Social Capital Value Add in Health Care: Mom’s Losing Battle with Cancer

The principals of Social Capital Value Add have wide application and I think that the health care sector, due to a combination of necessity and opportunity, is going to experience some remarkable changes.

As many close to me know, I dedicated as much time as possible last year to support my Mother (and my Dad) through her losing battle with lung cancer.

It was an eye opening experience.

(Side note: It was also the reason why blogging here was scarce & my personal investment in the development of SCVA has been put on the back burner.)

How little we really know.

How, despite noble intentions, the health care system we experienced ultimately leaves the patient and family responsible for managing care or at least they need to be their own champions in the positioning for limited resources and attention to detail.

I am sure that you can imagine how I felt about the inefficiencies of simple information sharing across nursing shifts.  Now consider this against the backdrop of governments banning use of social media in the workplace and more critically, the possibility of having real time, universal authorized access to all patient information across several hospitals, doctors’ offices, diagnostic and treatment centres.

In truth, outcomes for my Mother would not likely have been dramatically different.  We do not have a cure for cancer.  Through a lot of old fashioned community support, everyone pulled together and I feel she received excellent treatment.  For that I am very grateful to everyone involved.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that as the we try to attend to more people with limited resources there are going to be completely new methods or increasingly gaping failures of our health care system.

I would encourage everyone to take time out to watch this video of Canada’s perennial tech talk master, Don Tapscott.  It was my Mom who way back when gave me Don’s first book, Paradigm Shift as a Christmas gift and in a way turned me on to all this “junk”.  It is the first time that he presented the key ideas from his forthcoming book, “MacroWikinomics“.

In particular, I suggest that those of you who are interested in learning more about the change unfolding within the health care sector pick up Don’s talk at the 52:00 mark.  He opens by describing the health care system as the number three killer in the United States.  He then goes on to describe a collaborative health care system. He finishes with health care at 59:50.

It is an eight minute vision of how health care is going to change.  Must change.

Key elements:

1. Patients get to engage in rich communities related to their health. Isolation is a risk factor.

For more insight on this you should check out Dr. Nicholas Christakis’ 2010 TedTalk on how social networks shape our lives or his book Connected.

2. Idea whose time has come: When you are born the system opens up a web page for you that is sort of like a Facebook for healthcare … half healthcare file and half social network.

3. These health care networks will generate massive amounts of new data to aid the advancement of science and treatment.

4. Healthcare workers (doctors & nurses) engage in communities in a new way.  Less parochial.  To enable this you would need to solve the threat of litigation.  Patients become active and accountable for their health care and they will be very willing to do so.  Being involved is part of getting better.

The example that Don gives: http://www.patientslikeme.com.

The example that I have mentioned while teaching classes or leading workshops is Upopolis at Sick Kids Hospital.

Intel Fellow Eric Dishman has another great health care TedTalk that is well worth watching here.

One Response to “Social Capital Value Add in Health Care: Mom’s Losing Battle with Cancer”

  1. SCVA in Government: The Value Proposition for Gov 2.0 | Social Capital Value Add Says:

    […] Social Capital Value Add in Health Care: Mom’s Losing Battle with Cancer […]

Leave a Reply