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July 06, 2010

What Does "Health 2.0" Mean?


The terms "Health 2.0" and "Medicine 2.0" get thrown around quite a bit in e-health circles, but is there any consensus about what they actually mean? The short answer appears to be: no. At least not according to a literature review recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

To search for unique definitions of Health 2.0 or Medicine 2.0, the authors examined electronic databases such as PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL, and also searched "gray literature" on the Internet, using Google (News - Alert), Bing, and Yahoo.  They found 1937 articles, and common to many definitions were the following themes: Web 2.0/technology; patients; professionals; social networking; health information/content; collaboration and change of health care.
However, they also discovered that those who wrote definitions often approached the terms from their own perspective, and the definitions were thus influenced by different stakeholders' agendas. 

Generally, the stakeholders were seen as patients/consumers, or alternatively, professionals/caregivers. There was far less inclusion of payers of health care, scientists, students, entrepreneurs, or the government. Most definitions focused on the collaborative relationship between patients and professionals, with "patients transforming their role in health care using social networks and access to health information." In addition, a number of Health 2.0 or Medicine 2.0 referenced health care technology developments. Via Journal of Medical Internet Research

Ms. Graham is a writer and editor with a broad publishing background and a current focus on health and wellness. To read more of her articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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