PHR’s and Online Communities

Folks are lamenting the demise of Google’s virtual world, Lively.  There are discussions on how it might have been better integrated with other Google offerings.  I’ll put in my two cents…which I had actually sent to Google as a Lively feature request.

Personal Health Records could be used to drive online healthcare support communities.  The PHR could offer the client to connect them to others with the same issues, or professional help, via online support groups.  The groups could include anything from a listserve, online forum, IRC, or virtual world.

Since the PHR could include diagnosises from a licensed medical practitioner, it could help assure that the client actually has the issue and is not simply pretending.  Along with demographic information, this may help direct the client to the proper groups.  It may also increase the trust of the others in the group.  (Others whos issue is not verified could still be included in the group as well.)

Participation in the groups would need to include the ability to choose anonymous user names, or avatars.

Some meeting spaces could include information specific to the issue being addressed.  This could be “sticky notes” in the case of an online forum, or a complete virtual environment for a virtual world.  Educational as well as social aspects can be tailored for the client(s).

User generated content should be included for a variety of reasons if not only for the possibility of unique and highly specific issues addressed.  With good UGC tools, is it entirely possible that a mostly blank, area automatically created from the diagnosis, may become populated with quality UGC.

It might also be helpful to have the option to include some medical information in one’s profile.  That would allow people to find eachother.  If the system was locked down, healthcare professionals could have their licenses in their profile.  (This is already happening in online forums, just not driven by a PHR as far as I know.)

So this was the idea I proposed to Google, connecting Google Health to Google Lively.  However, the idea is valid for any group willing to go there.

If anyone needs help on that, just let me know.

About John

Interested in how information intersects daily life, technology, and art. Collaboration specialist, working in social and collaborative media. Biomedical Informaticist, focusing on patient/patient, patient/provider communication.
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One Response to PHR’s and Online Communities

  1. Pingback: Growth of Healthcare Support Groups in Google’s Lively | john-norris.net

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