Health 2.0 101
The popularity of user-created content has increased on social networking sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health sector. An incredible number of individuals are now going on the internet to give their contribution to an extensive range of health care issues that range from extraction of wisdom teeth to the avian flu pandemic or using acupuncture to deal with infertility. This is what is known as Health 2.0 or user-generated health care.
To some degree, that is not new as there were already online support groups which have existed since the early 1990s. But, the content has developed, and we finally have numerous contributors, blogs, and videos. According to one research firm, more than 20% of Americans have given some tips on health-related content. The hype that surrounded net 2.0 has raised the awareness of new possibilities consequently there continues to be an increase in content that is new and new users.
The increase in user-generated content is in part because individuals have significantly more access to tools for writing the content along with the wider web tendencies. Tools like the digital camera and webcams have made it easy for people to take photos and upload. But, there are other factors which have led to this increase. People with multiple chronic diseases like depression, diabetes are curious to get some tips from other people that have similar conditions. Today, any area of medical knowledge is too extensive for just about any single physician to know all of it. Some patients who may not get all of the advice from their physician would rather go online, join a forum with other individuals with similar states for more information.
There are many discussions on health-related matters online, and it is strange as health is a sensitive topic that people do not just discuss with anyone. Individuals aren’t aware of how permanent info is online; as they say, the web never forgets. There’s the risk of malicious folks abusing one’s personal data. Some sites try and reduce this threat by demanding the use of pseudonyms. Another issue with this particular user-created content is misinformation. A lot of health details can confuse some folks. User-generated content is useful, and it has helped people significantly, but one has to use the information in addition to consulting their physician.
Most of the user-generated content is accurate because if one individual shares information that is erroneous, other people may correct it. Some people have used user-generated content as their best source of hope. If a person is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, they can find support from other people across the world who can provide accurate information about the treatment and recommend doctors.