The third edition of Patients for a Moment is up at Duncan Cross' place. I get fresh insight every time I visit patient blogs and wonder if the healthcare system wouldn't improve if every single blogger shared their most recent experience about being a patient. I have a working title for a post I'm going to write called, If I didn't give birth to you, resist the urge to call me "Mom."
I learned this week about Twitter's potential to provide aggregate data that could be useful in disease management and research. (The majority of people I know still think Twitter is for people who care whether Ashton Kusher buys one or two ply toilet paper.)
In addition to providing real-time information about the bathroom habits of the stars, Twitter could help inform "nature versus nurture" issues. Say you have a child with a difficult-to-manage-and-treat condition, like autism. A condition that could be influenced by things like weather, season, age, stress, medications, exposure to certain foods, chemicals, and so forth.
140 character tweets allow parents and caregivers to send real-time, structured observations to a central repository where others with similar conditions are also tweeting. Data can be aggregated and overlaid with other variables (like barometric pressure; temperature; phase of the moon) with the net effect being more comprehensive information about the state of individuals within the state of the environment they're in.