Some healthcare startups are modeling themselves after social-networking sites such as MySpace in an effort to encourage patients to share information on illnesses, treatment, and doctors. Before the new wave of Health 2.0, patients were connecting with one another through chat, IM, and forums. The Web 2.0 generation has taken this interaction further to develop patient tools from online wikis to user-generated video upload. Below is a snapshot of some Web 2.0 patient communities.

  • TauMedtaumed.jpg
    Taumed is a health community that is constantly reinventing itself with new applications and features. Its goal is to be a “metagator for health.” Since its mid-December 2006 launch, TauMed has developed a “Yahoo Answers” like feature for health, video sharing, as well as mobile service. Although it calls itself a “virtual health community,” it acts more as a health search engine to find relevant information.
  • DailyStrengthdailystrength.jpg
    DailyStrength is a site that aggregates treatment information and provides the opportunity for groups to be developed around a specific disease. Patients discuss their struggles, pain, as well as give each other supportive virtual hugs. Conditions have wikipedia definitions, relevant aggregated Yahoo news, and patient testimonials on treatments. While DailyStrength was developed with the intention of providing support, some patients are commenting that the site is filled with depressing comments more so than inspiration. Sometimes misery doesn’t like company.
  • IMediximedix.jpg
    IMedix is part search engine, part online community. The site has a digg-like feature that allows users to vote up/down on disease search results and lists valuable tidbits such as whether or not the site is accredited. Other features include the ability to message members. One of IMedix’s core is its blogging community, which adds as another type of health resource. Despite the two available types of sources available: patients and sources from the web, IMedix lacks the ability of separating authoritative information (information written by healthcare professionals) from that of general users.
  • MyOpenCaremyopencare.gif
    MyOpenCare is an interesting site that is a mashup of several tools. Medical knowledge is furnished through a variety of formats: text, image, and uploaded video. The Wi-Care section is a wiki area for patients to share knowledge in regards to a disease state. The H-Book allows users to track their treatment effectiveness in the form of graphs and text. E-Care diary acts as an online electronic medical record with a medication alert system. Finally, the site has a search feature that allows users to quickly locate relevant ranked information. There are currently very little users on MyOpenCare.
  • Healthcarehealthcare.jpg
    Healthcare is a community for both health professionals as well as patients. Health professionals have the opportunity to create their own homepage, blog, as well as have their own personal online address to advertise themselves . Patients are able to share, sort, and discuss content. The site’s strategic move to allow doctors to create their own homepage provides an incentive for doctors to join while establishing the site’s legitimacy.

  • MyCancerPlacecancerplace.jpg
    MyCancerPlace is best described as a Myspace for cancer patients. From the layout to the features, it mimics MySpace in functionality and features. The founder is Michael Horwin, who is the editor of Cancer Monthly. His 2-year-old son had died from brain cancer in 1999, prompting his desire for a space that provided a community for cancer patients to discuss treatment options.
  • PatientsLikeMepatientslikeme.jpg
    PatientsLikeMe was developed by MIT engineers. Unlike the other communities, the site has a platform to share outcomes-based data. The site currently focuses on three conditions: Lou Gehring’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease.
  • OurHealthCircleourhelathcircle.jpg
    OurHealthCircle was launched by three Berkley students. Users create anonymous profiles and join groups to talk about a disease state or condition. The site reminds me of a better looking “Yahoo Groups.” The site is easy to use. Users type in a disease condition, and results are shown with “Circles” that are developed around that condition.
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