"Without question, one of the most important benefits of healthcare social media engagement for oncology practitioners is the opportunity to gain broader insights into how patients and their caregivers are coping with their cancer, as well as a better understanding of the needs of survivors after their treatment ends.
“Patients are much more likely to share details of their disease with other patients who are going through it as well,” noted Brian Loew, cofounder and chief executive officer of Inspire, a Princeton, New Jersey–based organization promoting online patient communities (OPCs).
When Inspire was launched in 2005, each of its founders had family members with medical conditions, and they were looking to create a supportive, online space for both patients and caregivers. “We started very small,” he Loew explained. “Our first partner was the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, followed by WomenHeart.”
Inspire has since grown to 106 such partnerships. In addition to oncology, Inspire moderates online communities for rare diseases and genetic conditions, infertility, and fibromyalgia (Box).
“Oncology is actually Inspire’s strongest area,” Loew noted. “I think the reason that cancer seems to create such strong communities is that there is a huge role for the patient and the caregiver.”
Via Susan Zager