Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Video Healing -- The Power of Community & Personal Interaction

The most intriguing digital media story from today's newspapers comes from The Wall Street Journal, a feature story titled "Social Networking Comes to Health Care: Online Tools Give Patients Better Access to Information and Help Build Communities" (by Laura Landro on page D1). Online tools can uniquely help patients and caregivers alike by linking them to information -- and other people -- who deal with similar issues and can offer advice and support accordingly. The Internet is uniquely powerful in this healthcare context -- and in establishing personalized communities in this regard.

I previously have written about the power of video in taking online communities to the next level. Video can be especially powerful in the healthcare context. Online video interaction can be used uniquely and effectively in the following ways, among others: (1) patients can reach out online and truly "connect" with others facing similar issues and offer each other more "real" advice and support; (2) caregivers can do the same -- share information and establish a relationship in a way that non-video communication never could effectuate; (3) patients and caregivers separated by distance can now establish effective and real relationships; and (4) patients in healthcare facilities and separated from loved ones by geographic distance can now stay connected with loved ones in a meaningful and personal way (because online video interaction is inherently and significantly more powerful and personal than any other form of online interaction).

These are just some examples -- and the fourth example above is especially meaningful during this holiday season.

I now have the honor of sitting on the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego, and I intend to do what I can to spread the word about how online video interaction can be used to help take that disease "out of the shadows" -- both via increased awareness, but also for those who suffer from epilepsy and otherwise feel isolated. We at SightSpeed already are being used by healthcare providers for telemedicine, among other things. We also are being used by individuals in some of the ways outlined above.

If you know of anyone who is using online video calling or conferencing for these purposes -- or is interested in doing so -- please reach out to me at

Online video interaction -- i.e., bringing the previously missing personal/human element to online interaction -- can be uniquely healing ...