The popularity of user-generated content has increased on social media sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health industry. Millions of people are now going online to give their contribution to a wide range of health care topics ranging from extraction of wisdom teeth to the avian-flu pandemic or using acupuncture to deal with infertility. This is what is called Health 2.0 user-generated health care.
To some degree, that is not new as there were already online support groups which have existed since the early 1990s. However, the content has evolved, and we now have videos, blogs, and numerous contributors. According to one research company more than 20% of Americans have contributed some information on health-related content. The hype that surrounded net 2.0 has raised the awareness of new possibilities consequently there continues to be an increase in content that is new and new users.
The increase in user-generated content is in part due to the wider internet trends and the fact that people have more access to the tools for coming up with content. Tools like the digital camera and webcams have made it easy for people to take photos and upload. However, you will find other factors which have led to the increase. People with numerous chronic diseases like depression, diabetes are interested in getting some good hints from other people that have conditions that are similar. Today, any area of medical knowledge is too extensive for just about any single physician to know all of it. Some patients who may not get all the information from their doctor prefer to go online, joining a forum with other people with similar conditions for more information.
There are numerous discussions on health- related issues online and it is peculiar as health is a sensitive issue that folks don’t merely discuss with anyone. Individuals aren’t aware of how permanent info is online; as they say, the web never forgets. There is certainly the risk of malicious individuals misusing one’s private data. Some sites try and reduce this threat by demanding the use of pseudonyms. Another problem with this user-created content is misinformation. A lot of health details can confuse some folks. User-created content is useful, and it’s helped people, but one has to utilize the info in addition to consulting their doctor.
Most of the user-generated content is accurate because if one person shares erroneous information, other people may correct it. Some people have utilized user-created content as their best source of hope. If a person is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer; they could get support from others on the other side of the world who can provide accurate information regarding the treatment and give recommendations on doctors.
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