Social networks enable patients to be more involved in their healthcare

My article came out in the Guardian healthcarenetwork today.

Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli explains how medical practitioners can make the most out of online patient-to-patient networks

Social networks enable patients to be more involved in their healthcare

Clinicians must try not to brush away a patient’s own research. Photograph: Marc Romanelli/Getty Images

There is a quiet revolution happening in the way patients and medical professionals communicate, interact and relate to each other and it’s a revolution only made possible by online social networks, new forms of social media and mobile technologies.

At the heart of this shift are online peer-to-peer support networks such as Health Unlocked and Patients Like Me which enable patients to share details of their medical conditions with people who have the same or similar conditions and compare and contrast different diagnoses and treatments – anywhere in the world. Patients can ask for advice, learn from each other, discuss test results, compare how different medications, treatments or combinations of drugs might or might not be working.

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