Social Networks of Tomorrow
A medical social network for doctors and patients
by Elfried Salanon
Healin is a social network designed to help doctors and patients work together, and to help them each get support from their respective communities.
Although public health institutions increasingly use social media to relay campaigns about preventing illness and promoting healthy lifestyles, mainstream social networks aren’t suited to the needs of doctors and patients. In regions that don’t have enough medical professionals, for example, doctors may need to ask for advice or contact specialists elsewhere in order to offer better care. But that can mean exchanging sensitive patient information over unsecured channels, such as messaging apps. Doctors may also lack a secure way to contact their patients and track their health, especially in the case of long-term conditions such as chronic illness. Meanwhile, at a societal level, chronic illness represents a significant burden for patients, their loved ones, the healthcare system, and even the world economy. Patients need better support, and research has shown that group interactions and group therapy can improve their quality of life.
Healin aims to fill these gaps and improve quality of care. Doctors will be able to use Healin to connect with other medical professionals. It will give them a secure way to discuss cases amongst themselves: patient data will be anonymized when sent between doctors and stored on an encrypted blockchain. Doctors will also be able to invite their patients to join Healin, creating a secure and direct channel of communication and making it easy to access patients’ health data over time. Verification of the doctor’s medical license will be necessary to unlock the full range of functionalities.
Patients who want to join Healin will need to be referred by either their doctor or a patients’ association. Importantly, Healin will break the cycle of isolation by giving patients a protected space where they can interact with others who are dealing with similar conditions. Patients often express themselves more openly with peers than with healthcare professionals, feeling more comfortable describing their moods, living conditions, treatment experiences, and side effects. Healin will contribute to better health outcomes by giving patients more opportunities to connect with people who can support them emotionally and share firsthand experiences.
To test the prototype, please fill in this short FORM. You will receive an access link shortly.
Elfried is an epidemiologist and biostatistician who specializes in chronic illness. He began his research career at age 18, focusing on understanding and predicting chronic illness such as diabetes and cancer. Working alongside doctors and patients, he was able to identify and explore the needs of each of these stakeholders. He is passionate about designing user-centric tools and systems to resolve problems and limits in existing systems.
He has studied engineering mathematics, artificial intelligence, and IT, allowing him to approach problems with tools from both basic and applied sciences. At various research institutions such as INSERM, INRAE, and CREPS, he has designed algorithms to optimize processes in biology, cancer prediction, identity management, and geocoding. Recently, he developed tools for using data from smartwatches and ActiGraph to diagnose cardiovascular risk factors (patent pending).
Ahmed Sékou Magassouba