Have you ever felt the need to connect with others who are facing the same healthcare challenges as you? From the moment you receive a diagnosis to exploring treatment options life with a healthcare challenge is overwhelming. And, despite having a trusted healthcare professional managing your care it’s easy to feel emotionally and physically isolated. Finding peers who can relate to your healthcare journey may seem difficult, but social media and the internet allow us to broaden our personal network and create strong connections with people across the country. These connections give patients and caregivers access to information and people who have similar experiences and feelings. Furthermore, members are enlightened to more available options, which lead to more educated treatment decisions and becoming a better advocate for oneself.
According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, 15% of internet users and 23% of chronic ailment sufferers have gone online to find others with similar health conditions. Joining peer-to-peer health platforms allows users to build these support groups based around conditions; creating a peer community just like you. Peer-to-peer healthcare support is a significant supplement to information from a health professional for treatment options, provider recommendations, practical advice, remedies, alternative options, and emotional support.
In the same Pew Research Center study responders expressed that non-professionals mattered most in times of personal struggle. Patients are one of the best sources of information when it comes to emotional support or finding quick relief as they are living it and can relate to your emotional journey. Peer-to-peer healthcare communities are commonly tailored to fit members’ specific needs and circumstances. Instead of learning about the most common treatments and solutions, users can find the right one. This is especially relevant for those suffering from a rare disease.
Approximately 25 million Americans are currently living with a rare disease, a rare disease being defined as affecting less than 200,000 people in the U.S. A diagnosis is just a starting point as in some cases these patients become the experts, memorizing studies, devouring blog posts, and looking endlessly for new resources. A rare disease can emphasize a person’s need to expand their network to new mentalities, knowledge, and coping mechanisms. Members can confide in these extended networks in ways that they might not be able to with family or friends.
Peer Health enables you to create a personalized health community. Users have the power to connect and collaborate with healthcare peers just like themselves. In upcoming blog posts, you will hear from others who also had a deep need to connect with healthcare peers likes themselves, and the power these peers have had in their lives. Peers that can support and empower you just as you support and empower them, creating connections that can make all the difference in the world.
Find your community.