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  • The Answer is...

    Healthcare is no game, although sometimes it feels like a big joke. With a million forms to fill out at the door and a five minute appointment with a healthcare provider (not necessarily a doctor), many consumers are left in the dark with no answers. Where is the information? Where is the education? Where is the "health" in healthcare? The answer to these questions eludes even the most astute consumer while the bottom-line watchers and ulitilization reviewers absolutely ruin the system. So, here is a pop quiz for you:

    • 1. Where can patients, family-members, and health professionals connect?
    • 2. Where does a vast amount of information about health exist?
    • 3. Where can someone turn to for support?
    • 4. Where can one get health questions answered?
    • 5. What is going to put the "health" back into healthcare?

    If you answered to all of these questions, you are absolutely correct. Now, maybe I am sounding a bit like a commercial. So to make my case, here is a story that recently occurred to me. While I was visiting my grandmother over the holidays, her neighbors came to visit her. After a brief visit with us, they returned to their home. Fifteen minutes later, a knock was at the door. The same neighbors had returned with an additional member of their family. This older gentleman said that he just wanted five minutes of my time. Of course, I obliged. Being a highly educated man who is a retired college dean, he knows the power of the right information. He told me the difficulties in getting information from his wife's regular doctor. Unless he had a specific problem or question, the doctor was not forthcoming with any helpful information. After I gave him many suggestions about how to improve his wife's quality of life, I finally told him about a virtual community where he could get even more answers and support--Healthcentral.  His eyes lit up. He was so pleased to know that he does not have to remain isolated in the dark. He can connect to others beyond his managed care system or geographical area. HealthCentral is the answer to his questions.

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    Not everyone reacts so positively to internet. When I talk to other professionals about the internet, they cringe. This fear response is really based on a lack of understanding. The notion that the internet is dangerously crossing treatment boundaries is a gross misunderstanding. The goal of HealthCentral is not to replace medical advice or treatment. The goal of HealthCentral is to supplement healthcare with education. Getting basic questions answered, getting support from peers, finding informative articles; that is how everyone can use the internet as a valuable informational tool, not a weapon. With many epidemics around this world like obesity, pain, and diabetes, education will be one key to stopping the epidemics. Historically, education has always been a key to stopping epidemics. Either healthcare providers need to find the time to start educating the masses or they had better embrace internet sites like HealthCentral. Either way, information is a necessary, powerful commodity for putting the "health" back into healthcare.


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    So, next time someone asks you where to find information and support tell him or her that the answer is HealthCentral. No joke. No games. Just a good, valuable answer.


    Thank you for helping us put the "health" back into healthcare. If you would like to tell us about your experience with the HealthCentral community, please drop it in the comments section below. How does your healthcare provider react when told that you use HealthCentral? What is your favorite aspect of this website? Let us know because we want to know.

Published On: January 12, 2009