Health 2.0 is the transition to personal, participatory health care. Everyone is invited to see what is happening in their own care and in the health care system in general, to add their ideas, and to make it better every day.
When I went to medical school, a person’s ability to influence the health care system was linearly correlated with the length of their lab coat. Actually, in my medical school, medical students and attending physicians all wore the same length of lab coats, because I trained on the West Coast. I was exposed to the labcoat length protocol when I was a medical student and a new group of residents began training at our hospital. One of the residents was obviously from an East Coast medical school because she asked me permission to do something for a patient, and it took us both a few minutes to realize that she thought I was the “in charge” doctor because I wasn’t wearing a short lab coat. Neither of us wanted to relate in this way, and we transformed the relationship right there, in a beneficial way for our patients.
Flash forward to 2004, when my organization implemented an enterprise wide electronic medical record system for doctors, nurses, and staff. All of a sudden, we were on a common platform, and every member of the team had a contribution to make in each other’s learning of the new system. Once, when I was ordering an injectable medication, a nurse colleague came over to me and said, “here, let me show you how to do that, Ted.” Now, this new technology was creating an obvious platform for colleagues to teach each other, regardless of role. It was and is great.
In 2008, in organizations like ours where patients are regularly participating in the creation of their health record via secure e-mail and online health profiles, and participating in the creation of ideas and their health care stories inside and outside of our health care system, health care improvement is now more democratic than ever. When we combine that with management systems like LEAN (Toyota Management System) that support respect for our customers and our colleagues and use tools like visual systems and daily improvement methods, it is possible to see what the difference between Health 1.0 and Health 2.0 is. The technology has definitely stimulated this change by making it easier to participate, but the lasting intervention will be the participation of patients, their families, and every stakeholder (health care providers, businesses, philanthropies, non-profit associations, etc) in the improvement of our care system.
In 2006, The Economist referred to the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 as the transition from mass media to personal, participatory media. I think the same is true for Health 1.0 to Health 2.0.
I have spoken about the idea that physicians in my generation (Generation X) are a group that trained during an explosion of medical information. We are a group that is challenging the mental model of “omniscient physician” – we don’t want to hold all the answers for our patients because we’ll fail if we do. We want to learn something new from every patient, every colleague, and every industry, every day, so we can be good educators, too. Now we can, and we are.