2007 A Health 2.0 community A Health 2.0 communityCourtesy RevolutionHealth

What is Health 2.0?

Health 1.0 would be like going to the doctor and the doctor tells you his diagnosis and prescribes a treatment plan. Health 2.0 involves more interactive communication involving groups of patients and doctors.

Treating a sty in my eye the old way

To demonstrate how Health 2.0 works I am going to share with you a health problem I recently had and how it might be resolved using these two models of health care. I have had allergies for several decades but after getting sawdust in my eye, my eyes often were itchy. After a few months of this I noticed a sty on the inside of my lower eyelid (a white, puss filled pustule). I tried squeezing it. Eventually I managed to lance it with a needle. After repeating this "treatment" four more times over the next six months I decided to consult a doctor.

First, I did an internet search and decided that I had blepharitis and recurring hordeolums. I printed out data about these conditions and scheduled a doctor appointment. The doctor did not want to look at my information. He did not even want to look at my eyes but instead said, "I am referring you to an eye specialist".

The eye specialist agreed with my diagnosis and wrote a prescription for both antibiotic pills and eye drops. He said I needed to practice good eye hygiene for the rest of my life (using hot packs and swabbing my lower eyelids with diluted baby shampoo).

Treating a sty in my eye the Health 2.0 way

The first website I joined that had many Health 2.0 type features was Revolution Health. Upon landing on their home page you might first notice red box (upper right) to help you find a doctor, dentist, or hospital. Upon clicking on it I was given the choices "find doctor or specialist by specialty, conditions, or treatments & procedures. Another option was to see "patient reviews and ratings on doctors, dentists, and hospitals in your area."

My hope was to learn about my problem and fix it without needing a doctor so I found a feature called "symptom-checker" provided by First I looked under adult symptoms (child symptoms are in a different column). I then clicked on "Eye discomfort and redness" I checked the box by "Red, painful lump on eyelid" and clicked submit. The result was "A sty is an eyelid infection. Treatment may be with antibiotics." There was also a link labeled "sty" that took me to an eight page article about styes (hordeolums) advising what to do and not do (apply hot compresses and "Don't try to squeeze the pus from a sty on your own"). Three people had rated this advice, two gave it a zero and one gave it a 50%.

Entering "sty" in their "search" box resulted in 82 hits. On top was Revolution Health's page labeled "Sty" with links to basics, causes, treatments, and when to see a doctor. There were also links to Dr. Jackie Griffiths "A blog of vision: focus on your eyes" and a post titled Styes: When should they be removed?

In second place was a page about "ocular lubricant" for sty relief including use, side effects, interactions, dosage, and important information.

A Health 2.0 community should help you:

  • Figure out what the problem is (differential diagnosis)
  • Decide on and apply a treatment plan
  • Recommends doctors near to you that have experience with treating your problem
  • Provides you with patient satisfaction data (based upon feedback from their previous patients) for various doctors.
  • Provide access to forums (on line discussion) where people who have your problem can offer support or share what they have learned that might help you with your problem.

iMedix is another Health 2.0 service

Another health search engine + patient social network startup is iMedix. iMedix is now in beta mode (early experimental phase). I plan to join up and will write another review soon.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

E. O. Jamison's picture

I like the idea of having easily accessible health information. This will help all of of have greater control of our health.

posted on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 1:49pm

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