Saturday, September 08, 2012

Realshare for young people with cancer

Lucien Engelen @lucienengelen reports on the creation of realshare, a  new social network for young people with cancer, aged 16-25, who live in the South West part of the UK.  A collaborative program with SouthWest NHS and the Youth Cancer Trust, the site offers the following introduction: 

You may not get to meet many other young people in your situation where you are, so realshare gives you a chance to link up with others all over the South West from Bath to Barnstable, Torquay to Truro. realshare also provides information about treatments and support, events in the area, and even includes a Game Zone if you just want to chill out.
Unlike other social networks realshare is closed to members only. You might find it easier to talk about things with other people in a similar situation to you. The forums are moderated by local outreach nurses who treat young people with cancer.

Lucien is Director Radboud REshape & Innovation Center at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. His favorite topic is the power of social media in helping patients learn, navigate, and collaborate in the context of a health care environment with rising demand, shortages of skilled staff and restrictive budgets.  Check out this article in the Guardian:

We tend not to use the biggest resource in healthcare – the patients themselves. So I'm trying to figure out possible uses for digital technologies like Facebook but also real-life social networks to improve healthcare provision. 

Over the past decades we have tended to take healthcare away from the people themselves. This started with bringing people into hospitals rather than caring for them in their homes. Healthcare has become centralised in institutions, rather than in networks as it was in the old days. But new technology is enabling us to reverse that, while keeping the same high standards. 

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