Social Media As Personal Health Record

People share a lot about themselves on Facebook and other social media — so much so that social media can even be a lifesaver. See this account of a recent case where doctors were able to save the life of a comatose woman with whom they couldn’t communicate — because she had recorded her health problems on her Facebook page: http://aol.it/gQH9WP.

We’ve heard a lot about teens and others who “overshare” on Facebook. But this woman’s postings probably saved her life.

Reporting this case, Newt Gingrich and a neurosurgeon who authored the article said: “A personalized system that puts the individual at the center and helps us make decisions based on the needs of the individual will become even more accessible — and more important — as the digital world expands in ways that can save lives and save money.”

We can all hope that with individuals “at the center,” though, there’s still plenty of room for knowledgeable clinicians to bring their expertise and technology to bear on individuals’ health problems.

Informed patients clearly will play a much greater role in the healthcare of the future. Regarding the social media part of that equation, the always interesting HISTalk blog on healthcare information technology (http://histalk2.com) comments:

“Since Facebook is taking over the world, maybe it makes sense to create a PHR (personal health record) add-on for it since Microsoft and Google aren’t getting anywhere with theirs. … After all, a new survey shows that 72% of adults in England check Facebook in bed right before they go to sleep.”

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