Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chatroulette To Empower Patients? Not So Much.

Call us geeks, but we take Medgadget by RSS feed and consider its founders, the brothers Ostrovsky, brilliant healthcare web entrepreneurs. So what's with HealCam? It's like a Chatroulette full of sick people. You remember Chatroulette. It was the hot Internet craze last summer before it flashed like a firework then fizzled. Now the Russian kid who started it, and turned down generous buyout offers, makes all his money off the site's worst offenders: nude dudes. Not exactly an inspiring model for a site where people might go to discuss medical problems.

Still, one can see the utility of live video chat plugged into thriving online patient communities like PatientsLikeMe. Once members get acquainted in chat rooms, they can arrange to speak more freely face-to-face. Got it. And if brisk PR can save anything, it'll save HealCam. But even since the big ABC News story broke, 2 February, there's not a soul there wanting to chat about our (real but not serious) lung condition. You'll find a similar critique on the Target Health Global blog. Now here are we both, spreading the word, because what HealCam is trying to do is so important.

O2.0 is the news blog of HyperbaricLink, the independent web guide to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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