Contributing to the Healthcare Reform Conversation

July 21, 2010
Jill taylor

Taylor reviews several of many ways to become part of the conversation that will ultimately change healthcare.

Just recently, I discovered Cure Together, an interesting online tool that pools data regarding health conditions and allows people who have an interest in those conditions to do research and make contributions. Although it’s only been around for a couple of years, the site offers (and collects) information on a large number of health issues and diseases.

Cure Together ultimately represents a way for patients to contribute to the healthcare conversation beyond what they discuss with their personal physicians. It doesn’t replace the doctor, and it does not offer diagnoses, but it offers an innovative way to research and share experiences with an online community while creating a valuable resource to researchers.

Ideas like this are popping up with lightening speed. And there’s not much doubt that they will not only create challenges for the traditional medical model, but that they will ultimately change it.

The Community Health Data Initiative is spurring some interesting conversations, as is evidenced on The Quantified Self (which I should note involves Alexandra Carmichael, a co-founder of Cure Together). Reading posts like this really forces me outside of the traditional medical office box—it is a taste of changes to come in the healthcare system as a whole, as innovators attempt to frame the questions and challenges head on.

The internet is replete with calls for innovation in healthcare right now, and the train has left the station. If you’ve got an opinion, an idea, experience or skills to contribute, don’t miss out. The Quantified Self article provides a short list of thought leaders who are working to bring the healthcare data circus under control, but any prospective solution will only be as good as the information innovators have to work with.

The Let’s Move campaign is currently wrapping up its Apps for Healthy Kids challenge, but the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge is in full swing. Teams need designers, developers, and healthcare experts to turn out viable solutions for the Health 2.0 Conference this October.

There’s much more opportunity to get involved than these few samples. Start with Google, and follow your nose—and be a part of the conversation that will ultimately change healthcare in this country for generations to come.