Friday, 16 November 2012

Welcome to Health 2.0

From my very first year in college I've had this sensation that there was something very wrong with the healthcare sector. I couldn't accept the idea of having doctors (who knew it all) on one side and patients (who accepted it all) on the other. For a while, I was convinced that the problem was the lack of equality among the different healthcare professions. I thought that, in an ideal world, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, care assistants, etc. should be all equally respected for their knowledge and experience and would contribute equally to making healthcare decisions for a patient. But at that time I didn't realise I was missing the very central point of the healthcare industry: the patient.

Don’t get me wrong, I always recognised the importance of my patients, after all they are the reason why I decided to become a physiotherapist. I always liked to think of myself as a very “democratic” professional. I always made sure my patients understood the reason behind my treatment strategies and always asked their opinions when setting treatment goals. But the relationship itself was still very much based on the same hierarchical structure, where I, “the physiotherapist”, made decisions for them, “the patients”.

A couple of days ago, my fellow AgeingAficionado, Deb Gale, suggested that I watch a TED Talk from Barbara Praisack. In the video Barbara talks about Health 2.0, a new era for healthcare. She explains that the Health 2.0 era is dominated by one word: collaboration. All over the world, Internet tools such as forums, websites, blogs and social networks are allowing patients, families, carers and healthcare professionals to share their knowledge and expertise in order to achieve a common goal: better patient outcomes. I have read a lot about this for the past couple of years, but it wasn't until now that I realised that I wasn't fully embracing this new approach to healthcare. I decided it was time to do something about it.

Starting this blog is my first step towards embracing Health 2.0. I want to start by sharing what I’ve learned in my years working with older people: some practical tips, some thoughts and some ideas about how to make things better. And I know I’m not alone in this pursuit. There are a bunch of people out there who are also willing to share their experiences and expertise. They are people of all ages, health or social care professionals, students, carers, family members or simply Ageing Aficionados like me. If you are one of them, this blog is for you.

Above all, this blog is meant to be a space for discussion and collaboration. Welcome to Health 2.0.

Brenda Reginatto

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