As reported in the Pugent Sound Business Journal, in a recent study by the MWW Group .... almost 80 % of people who use the internet to “connect with others” trust peer-created information found on blogs, podcasts and social networks...further, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported nearly 113 million Americans were using the internet to gather health-related information ... Today, health care-centric social media encompass tools for people to exchange information, including message boards, chat rooms and networking sites ...
There are four types of social networks focused on health care:
— Social networks by individuals have had the easiest time maintaining a nonbiased platform because they are fully “user-created.” Although the information may not always be accurate, social networks like TuDiabetes.com and PlanetCancer.org have gained popularity.
— Nonprofits have seen success. Individuals have sometimes used their social networks to form not-for-profit entities (such as PlanetCancer.org). Other not-for-profit organizations have used their constituents to build an online version of their offline social network, exemplified by I’m Too Young For This, an organization for young cancer survivors.
— Independent corporations’ social networks usually serve as platforms for smaller disease-focused categories. Websites like Dailystrength.org and PatientsLikeMe.com have channels for dozens of diseases all on one site. MedTech-IQ member, Berci Mertalan and his "Webicina" Web 2.0 disease management platforms probably fall into this category.
— Corporate media and health care entities’ involvement in social networks is varied. One of the larger examples is Yahoo’s Health & Wellness groups site. These resources are usually free, relying on advertising to support costs with a strict editorial policy not allowing advertisers to influence content.
In 2007, Pfizer announced a partnership with Sermo, a private social network for licensed physicians. Pfizer was looking for an efficient way to interact with doctors. According to Sermo, doctors were looking for ways to interact with pharmaceutical companies that didn’t take up work hours. Under the partnership, Pfizer physicians participate on the network, asking questions and providing new information. It is also reported that if Pfizer offers comments that are too biased, rebuttals will be given.
Read on at: http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2009/05/18/focus10.html?b=1242619200^1829137&ana=e_vert