There are several important web communities featured in the article and OrganizedWisdom.com is listed in the following break out box as one of the new health sites adopting social-networking, custom search and new interactive technology.
Landro's article is a major trend piece about what's going on with online health care, and the validation and coverage from such an important news source is a great way for our company to enter 2007.
Since you may not have access to the WSJ, here are a few highlights:
The social-networking revolution is coming to health care, at the same time that new Internet technologies and software programs are making it easier than ever for consumers to find timely, personalized health information online. Patients who once connected mainly through email discussion groups and chat rooms are building more sophisticated virtual communities that enable them to share information about treatment and coping and build a personal network of friends. At the same time, traditional Web sites that once offered cumbersome pages of static data are developing blogs, podcasts, and customized search engines to deliver the most relevant and timely information on health topics.
The same technologies are making it possible for advocacy groups, government agencies and health-care providers to update consumers on relevant health news and deliver personalized health-awareness messages, reminders and alerts to email accounts, wireless devices and mobile phones. Online collaborations known as wikis, which let different users jointly work on Web-based information such as photo albums and contact lists, are developing to help communities plan for public-health emergencies, such as fluwikie.com, a flu-pandemic planning site. Mainstream advocacy groups and government agencies are offering their own specialized health-information "feeds" to consumers, and even experimenting with three-dimensional online computer worlds that use surrogates known as avatars to let visitors interact.
While some sites don't offer all the bells and whistles of full-blown social networking sites, they are taking advantage of the phenomenon to reach out to special audiences. The Wellness Community, a nonprofit group that provides free support and education to cancer patients and families, launched a Web site, grouploop.org earlier this year to help teens with cancer connect in a private, safe environment. The group says it has reached more than 15% of the approximately 50,000 teen cancer survivors in the U.S., and is also connecting teens in nine other countries. In addition to weekly scheduled support groups moderated by a professional, teens can log in at any time of day to post or read messages in a password-protected site. A comprehensive search engine allows users to search for other teens with cancer on such criteria as age, location, or diagnosis.
We have big plans and many exciting new developments for OrganizedWisdom.com in 2007. Thank you all for your support helping us launch the company this year. Your contributions, feedback, and suggestions have been invaluable. Please keep checking in and sharing your personal health wisdom to help others!