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Online health communities improve chronic care quality

Online health communities can be powerful tools for addressing chronic care issues as the number of people afflicted with such ailments rises, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

For the study, researchers define online health communities (OHCs) as Internet-based platforms that unite a group of patients, a group of professionals, or both, using blogs, chats, forums and wikis. In this case, the researchers–from Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands–illustrated using OHCs for ParkinsonNet, a professional network made for participants with Parkinson’s disease in which providers deliver patient-centered care.

ParkinsonNet utilized community managers; in this case, it was a marketing and communications expert. The community manager distributed posters, information pamphlets, and “business cards” to patients and health professionals as part of educating people about the OHC.

Online care which produces healthier patients needs to be factored into how healthcare are to be compensated.

See on www.fiercehealthit.com

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