The other day I was on Facebook and noticed a post from a friend who is using the new Nike app that allows you to map your runs, challenge one another, and share the details via Facebook. As I reviewed the details of her run, I had a sudden urge to run like never before. Could I beat her time? Are there other paths to run in the area? Does she want a running partner? My mind was racing, now it was just a matter of getting my body in motion. Which got me thinking, are there other ways Social Media can shape our health for the better?
Here’s my Top 5:
- Social Gaming: The Nike app is a perfect example of how your friends can help motivate and inspire you to live healthier. I’ve heard of other social gaming apps that drive other positive behaviors such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, remembering groceries and minimizing binge drinking. I predict we’ll be seeing more of these in the future. I’m still waiting on the app that helps me say no to cupcakes.
- Online Communities for Chronic Diseases: These online destinations give people living with chronic conditions a place to connect, support, and share tips for healthier living. Here are two that do a really nice job of building the community: GreaterthanAids.com and Patientslikeme.com.
- Electronic Health Records (EMR, EHR, etc): It’s an undertaking so large, even Google backed out. But luckily there is still hope that this will happen in our lifetime. One lead contender gaining traction is CONNECT. It’s an open source software solution that allows healthcare organizations to exchange information both locally and on a national level.
- Virtual Visits/ TeleMedicine: Think of this as a doctor visits that combine the best of technology with the best of medicine. Hello Health, a paperless practice in Brooklyn, is a leader in this category. Doctors use telemedicine, email, IM, Skype and Twitter to communicate with their patients.
- Blogging: Call me old-fashioned, but I still love reading blogs. For me, they’re the reality TV of the internet. At the heart of any good blog, is someone’s need to share. That’s what makes them great. Whether it’s your vegan lifestyle, a weight-loss success, or a personal struggle with RA, nothing beats the naked truth of blog post to leave you feeling inspired to live a healthier tomorrow.