Health 2.0 for CHCs
Health 2.0 is a way of describing the new landscape of engagements between clients, community groups, healthcare organizations, healthcare providers and decision-makers that is emerging due to our increasing use of online technologies and tools.
Wikipedia’s entry for Health 2.0, for example, states: Health 2.0 refers to a number of related concepts including telemedicine, electronic medical records, mHealth, Connected Health, and the use of the internet by “patients” themselves such as through message boards, blogs, and other more advanced systems [including the range of 'social media']. A key concept is that “patients” themselves should have greater insight and control into information generated about them.
The concept of Health 2.0 takes inspiration from the more broadly-used term “Web 2.0”, which has become a common way of recognizing and describing the fact that we have moved on from the world of “Web 1.0” — where the Internet was simply to broadcast static information (e.g. a basic informational website) — toward more dynamic, interactive and participant-driven engagement via the Internet.
Archive: “Health 2.0 for CHCs” digest
What role do social media play?
Social media are critical components of Health 2.0, particularly for organizations such as Community Health Centres that are committed to grassroots, local engagement with clients and community members. These tools do not replace other forms of community engagement (ie, paper-based newsletters, surveys, in-person forums, etc). Rather, they supplement and enhance them, recognizing that if Community Health Centres are not participating in the online communities where clients and community groups are increasingly active, then the vision of real community engagement is unfulfilled.
Social media include knowledge exchange and networking tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, with the key being to use these tools to better access relevant, timely information AND to engage in dialogue.
These tools enable health and community service organizations to better connect with the individuals and communities they serve, as well as community partners, volunteers, decision-makers, news-media and others. They also better equip healthcare providers, researchers and other staff from Community Health Centres to access and share relevant information and evidence to:
- improve organizational practices
- improve the quality of health services and programs
- increase your CHC`s visibility and improve public awareness
- improve accessibility and participation in health programs and events
- increase collaboration with local partners and with other Community Health Centres
It’s critical to recognize that Health 2.0 and their social media components are not new things for your Community Health Centre “to do”. They are about an evolution in the way that your CHC goes about doing the things you already do, placing important new tools and methods. As with other aspects of Health 2.0, the social media journey is a shared journey, and it evolves over time. The key is to get started and to continue nurturing your CHC’s strategy to improve client and community engagement for health!