Friday, June 17, 2011

The future of health online

We’ve had a successful Men’s Health Week drawing men’s attentions to the benefits of using reliable internet sites to find health information. But changes in the way the internet works mean this may become harder to do in the future.

‘Liking’ something is fine for the latest gadget, music or amusing video but can you ‘like’ the latest war footage or, more pertinantly to us at the Men’s Health Forum, information about erection problems? In an Observer article on his new book the Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser says that what is good for consumers is not necessarilly good for citizens.

He’s also concerned about personalisation. Internet search engines are no longer neutral. Since the end of 2009 Google has been tailoring your results to what you looked at before without telling you. It’s like buying a newspaper a couple of times and then being force fed the same paper every day. This is a partial world picture at best. Essentially you give up a whole load of personal data to your favourite search engine and they filter out the stuff they don’t think you want to worry your pretty little head about while bombarding you with adverts for the things that they think you might want to buy. A Faustian pact for the internet age. What will its impact be on health online?


Dr. Mike said...

Definitely keeping an eye on the impact of heath and online services.

Tony Steele said...

Hundreds of thousands of online clinic consultations are carried out each year in the UK by GMC registered doctors working in services registered with Care Quality Commission. These services are popular, and as far as I am aware, there is no evidence they are not safe. Regards