Thursday, October 11, 2012

E-Patients and Mental Health, Part Two

(second in a two part series posted for Mental Health Awareness Day)
What is the "E-Patient" movement and how might it converge today with the mental health community? That is the question we asked in the opener to this series. This second installment is a snapshot of recent topics in the E-Patient communty, through the eyes of yours truly, a year-long member of The Society for Participatory Medicine (aka @s4pm on Twitter).

What is an 'E-Patient'?
Despite the "E" in the term, being an E-Patient (as @s4pm uses that term) is not only about using online information for offline health.  As shown in the button above, the "E" also stands for equipped, enabled, engaged, and empowered. To this foursome, many observers add "electronic" since so many of us do connect via web sites and social media. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Might 'Patient Engagement' Mean in Mental Health?

(first of a 2-part series posted for Mental Health Awareness Day, Oct. 2012)
The question in the title seems very apt to ask on this "World Mental Health Day."

Online communities for consumers and providers of mental health services have been around for quite awhile. But here in this "e-patient" decade, driven by greater access to information -- and greater access to each other -- it feels apt to bring mental health into the conversation about patient empowerment and patient engagement. 

What might being an 'E-Patient' mean when it comes to mental well-being?

Monday, October 1, 2012

You Know What They Say About An Apple a Day

On the value of memes in health and medicine
Have you been struck as often as I have at the number of times some gee-whiz science headline confirms common sense?

It fascinates me how often we refuse to believe the fruits of our own experience until some study confirms it. I will spare you a long list of links,  but it's happened so often I have a standing personal hashtag attached to that topic in my archives.

I still remember a study years ago about the value of chicken soup for colds. It seemed so silly at the time. Heck, if soup makes you feel better, drink it. What's wrong with a little placebo effect among family and friends? I don't need statistics to feel OK about correlating that soup with a less stuffy head.

That said, with today's perspective on mind and brain I do have to grant that Aunt Ida may have been more right than she knew when she cooked up that soup, and I'm not talking about killing microbes with noodles.

All those years ago, it is unlikely Aunt Ida or those study designers considered the curative value of the well-turned meme.