Back in the days when technology wasn’t around; medical and health records were nothing less than an ocean of papers - difficult to contain and even harder to filter for comparative analysis. Not to mention, they were even difficult to share across a number of channels – doctors to pharmacies, and doctors to other healthcare providers in different healthcare systems for that matter.
However, the amalgamation of the growing healthcare industry with information technology has made it possible to store medical information in the form of health records on a digital database accessible to both patients and practitioners within the healthcare system. With the boom in digital and responsive design, a number of health-related apps too have started to serve as a platform on which people share and communicate health-related information in a niche group.
Is that it? Do electronic health records have to be limited only to a particular healthcare system or groups chat in a health app? Can any random patient’s medical records be visible to any doctor anywhere in the whole world just to get a quick second opinion?We love to share what’s going on in our lives across the social network for all of our friends to see. So if Facebook is the world’s largest social network, can there also is the world’s largest health-based social network where patients, doctors and healthcare providers are able to work collectively and share vital and lifesaving information? Can there be a Health book?
The need for a social health based network
In our busy routines and fast-paced lives, we tend to survive on fast food bathed in grease, meat that has more fat than actual meat, and soda or alcohol to cut through it – and a big tub of chocolate ice-cream if you’re a woman and just broke up with your totally hot boyfriend! ‘Eating healthy’ is something only a select few people do nowadays.
To put this more appropriately - or medically, the grease and cholesterol from the fast food and meat builds more belly fat than a healthier heart, the alcohol sabotages more hepatocytes than saturated fats, and if not the carbs in the burgers, then the ones in the chocolate ice-cream definitely lead to diabetes. Not to mention, there’s a good chance that milk is being completely left out of the equation probably leading to some osteoporosis in the years to come – or countless carcinogens just might takeover if not that either.
That’s a lot of medical conditions for one person – and probably a lot of medication with them too! And that’s the reason why it is even more important for people to have an electronic heath record they can manage on their own and keep a track of their health and medicines in a more organized manner. Health management is what people need and the best way to do that is by actually making it fun and easy.
Update a social health profile
Social health profiles on a singular giant social health platform would enable patients to update aspects of their medical health on a social health based network just as they would update regular activities from their everyday lives on numerous social platforms. Obviously, the system would be a lot more constricted than the free style blogging that people normally do. No relationship status updates, no pictures from last night’s college graduation party and definitely no selfies – just editable and manageable chronological health updates. Patients would also be able to manage diet plans, medication dosage and doctor appointments in the form of notifications appearing in a health-feed or health-line.
Connect and share
Like every little detail of their personal lives shared on Facebook, patients would be able to share their medical conditions and prescriptions across a network of other patients suffering from similar medical conditions. There would be s system of exchanging reviews let’s say a patient was advised to get a natural latex bed so he opted to discuss this thing with other patients on the forum before opting to buy one. This would be a great way for them to not only connect with others on an emotional level, but would also serve as an opportunity for gaining more relevant and accurate insight through other health records as opposed to running a Google search and sifting through gibberish. In addition, doctors would be able to view medical records and also make suggestions and diagnostics based on the information provided. Feedback from experts around the world would be just clicks away.
Where we’d be heading
A number of healthcare systems already use electronic health records to manage medical information. Having a health based social network platform would definitely imply that all electronic health records across the globe would have to be well integrated and interchangeable with one another and designed in such a way that people can easily export relevant information such as recently conducted medical tests at the local lab, and add them to their personal profile for other patients, doctors and healthcare providers to see.This would obviously save a considerable amount of travel time in collecting physical reports and long doctor’s appointments as a patient’s medical history would literally be just a click away.
In the longer run, conducting medical research would also be a lot easier as statistical data collected in the form of analytics could be used to observe the effectiveness of a medicine that is being used to treat a particular medical condition on a specific demographic.
Despite the technological advancements that we’re making in the field of healthcare, human health and disease is still a matter of grave concern. Having a universally shared health pool of information would only make tackling many problems on a global scale a lot easier.