There is no shortage of websites aiming to help patients connect to share experiences and information about their medical conditions. But with more than half of U.S. adults turning to the Internet for health information, there is probably still room for a few more online health communities.
A newcomer to the space is HealCam, a patient chat service recently launched by medical technology blog Medgadget.
HealCam allows individuals to video chat with others about a range of general health topics including diabetes, depression, cancer and heart disease. Users are not required to register to participate. Details on Medgadget explain how to use HealCam:
The concept is rather simple. If you would like to talk to others with the same condition as yours, go to the site, press start and choose a health category, say diabetes, and you will be connected to a random person with diabetes. When your conversation is over, you press next and you are automatically connected to another person with diabetes. You can talk to as many people as you wish.
Considering recent conversations about the Internet reshaping the doctor-patient relationship, I'm interested to see whether peer-to-peer services such as HealCam will also give patients greater access to health information or lead to misinformation (a noted problem with some social networking sites). Certainly, Medgadget is a good source of news and information and I am eager to see if HealCam's users meet that bar.
Previously: Questioning the credibility of online patient stories