members in general have more connections to others will be more likely to adopt new behaviors than in more loosely connected networks."
Social Cognition and Health Care
This got me thinking... Does this make a case for Participatory Medicine? Where medical professionals, their patients and fellow sufferers of chronic conditions pool their experiences and knowledge to achieve better outcomes.
The health care Tsunami, where rising costs threaten to bankrupt our nation while fewer and fewer people can afford basic care will force us to rethink how we care for ourselves and each other.
The transformation of health care demands that we become more open. Chronic disease sufferers are already forming networks to share information to help them live with their condition. Each of us needs to establish not just a Personal Health Record but a Life Record. We need to break down the glass walls between the patient and medical professionals. Patients and their personally collected data needs to be put on an equal footing with clinical data. This is where Technology can really play a transformational role.
Transformation Through Life Technology - Not Health Information Technology
Technology and connected platforms offer us an opportunity to gather information at a level of granularity and accuracy that has been impossible, or at least unaffordable, up until now.
Health Information Technology is needed to be able to filter and correlate these enormous volumes of data to look for anomalies and trends that can assist in early diagnosis of conditions.
Presenting this information back to consumers in a form that can be easily understood and acted upon is crucial. Enabling us to share and compare with others will help to reinforce behavior change that leads to continued vitality.