DEMO PANEL & Discussion: Social Media for Patients

Ben Heywood, CEO, Patients Like MeDoug Hirsch, CEO, Daily StrengthSteve Krein, CEO, OrganizedWisdomKaren Herzog, Founder, Sophia’s GardenJohn de Souza, CEO, MedHelp InternationalBrian Loew, CEO, InspireModerator: Amy Tenderich, Blogger/Journalist DiabetesMine

Sophia’s Garden is a healing community for parents and ailing children, leveraging virtual spaces adorned wtih familiar health management tools.

Daily Strength – A social network of 600 communities serving 100,000 registered users, offering connection with other individuals who also face the same experiences you’re dealing with.

Inspire. Brought into the meeting at the last minute as a result of winning the People’s Choice Award, Inspire is another very well designed site for patients to collaborate.

Patients Like Me.  Simple tools for patients to track relevant treatments, status and outcomes, as well as their experiences, all in communities.

Organized Wisdom uses human reviewers to curate spam-free, clutter-free search results.

MedHelp began in 1994, and has developed a robust catalog of patient and expert generated content on specific conditions, including question-answer exchanges between patients and doctors.

The interesting characteristic of these sites is that technology is used to facilitate a better experience for patients. The tools are aimed at people who may or may not be experienced in using tools.

Brian Loew made a particularly astute statement in talking about how these sites are different than standard social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace: "Health care is different. You don’t typically find people willing to talk about their pancreatic cancer in the middle of Madison Square Gardens."

While patients are already aware of these sites, the mainstream of doctors are just now becoming conscious of their existance. As they do, these sites will become richer resources and available to more and more patients.

Audience Questions:

What do you see as the biggest hurdle for up-and-comeing patient social media sites?Competition from new sites was highest (46%), followed by Health groups/offerings on Google, Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace (32%).

What do you think patinets want most out of thei experience on the web?Quick and easy medical information search (33%), followed by Hear testimony from other experiencing the same illness/condition (31%).

Let’s imagine you were an "ePatient." which of the six sites we’ve seen today would be most appealing to you?Patients LIke Me was first at 39%.

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