Friday, March 26, 2010

The Internet and Chronic Disease

The good folks at the Pew Research Center have produced another excellent report. This one is on the relationship between access to the Internet and having a chronic disease. No, its not another "The Internet is destroying everything noble" story. Rather, maybe we need even more Internet.
"U.S. adults living with chronic disease are significantly less likely than healthy adults to have access to the internet (62% vs. 81%). The internet access gap creates an online health information gap. However, lack of internet access, not lack of interest in the topic, is the primary reason for the difference. Once online, having a chronic disease increases the probability that someone will take advantage of social media to share what they know and learn from their peers."
Why is this? One reason (suggested by John Robitscher of the the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors) is that chronic diseases are more likely in poor people who also have a lower liklihood of Internet access. However, even if poverty is a confounder, the benfits of access to health information may be least likely to go where they are needed the most.

See the full report from Pew here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Exchanging Data in Other Settings

It's not personal health data, but here is a very interesting take on the power of sharing information by Tim Berners-Lee, the wizard behind the Internet:

The use of Open Source Wiki Mapping to help rescue workers in Haiti is brilliant!  How can we use this approach in Health Care?