#hcrdu Panel Session – Online communities for health

Bob Brooks, Wego Health
Marci Williams, vlogger for American Heart Association (works for FedEx)
Joe Miller, Blogger, GetGoing NC! ex-journalist. Blog is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Wego Health represents several thousand health activists on line. Treatments, coping strategies and educating others etc.

Other than diagnosis e-patients got more value from community than their specialists. PCPs didn’t rank well in any category of Sapient Health Study.

What conditions lend themselves to online community support?

Doctors may provider the what, may be even the how. The social community brings the encouragement.

Meetup.com has had a big impact on the outdoors community (hikers, bikers etc)

The groups on Wego Health providing the most value are those that trigger the most passion or pain. e.g. Peanut allergies or Migraine.

Marci Williams story from overweight high risk with Diabetes to a committed Video Blogger is an amazing one. I wish I had caught that session earlier.

What is important: Written, video. People have questions and are looking for answers. Search is the most important.

Question from Physician representative: How do you recommend busy Primary Care Doctors leverage online communities.

The PCP can raise the issue. The online community can explain and educate (in the patient’s own time)

Docs can prescribe the information (the URL) But beware, the best discussions happen in specialist communities. You have to go beyond the general communities like WebMD.

Payment reform – moving from fee for service to outcome based payments could drive use of online communities to support Patients.

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