From physician to partner
The more I listen, the more I hear about the disenchanted, tired and uninspired physician. It’s still the exception and medicine is still rich with great and inspired healthcare professionals, yet there still seems to be a realaspectof ‘clinical discontent” that isn’t abating. But listen closely and you might hear the voice of the patient and caregiver increasing in volume. Empowered by the emergence of educational and support resources today, the patient herself may be the one of best sources for care. Two such patient sites are examples of important, yet different approaches to a trend that may help change the face of clinical care.
Healtheo360: the 'caring' network for support, encouragement, and information
Healtheo360 is a ‘caring network’ where patients living with chronic conditions, such as Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many others come to find support, encouragement and information. By integrating social media with healthcare, healtheo360 is promoting the voice of patients and caregivers through its video health platform.
Healtheo360 hopes to evolve global healthcare as it puts the voice of the patient and caregiver at the center of the learning and decision making process through social media. The Healtheo360 community includes patients, their caregivers, family members and friends who share their stories by self generated videos so others may find inspiration, motivation and support. Members and visitors can explore a diverse assembly of specialized support groups and connect with people just like them. Their community can also follow others on their individual journey, gain access to invaluable resources, learn something new, share you knowledge and most importantly, help others in need.
Patients will benefit with services including Virtual Social TherapyTM, peer counseling, support groups, educational publications and access to a library of video content from patients and caregivers. Comments are allowed and encouraged to promote lively discussions. A member-generated video library provides longitudinal health journals that cover symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, remission, and various health conversations. Healtheo360 has also recently launched a patient study designed to measure the advantages of Virtual Social TherapyTM to type 1 and 2 diabetics via Healtheo360’s interactive video platform.
Healtheo360 seems to start with compassion and empathy to build a community of like-minded patients and caregivers. The information flows from that ‘cauldron’ of emotions, experiences and facts and builds a ‘human video library’ to help improve care. Founder David S. Duplay puts it this way:
"From boosting clinical trial recruitment to enhancing medical compliance to finding solace and support, the social component online is the most efficient, easy and precise way to engage with issues of health and wellness. Healtheo360 was founded with the vision of providing Virtual Social TherapyTM by connecting patients, caregivers, family and friends so they can share their health related stories and learn from others who are just like them."
Smart Patients: where cancer patients and caregivers learn from each other about treatments, clinical trials, the latest science
Roni Zeiger, the former chief strategist at Google Zeiger’s and co-founder Gilles Frydman have introduce a patient-centric initiative with a distinct ’knowledge and data perspective’–focusing only on cancer.
The Smart Patients brand has a more ‘cognitive’ feel and quickly focuses on experimental drug trials, clinical help and advice. A the center of Smart Patients is the clinical trial search engine and the value of the ‘micro-exprt’. Both of these have traditionally lived in the domain of the clinician. But now, highly informed patients and caregivers can provide well-informed perspectives that augment traditional care. It’s almost a ‘cancer neural network’ that can process information in a collective patient brain that’s tuned to like-minded concerns and issues. The clinical trial search engine also empowers patients to search for care options that only lived in the recesses of a physician network or more complicated site like clinicaltrial.gov. As Zeiger put its:
"Many patients have learned the science behind their disease and of course are the experts in their experience. They’re also the most motivated stakeholders. We’re starting to see a shift from simply respecting patients’ preferences to actually looking to them for answers, collaborating with them as peers."
Power to the Patient!
The evolution of clinical care is being driven by many factors. Patient engagement and empowerment, the Internet, support groups, digital health and the quantified self and many other resources add valueandcomplexity to a system already overloaded. But the voice, intellect and passion of the empowered patient can be aclarioncall to cut through this complexity and emerge as informed advocates like never before.
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