What Is The Future Of Collaborative Medicine?
- Volume 23 - Issue 10 - October 2010
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Health 2.0 platforms for all. Anyone can now create his or her own Web site, blog, vlog or e-forum. Popular build-your-own platforms are Ning (http://www.ning.com/), Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/), WordPress (http://wordpress.org/), TypePad (http://www.typepad.com/), Trifecta (http://www.trifectaky.com/index.php), Tripod (http://www.tripod.lycos.com/) and Squarespace (http://www.squarespace.com/). These are virtually free and require minimal programming skills.
Addressing The Criticisms And Vulnerabilities Of Health 2.0
Of course, Health 2.0 has more than a few drawbacks.
Beware of physician, hospital and accreditation rating services. These sites offer anonymous ratings and credential information on medical providers. Patients are able to find financial, divorce, criminal, civil or malpractice information in some cases. Entire medical institutions may also be negatively implicated. Congress even temporarily revoked the Joint Commission’s statutory authority to accredit healthcare facilities in 2008 when faced with Health 2.0 competition from upstart DNV Healthcare Inc., a division of the Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas.
Therefore, some health entities have entire teams that monitor the social media spectrum for their mentions, using monitoring services like Meltwater, Radian6, Overtone, Vocus, Moreover and Google for 24/7 alerts.
However, because anyone can add good or bad feedback experiences, some entities are seeking to have their patients sign a contract designed to “respect privacy on the Internet” by agreeing not to post personal experiences or participate in online rating services. The ethical and legal ramifications of e-censorship are still emerging.
In retaliation, some doctors are starting blogs of their own, such as www.MedRants.com and www.GruntDoc.com. Blogging also presents new risks of breaching patient privacy. As blogs proliferate, some practices and hospital privacy officers are considering policies that provide standards for doctors who are engaged in this activity.
In addition, there are Internet security concerns. The “Kneber botnet” virus of January 2010 gathered log-in credentials from infected computers and reported back to hackers. These hackers infiltrated Yahoo, Hotmail and Facebook accounts, as well as pharmaceutical giant Merck and Cardinal Health Inc.
Finally, beware of HIPAA privacy concerns. Office policy should require patients to give their consent for e-mail through a secure portal with a unique ID and password. Staff should not communicate via regular e-mail to patients. Portals may be integrated with electronic medical records (EMR). As noted on our blog and in our book Risk Management and Insurance Planning for Physicians and Advisors, always consider the potential impact of unintended EMR data breaches on professional liability.5
Is Resistance To Health 2.0 ‘A Generational Thing’?
Eugene Schmuckler, PhD, of Medical Business Advisors, believes most Health 2.0 angst may be more generational than than anything else. Why?