Engaging with your "clients" in health and education

I've just come across two interesting news items - one about the use of Web2.0 in the Health sector and another about using online games to encourage children to respond to a consultation about play spaces.

Although the full text is not available without paying a hefty sum, the Executive Summary of the E-health 2.0 report is available. The report offers an overview of twenty "leading e-health 2.0 providers", and discusses a number of themes that emerge from this overview, including: Transparency in the health system; Rebalancing the doctor-patient relationship; Consumer empowerment; Empowerment through connectivity; and Mobilisation of data. According to Public Technology.net "The profiles provide a snapshot of innovation across healthcare: from organisations providing online communities for patients with specific conditions, tools for chronic disease management, sites that enable patients to rate the quality of care they receive, together with tools to enable clinicians to better search for and share research data."

The second story I saw came from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The Playspace consultation tool is a neat online tool which is aimed at 8-13 year olds to try and get them involved with a national consultation on the development of play spaces. In a Sims type game it allows kids to create their ideal playspace, and they earn credits to buy cool things (like skate ramps, swings, etc) for their playspace by answering child-friendly questions based around the consultation.

I suppose what struck me most about these is the way in which technology is changing the relationship between organisations and their 'clients'. Whether that's through finding interesting and fun ways to engage children and therefore enable them to contribute to developments in their world, or encouraging greater interaction, support and freedom of choice through the use of social networking in the health sector.

It's encouraging engagement, interaction, involvement and ownership of these issues and with increasing familiarity and access to technology it seems likely to become more prevalent in every part of our lives.

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