In one of the first articles of this type I've seen published in a mainstream medical journal, in this case the Archives of Dermatology, there's some evidence that being in an online community helps patients. This study is from our friends at the Partners Center for Connected Health which is run by Joe Kvedar, himself a dermatologist. (No I haven't spoken to Joe about it and I don't know if his specialty is why they picked on psoriasis—other than it’s a very nasty condition).
Anyway, the key take-away from an attitudinal study of over 200 patients in five online communities is that:
Almost half (49.5 percent) of participants perceived improvements in their quality of life and 41 percent perceived improvements in psoriasis severity since joining an online support community.
And all this from a treatment with no costs and no side effects. Even Syd Wolfe — new
head of committee member of drug safety at the FDA much to Forbes dismay— (Editor's note: That'll teach us to read Forbes! Goldstein got it right. and yes it is that Sydney Wolfe) would approve!
I expect that as Health 2.0 tactics go mainstream we’ll hear a lot more about these types of cases.