The Promise of User-Generated Health

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the concept of user-generated health.  Some also call this Interactive Health and some just call it Health 2.0.  I can’t keep up with all the labels, but what I am thinking of is when we, as users of the healthcare system, start adding as much value to the system as we receive.  We will do this by tracking personal health data, sharing our data with phsyicans and peers, connecting with others like us to share advice and experiences and by generally being more engaged with our health and bodies.  I think of this like a bank account.  Even if we are not withdrawing value from the system today (if we are generally healthy), we will eventually be net withdrawers, so we should all start adding value to our accounts today.

Below are two talks I gave this year on this topic.  I think there are a few themes that are consistent through both:

  1. The biggest problem in healthcare today is not medical; it is behavioral.  Most of us have become incredibly detached from our bodies and health and being detached leads to poor health.
  2. Increasing engagement should be the key goal of any modern day health company.
  3. Patients have a tremendous amount of value and information to add to the healthcare equation that has been missing up to this point.
  4. All of us will start tracking more and more data about our bodies and health, whether we know it or not (think iPhone background monitoring).
  5. These data we collect will transform the relationship we have with our bodies.  Data will also change how we interact with the healthcare system and fundamentally change the relationship we have with our physicians.
  6. Data lead to personalization and relevance.  Sites based on a foundation of personal health data will be able to provide superior services and experiences to users.

TEDx Silicon Valley talk entitled “Data as the next blockbuster drug” from May 14, 2011 (length: 7:21)

Slides from a talk to Stanford CS247 Human Computer Interaction: Interaction Design Studio entitled “User Generated Health” on 2/11/11

9 Responses to “The Promise of User-Generated Health”

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