Doctors around the country have enlisted some new helpers in the fight against chronic disease—their patients.
The new network may have an advantage, though: These are patients who are especially comfortable with the technology involved in monitoring and reporting on their condition. Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project, says their research found that smartphone owners are more likely to contribute and track health data online; so are people who have a chronic condition. The very group targeted by the network is part of the "culture that is nurturing" a new approach, Ms. Fox says.
The idea was to go from a system that focused on clinicians and what they were prescribing to one where patients could contribute new ideas on how to treat their disease as readily as a scientist. "We want the doctors and patients to do experiments together," says Michael Seid of Cincinnati Children's, a developer of the network.