Blog #8 Future Project Plans

As I have stated in previous blogs, the goal of my project is to support others also allowing patient-to-patient referrals. Within the past couple of months, I have done a lot of thinking about how I am going to approach setting up my website (the product). In order to create my webpage, I must become more knowledgeable on my topic (essential question). With that being said, I am setting up my site visit with MUSC. Because I volunteer at MUSC every Monday evening, I plan to speak with the doctor’s as well as some of the nurses. To be more specific, I will be speaking with doctors and nurse technicians who specialize in hematology and oncology. When speaking to them, I will ask for advice as well as their opinions on how they think social networking influences the medical industry. Not only am I speaking with doctors or nurses about my topic, but I am also receiving feedback from patients on a website called PatientsLikeMe.com. On this website patients with the same sicknesses can interact with each other. I created a webpage to find a way to communicate with the patients and to see how social networking has affected them. For my project, I also plan to survey a group of individuals who have or are diagnosed with a certain disease or sickness. By surveying these individuals I plan to discover how effective social media can be.

      Every week, I plan on researching different information about my topic through Google and the library. So far, I am content with my project and can’t wait to see how it expands and what others get out of my project.

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Blog#7 My Thoughts

Within the past couple of weeks, I have received a great amount of feedback. This feedback is more than helpful! The more I research and receive feedback about my topic, the more excited I get about my project! I would like to thank those who have given me feedback and constructive criticism. By mentioning my project to various people, my website (the product to my essential question) has the ability to expand and be more effective (positively).

I have taken into consideration that with there being many health social networking sites on the world wide wed, having a website where people can access all of these sites in one place would be ideal. My goal is to create a website that will allow patient interactions as well as support from outside sources. In addition to this website, there will be a list of other accessible health social networking sites. This will allow a quicker and easier way for patients to access these sites. My website will also offer a private online journal. In order to “sign up” on my website, certain detailed personal information will be required from the patients and outside sources for precaution. I want to ensure that anyone who has access to this website has good intentions only.

This website will also focus on ALL sicknesses and/or diseases. Although my website is mainly for people who suffer from sicknesses/diseases, this website will also affect loved ones (friends or family) positively by providing them with moral support.

Again, I appreciate every bit of feedback! Feedback is a great way to improve my project. I hope my project will continue to expand and hopefully this will be something exciting for everyone to get involved in!

Blog #6

Within the last month or so of working on my blog, I have come in contact with more people who are diagnosed with some sort of disease . Before I started this project I always cared for others and wanted to do the best to help or volunteer in my community. But, now that I have had time to work on my senior exhibition my desires for helping others has increased a tremendous amount. Since I have been focused on this project, I have become more aware of the sicknesses that are out there.  Troubling amounts of  diseases, sicknesses, and/or “conditions” exists.  The more research I do, the more I want to help others and gain more knowledge on my topic.

In order to gain more knowledge, I have emailed doctors throughout Charleston. In my email, I talked about my topic and my product. My goal is to gain feedback from doctors, patients, or other outside sources.  As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I am currently volunteering at MUSC hospital on Monday nights. I use this as tool to get closer to the patients and to gain a better understanding of who they are and to learn more about their health issues. Throughout the course of the year, my goal is to conitinue my research. In addition to this research I will focus on diseases that are not usually mentioned. There are many people in this world that suffer from a rare disease that not many others have. It is important that these people feel comfort and support as well. With that being said, I want to do the best I can in “discovering” what those other diseases are to further my knowledge and to do the best I can in order to assist or be beneficial to those in need.

Blog #5 Feedback

For my essential question, my goal is to receive as much feedback on my product (the answer to my essential question). With more feedback, I will be able to make my senior exhibition topic stronger with hopes of more people listening. I have taken the time to email physicians, asking for feedback on my senior exhibition product (my website). I have also asked friends and family to  express their opinions on the subject. So far, many people agree that social networking is a great way for people with similar illnesses to connect. Social networking is also a great way for patients to feel comfort and support from others. From my research, I have found that interactions in online health communities provide information, emotional support and self-identification, all of which patients progress to a healthier state. As I have received positive feedback, I have also received constructive criticism such as health care providers voicing concerns about the privacy of online health communities. They believe that seeking information from inexpert sources results in misinformation that is counterproductive to healing. My goal is to gain accurate information from expertise and improve the knowledge of those who want to know more on their health issues. Though information is the major support patients seek and provide online, sources have shown that emotional support plays the largest role in helping patients move to a better condition. In addition to improving an individual’s condition, an online health “community” networking site will create positive feedback  and this will result improvement in health and increase an individuals contribution back to the online community to improve the health of others. My goal for my “Health Network” is to simply have a new way of “therapy” for those who are in need of medical attention.  I will continue to research more about my topic as I will also continue asking for feedback.

Blog #4 Research

After doing research on my essential question, I have discovered that a lot of medical patients look to the internet in hopes of receiving more information about their health. One recent survey indicates patients search the internet more frequently than they communicate with their doctor about health care questions. Patients also seek to meet and interact with a community of patients with similar problems, to share clinical information and to provide and receive support. Studies have shown that social networking improves disease management and health outcomes for patients.

Many patients look to websites such as Myspace, Facebook, or blog-spots to look for answers on their health issues as well as looking for other patients to interact with. Several disease-specific information exchanges exist on Facebook and other online social networking sites. These “sources of knowledge, support, and engagement have become important for patients living with chronic diseases, yet the quality and content of the information provided can be incorrect or poorly understood.” Some websites offer incorrect information about medical conditions. Patients need a website where they can receive quality information. My website will essentially have an array of physicians educating and providing quality  research on specific medical conditions. By creating my website, this will allow patients to have their own website and to interact with one another. Patients will also gain more information on their health issues, and to receive support from outside sources. My website will also provide a forum for reporting personal experiences, asking questions, and receiving direct feedback for people living with specific diseases.

The Product

For my product, I plan to create a health social networking site that influences those in need of medical care positively. The websites purpose will essentially allow outside sources to help certain individuals (patients) who may not be able to afford his or her medical bills. In addition, these outside sources will be allowed to send their patient gifts or letters, and they will also be able to visit with their patient. I want to increase the awareness of those in need of medical care through my website.  My goal is to show patients that there are people who care and that there is hope. My exhibition revolves around the idea of bringing attention to those in need of medical care through social networking. With that being said,  my product must show that I have an understanding of the medical field and the ability to put that knowledge to good use. My product will enhance the knowledge of the human population by informing them of certain diseases or sicknesses that people may have and that these are usually life-threatening.

After my initial research I don’t think that there is another website where an individual can “adopt” a patient. There are blog spots where patients or people can interact with each other. While doing my research, I came across a website called Caringbridge.com. In my last blog, I mentioned how their mission is to amplify love, hope, and compassion. However, my website will allow individuals to essential “pick” a patient to care for. By creating my website, I want to show the strong passion I have for the medical industry.

The Essential Question

How does social networking influence the medical industry to help those in need of medical care?  I believe that social media can increase patient to patient referrals and allow individuals to establish relationships with patients. Because the social media continues to expand, patients will be more likely to look to websites such as Facebook, twitter, or blog spots. Social networking will “allow for the patients to find medical information and recommendations.” Websites such as Caringbridge.org is an online space where family and friends can “connect” with their loved ones. On this website, health updates on the patients are given and this allows for the family and friends to stay informed. Their goal is to amplify love, hope, and compassion. With websites such as Caringbridge.org, patients have their own way of interacting with others. In addition, individuals will be able to help and support the patients despite his or her age.

My initial response to this question was that social networking would allow the patients to understand that there are people in this world who are willing to help them. By allowing individuals to give patients support or donations through social networking, this will amplify the patients hope. Social networking also allows for patients to have a fun way to communicate with other patients or family and friends. Through specific social networking websites, families will gain more knowledge on the disease or sickness that a loved one has. It is important to distinguish health social networks between popular social networks such as Facebook or Myspace. Online “health” social networks provide opportunities to obtain and disclose information about a health condition a specific patient has as well as allowing donations and support from the community.