How Collaboration Can Improve Healthcare for Everyone


By DJ Edgerton

The relationships between patients, healthcare professionals, Pharma and the FDA are fraught on all sides. Emotions run high and names are frequently called as one group describes how the other group makes their life difficult.

But – here’s an outrageous concept – they don’t have to be so adversarial. Each party could actually be helping each other. And that’s not some altruistic, utopian thought. By helping each other, they’d be making their own work that much easier. And digital media could make it possible.

  • Patient groups and advocacy organizations might sometimes argue that they are Davids fighting the Goliaths of the giant corporations, but if they could agree on some universal system, they could help Pharma and FDA by cataloging HIPAA-blinded patient issues and information and becoming their own conglomerate clearinghouse of data.
  • Professionals point out that they are already too overtaxed with visits and paperwork, but the more they make their office paperless, the more money and time they save and the more they make their information instantly useful – for themselves, but also to log trends, track epidemics, etc. We’ve already talked here at Pixels & Pills about ways to do that.\
  • Pharma would probably argue that by their very existence they’re helping patients. But they could do it more by putting more money into all of the programs and alliances into one umbrella destination for patient access and assistance, where patients can find information and applications to receive discounts on their medication.
  • FDA is understaffed, overworked, reviled and vilified (by Pharma mainly). But they’ve just taken the first step toward doing what they have to do. One public hearing does not an open conversation make – but every dialogue begins with one overture. They just need to keep it up now.

Digital tools collect data, personalize information, run extraordinarily complex reporting systems, work without regard to time or distance. We know this already.

But what we forget is that digital – and especially social – media can do all this, and make it more fun.

  • More enjoyable ways of collecting data.
  • More seamless ways of encouraging patient compliance.
  • More engaging ways of education on diseases, on new guidelines, and on the new media that we’re all learning.

One of the main points of social media is collaboration. So let’s collaborate.

Don’t assume enemy lines. They don’t have to be there unless you draw them there.

How can you “reach across the aisle and forge relationships to improve the state of healthcare?

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