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Is the Sharing Economy the Next Step in Medical Collaboration?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 @ 10:53 PM

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A few weeks ago, we ended up (virtually) attending a fascinating conference on the "Sharing Economy." The term wasn't familiar to us, although the participants were: Air BnB, Etsy, and Uber are just a few examples of this movement in peer-to-peer exchanges.

According to Jeremiah Owyang: "'The big trend here is that the crowd is empowered to get the physical world from each other rather than buying it from brands.' In other words, we used to trust brands, now we increasingly find trust in one another."

Since ClickCare's focus is bringing peers, providers, and patients together through medical collaboration, we see a lot of ourselves in the Sharing Economy community. That said, we also feel some skepticism:

Maybe peer-to-peer exchanges can work for dresses, cars, and couches, but can they work for the high-stakes and high-regulation environment of healthcare?

We may not have the hard-and-fast answers, but as larger economic trends bend toward sharing and collaboration, healthcare will eventually follow. So, we bring you 4 trends in how healthcare is becoming part of the Sharing Economy: 

  1. Providers and patients are taking matters into their own hands. For many years, patients and providers were increasingly distanced from each other, limiting the amount of control they had in interactions. However, that is changing: "people (consumers and caregivers) are taking on more responsibility in healthcare... adopting various patient engagement strategies, including, but not limited to, communicating via patient portals, enabling shared decision-making through communication aids and prescribing applications and tools for self-care." 
  2. The beginning of the sharing may start with hopsitals. Due to the unique attributes of healthcare, enterprise-level peer-to-peer sharing may be the first place we see this trend: maybe two hospitals share an MRI machine or infrastructure to increase capacity while limiting costs.
  3. Intention is key. Some collaborative initiatives seem to be more focused on regulating providers, rather than giving them the tools to do their best work, while others are more focused on the disease than the patient. Real progress will come when patients are at the center of care and providers have the tools to really serve them.
  4. Patients want to share. Patients are more willing than we might expect to anonymously -- and altruistically -- share their medical data for the good of all. 

What about you? How have you experienced the sharing economy in healthcare, either as a provider or as a patient? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

As providers and patients take more control into their own hands, BYOD is increasingly common. Get our guide on how to avoid the pitfalls here:


iClickCare IS BYOD Secure


Image courtesy of clappstar on Flickr, used under Creative Commons rights.

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, collaboration, communication with patients

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