Although the debut of www.healthcare.gov did not go so well, the recent launch of another site (albeit one far less complex) proved very successful. I have to admit: I was impressed by the launch of www.msnbc.com.
This is definitely a Web 2.0 site, encouraging a relationship with people, and promoting conversations and participation. It even allows you to create your own affinity group, start new discussion threads, and share links, all with the usual features of allowing comments, additional sharing, liking, and lots of other bells and whistles.
Healthcare websites should take a cue from MSNBC of what a vibrant and exciting community website needs to look like. Here are a few salient reasons why states (and even federal) organizations should create Web 2.0 healthcare websites:
Kudos to MSNBC for launching a website that comes close to what I have long believed we need for healthcare. I will be waiting for some healthcare websites to take the cue.
- There are many natural affinity groups that need to share information with each other as well as members of the public: healthcare providers, doctors, nurses, health aides, insurers, brokers (now called producers), navigators, assisters (people who help the public in signing up for healthcare coverage), and case workers (members of local health departments or state departments of human resources).
- Most current state websites do not change content enough to encourage people to visit them regularly. You cannot create brand recognition or an affinity to a website without being a vibrant and active site.
- It is far better to have several thousand people contribute to your content than a few anointed official webmasters. The old Web 1.0 model does not work anymore for brand promotion and engagement of a target audience.
- Due to the scale of the changes happening in this area, people have too much misinformation, apprehension, and confusion, and without the ability to properly express, discuss, and resolve such confusion, the associated stress will continue.
- Crowdsourced responses and discussions tend to be timely, rapid, and more comprehensive.
- People have real stories to share. Regardless of the nature of the story -- positive or negative -- these tales are highly likely to help others, as well as the people sharing the stories.
- All healthcare related informational sessions and local town halls can be archived and be made available on these sites, creating a longer lasting impact and outreach for these sessions.
- If these town halls and information sessions are simulcast on the website, more people can attend.
- People would be able to participate in opinion polls on various topics of the day.
- Since people will have to sign up to participate in the websites, there will be an established base of people to communicate with regularly and get reactions and opinions on new ideas and improvements.
- It will reduce unmoderated discussions on other social platforms.
— Mansur Hasib has served in CIO/CISO and other leadership roles in the public, private, and education sectors.
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