Working Together to Improve Online Health Info

Dangerous cantaloupes?

A quick look at the health headlines on Google News this afternoon turned up the following headlines: “Diabetes shame plus denial a risky combo”; “As listeria death toll hits 29, question becomes: When will it end?”; and “Ridding body of old ‘zombie’ cells slows aging process, study shows.” Living in a bubble can start to sound pretty good.

According to a Pew Internet report published in May, “The Social Life of Health Information, 2011,” 59 percent of all adults have looked online for information about any of 15 topics related to a disease or a treatment. And a quarter of adults have read someone else’s POV on a health issue.

We spoke with Bob Pearson, chief technology and media officer at WCG about the use of social media in healthcare PR. This week, WCG announced a partnership with Sharecare a healthcare Q&A platform.

“People learning about disease is a primary driver to behavior online,” he told us. “What companies often do is go through all this trouble to create content and then put it on a website that people never see.”

Echoing the sentiments of Edelman’s global health president Nancy Turett, Pearson also talked about the need for everyone to get involved to spread sound health information.

“Any one member of the healthcare system can’t do this alone,” he said. “We have to work together as an ecosystem.”