The Health 2.0 Fantasy


I’m wondering is Health 2.0 is more fantasy than revolution.

What got me thinking is this post by Susannah Fox where she comes to the despondent realization that health 2.0 may not be affecting outcomes. There’s a nice follow-up here at Walking the Path.

It raises the question: What do we think Health 2.0 is really going to accomplish? What should we really expect to come of it?

I don’t have the answer.

Health 2.0 is as much a process as it is a movement. It can’t be stopped and its outcome is not the choice of any individual. From a public health perspective the impact of collaboration and communication will be borne out over generations.

We need to be careful about overstating 2.0’s ability to change health on an individual level. Social networks provide platforms for interaction. This collaboration creates opportunity but doesn’t necessarily create change. Behavioral change at its most basic level is an individual issue. Health is a personal process.

And of course there’s the hive. But the hive is not about individuals. It’s all about the collective. Health change is individual. Health behavior is intimate, personal, and human. The hive is not human. And the hivemind has no regard for the needs of the individual.

You can inform me and we can share and contribute. But ultimately we answer to no one but ourselves.

It’s fun to think about the promise that Health 2.0 has for all of us as individuals. But I can’t help but think that some of it is fantasy.