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Is There A Geo-Sharing Future for Health?
By: Matt Petrowski
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In the spirit of dialogue, I’d like to ask for your thoughts about the following question: “Do you believe an app that combines geo-location and health is worth pursuing?”
 
The time may be right to develop a geo-health app that marries the utility of digital communication with the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Although not universally relevant for all conditions, those within a community like breast cancer could benefit from an app that connects patients and survivors alike.
 
Would People Use It?
An entirely new generation of wired patients is entering the healthcare space, the majority of whom use mobile phones to simplify and manage their lives. Not only are they more wired, they’re also more open. If Facebook statuses have taught us anything, it’s that younger generations aren’t necessarily afraid of sharing very personal information.
 
Consider the following:  
 
 
Issues
Of course, one of the biggest issues with any geo-sharing program is privacy. I can only imagine how sensitive it would be if health were involved. An app developed by/with the National Cancer Institute and distributed solely to its regional Cancer Centers could be a first step. Users would be registered and verified at their respective Cancer Centers and coverage would only be provided on a regional basis.
 
Other issues include:
  • Identity verification
  • How much information is shared with hospital and/or others
  • Age limits
  • Incorporation of different points, check-ins, or badges?
 
Closing the Digital Divide
Digital communication has given us greater control over how close or far away we are from each other. I don’t believe a text message that reads, “I’m here for you” will ever replace hearing the same phrase in person. There are notable web sites, like Breastcancer.org, that incorporate vital information with robust community support; all the while emphasizing care for the whole patient. A geo-health app could go one step further by providing a regional network of “patients like me” and, perhaps, allowing people to physically see how they are not alone.
 
So, what do you think about geo-sharing as it relates to health? Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to a geo-health app, feel free to leave your thoughts below!


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About the Author

Matt Petrowski thanks you for reading and welcomes your feedback.

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