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The Social Web Will Transform Health Care, Period.

by Anthony J. Bradley  |  July 7, 2009  |  3 Comments

Why is this? What do we care more about than our health or the health of our loved ones? I have talked to our healthcare clients about sites like www.patientslikeme.com and www.rateadrug.com for a while now with a statement following that “this is only the beginning”. According to www.compete.com patientslikeme has about 100k unique visitors per month and grew by over 200% in the past year. rateadrug.com has about 6k unique visitors per month and has grown by over 2400% in the past year.

People with illnesses are scared, information hungry, and they certainly are in need of a support group of others who are sharing a similar experience. This is the perfect formula for the social Web. Take a look at “I’m Too Young For This” (for young people with cancer). I’m directing you to a page they have that lists a set of social networks for people with cancer.

It is early in the evolution and right now the larger potential “community” is fragmented across many upstart sites (or not yet on the social Web at all) but imagine a few years (probably not many) from now, if there were one site (or less than a handful) for each major illness where everyone who had that illness collaborated in mass. Imagine further if they were able to act as a collective. They could yield tremendous power. Collectively, they could expose the best doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceuticals, government policies, etc. for their specific illness. And the worst ones. And this is only scratching the surface.

IMO, this is a wonderful thing and again, IMO, any health care enterprise not taking the social Web seriously is making a critical error.

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Category: social-web  

Tags: health-care  social-web  

Anthony J. Bradley
GVP
13 years at Gartner
30 years in IT

Anthony J. Bradley is a Group Vice President in Gartner Research. In this role he leads global teams of analysts who research the emerging technologies and trends that are changing today's world and shaping the future. Mr. Bradley's group strives to provide technology product and service leaders (Tech CEOs, General Managers, Chief Product Officers, Practice Leads, Product Managers and Product Marketers) with unique, high-value research and indispensable advice on leveraging emerging technologies and trends to create and deliver highly successful products and services. Information technology now impacts pretty much every business function in all companies, all industries, and all geographies. Technology providers are critical to the technology and business innovation that will define the world of tomorrow. Innovation depends on technology providers. By helping them, we help the world.


Thoughts on The Social Web Will Transform Health Care, Period.


  1. Anupam Kumar says:

    There are definately a lot of small sites or fragments looking at different aspects of this new healthcare wave. Collectively these can be classified as health2.0. There is a good resource here: http://health20.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Targets for these sites range from:
    – second medical opinion
    – telemedicine
    – ratings/search of doctors, hospitals, pharma cos, pathological labs, chemists, etc.
    – social communities for patients, doctors, etc
    – emergency services
    – health records.

    There are big names throwing money specially in the health records area (Microsoft health vault, Google health, etc) and there are research projects in telemedicine (IBM, Intel…).

    This is definatly going to change the face of healthcare. While this blog is primarily talking of patient networks, there is also headaway made in doctors networks. A good example is http://doctors.meraMD.com which is a social and professional networking site for doctors. This would be complementary to the patient websites and could probably be mashed up in future…

  2. Anthony Bradley says:

    Anupam,
    Very true. Doctor networks and researcher networks are also springing up and adding to the transformational effect. As you also alluded to, this movement will advance the digitization of medical records/info.
    Thanks for your input. Sorry about the delay in posting, for some reason the filter grabbed your post and put it in my review queue. My blog default is to “post before moderate.”

  3. […] But the social Web is also evolving to encompass specific community environments as well. See my blog post on the social Web and health care. Enterprises can’t ignore these […]



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