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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Does Social Networking Help With Diabetes Management?

Social networking helps with diabetes management mostly because we need each other. And I don't know about not needing doctors because I know there are things we need them for, despite the post declaring we may no longer need them. I agree that technology has advanced so much and should be used as much as possible but it still cannot replace a human being.

What happens if the computer crashes? Do we reboot it everytime it does? Besides, human interaction is still a part of the healing process. Computers cannot replace doctors. And I am not just saying this just because my husband, brother and cousins are all doctors. One time I was socializing with them with seven out of eight of us were doctors and I realized I was the only teacher in the group. I am telling you; I wanted to go home then!

This reminded me of my own experience with a doctor of mine. She did not want my input on my care. She wanted blind obedience from me when it came to the medication she prescribed. But what do I do when the side effect of the medication is worse than what it is trying to treat? The best thing it does for me is I lose weight because of nausea and inability to eat. What kind of life is that? So I switched doctors.

The new doctor however kind of surprised me. After a little bit of talk, she went to her computer and started to google something. My first thought was I could do that myself! But no, she was just trying to see where I fit in among the cases and the tool the medical community has. It saves the doctors all the calculations and measurement that they used to do manually. Besides, I still need her. How about if I get run over by a truck?

Here is another point. Everyday, the diabetics are faced with all kinds of decisions to make which affect whether they get long term complication or not. Will there be an algorithm simple enough to cover such a vast amount of data, each one different? No, we still need them. The algorithms make it easier for the doctors to do their work. No, we don't get less medical care, we get more!

Sorry to digress, we can be healthier when we are engaged in an online community. With online networking and social media, we will be able to manage the diabetes better. The peer support can motivate people with diabetes beyond their wildest dreams. Self-care will improve, thanks to the support of the peer group in helping make all accountable for their own action. This is something that cannot and will not be measured accurately even by a super tracking system.

There are quite a few studies going on aimed at finding the impact of the social media on one's health, how it has affected people and how it has improved their self-care. I am glad they now have the effect of social media on their mind but I don't really need a study though to let me know of the benefits of the peer-to-peer learning experience. Shh, don't tell the rest of the world though for someone might get the bright idea of developing a drug to sell to us to get us to interact with our peer group!