The slow integration of community into health care

For a long time now patients have been meeting in online (and offline) communities, sharing experience, advice and more recently data and measurements. And the health care system–which knows that communities improve health–has done virtually nothing–other than some doctors having doctors answer questions on MedHelp. That is just starting to change. Last year Geisinger did a small trial with dLife that showed improvement in diabetics outcomes. More recently Aetna inked partnerships with MindBloom and OneRecovery, two communities focused on spirituality and addiction, and today Diabetic Connect (part of Alliance Health) announced a deeper integration with the Joslin Diabetes Center. It’s been a while, but the heart of Health 2.0 (communities) are starting to move towards the mainstream.

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  1. Based on reasonable estimates from health research organizations, each year, millions of Americans lose their health care when they lose their jobs. Many of them regain coverage when they take another job. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2007, 235.4 million Americans did have health insurance. This figure leaves only about 15 percent of U.S. residents without healthcare. Not many have been able to set aside money in a dedicated medical savings account to cover healthcare expenses. Those who are left to cover the costs on their own frequently turn to community health services and other health facilities to help fill the gap.