The popularity of user-generated content has increased on social media sites, and this effect has spilled over to the health industry. An incredible number of individuals are now going on the internet to give their contribution to an extensive range of health care issues that range from extraction of wisdom teeth to the avian flu pandemic or using acupuncture to deal with infertility. This is what is known as Health 2.0 or user-generated health care.
To some degree, that is not new as there have already been online support groups which have existed since the early 1990s. However, the content has evolved, and we now have videos, blogs, and numerous contributors. According to one research firm, more than 20% of Americans have contributed some information on health-related content. The hype that surrounded web 2.0 has raised the awareness of new possibilities thus there has been an increase in new users and new content.
The increase in user-generated content is in part because individuals have significantly more access to tools for writing the content along with the wider web tendencies. Tools like webcams and the digital camera have made it simple for people to take photos and upload them and. However, there are other factors that have led to this increase. People with multiple chronic diseases like depression, diabetes are curious to get some tips from other people that have similar conditions. Nowadays, any field of medical knowledge is too wide for any single doctor to know all of it. Some patients who may not get all of the advice from their physician would rather go online, join a forum with other individuals with similar states for more information.
There are numerous discussions on health- related issues online and it is peculiar as health is a sensitive issue that folks don’t merely discuss with anyone. Individuals aren’t aware of how permanent info is online; as they say, the web never forgets. There is certainly the risk of malicious individuals misusing one’s private data. Some sites try to mitigate this risk by requiring the use of pseudonyms. Another concern with this user-generated content is misinformation. Too much health data can confuse some individuals. User-created content is useful, and it’s helped people, but one has to utilize the info in addition to consulting their doctor.
Most of the user-created content is correct because if one shares information that is erroneous, it may be corrected by other individuals. Some people have employed user-created content as their greatest source of hope. If a person is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, they can find support from other people across the world who can provide accurate information about the treatment and recommend doctors.
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