A Guide to Health 2.0
The popularity of user-generated content has increased on social media sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health industry. 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 called Health 2.0 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. However, the content has evolved, and we now have videos, blogs, and numerous contributors. According to one research company more than 20% of Americans have contributed some information on health-related content. The hype that surrounded web 2.0 has raised the consciousness of new possibilities thus there continues to be an increase in new content and new users.
The increase in user-generated content is in part due to the wider internet trends and the fact that people have more access to the tools for coming up with content. Tools like the digital camera and webcams have made it possible for individuals to take pictures and upload them. 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. Nowadays, any field of medical knowledge is too broad for any single physician to learn all of it. Some patients who may not get all the information from their doctor prefer to go online, joining a forum with other people with similar conditions 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 usually are not conscious of how irreversible info is online; as they say, the internet never forgets. There is certainly the risk of malicious individuals misusing one’s private data. Some sites try to mitigate this risk by requiring the use of pseudonyms. Another problem with this user-created content is misinformation. Too much health data can confuse some individuals. User-generated content is advantageous, and it has helped people a lot, but one needs to use the advice along with consulting with their physician.
Most of the user-created content is correct because if one shares information that is erroneous, it may be corrected by other individuals. Some people have utilized user-created 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.