During the last 2 decades the internet has changed from an occasional point of reference afforded to a few to an integral part of most people’s lives. The UK currently has a population of 61 million people, 38 million of these have access to the internet. A growth of 2 million in the past year. Meaning that all of the UK will be online in 6 years time if not sooner.
Patients are using Google or Yahoo Search and others to find out about health issues and treatment. More advanced patients (often referred to as e-patients) have gone further by managing their illness through online communities where they can track their progress, compare data on different treatments and communicate with their health providers. Sites like www.patientslikeme.com have set a standard for accessible and participatory health care online.
Whilst Health 2.0 may not replace conventional health care, I envision it will increasingly play a complimentary role to improving the health of a wider and more diverse population.
There are now several Health 2.0 annual conferences around the world where innovation and creativity is shared with often a thousand or more people, professionals and patients alike. On October 7th, San Francisco will host its conference and it looks like they are ready to welcome the world: www.health2con.com. The health 2.0 movement is gathering speed. It’s not a fad. Health 2.0 is here and it’s staying.