“Doctor Internet” & Health Privacy

Blogger Robert Scoble recently shared a personal health problem he’s dealing with on his Friend Feed page. His revelation prompted an interesting debate about the benefits and downsides of public problem solving. And while by being open about his condition led to suggestions on how to better handle his condition, he also wonders about the […]

Blogger Robert Scoble recently shared a personal health problem he’s dealing with on his Friend Feed page. His revelation prompted an interesting debate about the benefits and downsides of public problem solving. And while by being open about his condition led to suggestions on how to better handle his condition, he also wonders about the future, and value of medical privacy in our increasingly open world. Looking up information on “Doctor Internet” and commiserating with others is all well and good – but if a public trail exists about your condition, could it lead to being denied future health insurance or jobs? While a concern over negative consequences exists, the consensus of his Friend Feed conversation is that the lack of privacy is eclipsed by the potential benefits of sourcing the wisdom of the crowd.

Some points from the discussion:

John: our ideas of privacy have totally changed. 20 years ago I would NEVER have told my community my weird diseases. Today? There’s HUGE benefits to doing so. And, if you are on a medical treatment plan you should put your medications into an online database which can warn you about problems before your doctor will even know about problems. – Robert Scoble

1. By disclosing your weird diseases other people help you out and get you more information than your own doctor can. – Robert Scoble
2. By disclosing your weird diseases, other people give you ideas you would never have thought of. (This happened to me tonight). – Robert Scoble
3. By disclosing your weird diseases you feel better just by telling other people what’s going on in your life. – Robert Scoble
You know about these guys, right? http://www.patientslikeme.com/ – Michelle Riggen-Ransom
4. By disclosing your weird diseases other people can make sure you don’t “cheat” on your treatment plan. – Robert Scoble

Robert Fraser: I disagree. My wife recently shared her funny rash (her doctor thought she had an infection and was trying to treat it with anti biotics. One of her Facebook friends said “looks like you have Shingles.” Turns out the doctor was wrong and the Facebook friend was right. – Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble Friend Feed: “Health privacy is dead. Here’s why:”

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