The emergence of many social health and wellness sites like, Keas, HeiHei, Cafewell, and the rise of the quantified self devices & services like NIke FuelBand, FitBit, Jawbone UP and 23andMe is making health open and social.
Now a cadre of social platforms aims to disrupt the way consumers share information about personal health, physicians, and treatments. Despite a proliferation of apps that let people monitor every movement and morsel they eat, information technology has yet to revolutionize health care the way it has upended, say, shopping. What the upstarts lack in scale (for now), they more than make up for in utility. Imagine joining an online global community of people with the same rare disorder, or finding a doctor on the basis of detailed patient reviews. Facebook may provide its fans with tools they love, but this new wave of social networks offers tools that its users can’t live without — in some cases literally.
However, how ready are the other stakeholders in this ecosystem ready to move in. Businesses, insurance, and other health businesses are moving in fast. Real caution is being taken by the healthcare professionals and institutions. Basically, they are disengaged from the entire process. Also, doctors are practicing medicine in an environment which their training does not account for. Perhaps a new role for the medical community should emerge, one that helps in the wellness and prevention of the conditions in a social manner.
Our healthcare systems have been so used to a centralized base of power that this new form of social health brings in the possibility of shaking up and decentralizing the healthcare systems.
It would be interesting to keep an eye on the emerging health tech scene with many startups being funded by several healthcare specific accelerators like RockHealth, DreamIt, HealthXL, HealthBox, Blueprint Health, etc… The scene is about to be shaken up.