Participatory Medicine: Blending Traditional Medicine with “Health 2.0”

Tom Davenport, in a Harvard Business Publishing Blog post, does a nice job of discussing the merging of “Health 2.0”, the aggregate of online communities, wiki’s, bloggers, and tweets, with the role of traditional medical providers.  He asks whether, if you get seriously ill, you will rely solely on colleagues online or whether you’ll seek out a traditional medical provider at a reputable facility and, correctly, concludes the latter.  He also accurately points out that internet savvy consumers will, after the onset of their symptoms or illness, rely on “health 2.0” people and tools to obtain information, check out options, get reactions and opinions on proposed therapies and, I believe, armed with this information, will come out with a better outcome.

In my view, it would be a bad mistake for the advocates of health 2.0 approaches to consider it an “either/or” proposition.  Rather, with the help of alliances with traditional medical providers, we can forge a brave, better new world of empowered, informed, e-patients.

Thanks, Tom Davenport, for singing our song.  In my view this is Participatory Medicine at its best: an equal partnership with patients and providers, with patients accepting responsibility for their health, but also relying on medical providers to provide quality health care services, each helping the other in ways for which they are uniquely qualified.  This is the health care system that I envision for the future!


Posted in: pt/doc co-care




3 Responses to “Participatory Medicine: Blending Traditional Medicine with “Health 2.0””

  1. […] Article Charlie Smith,, 16 June 2009 SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Participatory Medicine: Blending Traditional Medicine with “Health 2.0″”, url: “” }); […]

  2. Judy Feder says:

    This is a great point — self evident to us e-patients, perhaps, but apparently not to the world at large. In recent weeks I’ve had at least two discussion with pharma types who have questioned the wisdom — even the safety — of patients discussing things like dosages of chemotherapy drugs online. I pointed out that, even if a patient is gathering info or opining about dosages that deviate from the package insert, they are hardly in a position to write themselves a scrip! Rather, they should bring such discussions to the attention of their docs. And their docs should then look for evidence that the discussion has some merit behind it. If it does, let’s hope the doctor is flexible enough to prescribe an alternate dosage, if it’s still effective, but maybe able to improve a patient’s quality of life. I don’t consider this radical or subsersive. It’s essential (because docs simply do not have time to figure it all out) and life-enhancing (and if you think I’m exaggerating, you try some of these drugs at their “recommended” dosing levels!!!)

  3. I am such a strong beleiver in mixing holistic and conventional medicine. Why should we limit ourselves to one over the other when we can use both and have twice the chance of surviving. Listen to your body, then cross-check what you intuitively know with science. I had cancer twice and survived because I listened to myself when conventional tests didn’t find the cancer and then begged for different medical tests that finally did find it. Speaking with other people on-line can be the best way of bouncing thise ideas around and collecting support.

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