For the 43% of Americans that suffer from chronic conditions, the feeling of loneliness is nothing new. Whether it’s a new diagnosis or a pre-existing condition, patients look to Google for answers: endlessly searching for treatments, some direction and a glimpse of hope. But more often than not, patients are left feeling they are the only ones suffering with their condition. This is an experience cancer survivor, Amy Ohm, knows all too well.
After her diagnosis in 2004, Amy turned to the Internet searching for hope and insight. What she needed to find was the transformed and improved outlook of a previous patient, who could reach out and say “Hey I’ve been where you are, here’s what I did…” Unfortunately, all Amy could find was daunting clinical perspectives. This encounter inspired her to create a community where people could share their experience, allowing patients to improve their personal health journey by learning from fellow patients.
Filling this need for connection, Amy created TreatmentDiaries, an online healthcare platform that unites patients, caregivers and support systems for the private and anonymous exchange of personal health related experiences. The platform works as an interactive diary, where users can anonymously post about their health journeys, sharing their day-to-day experiences for others to read and learn from. The anonymity element provides patients the opportunity to connect with those they can relate to without disclosing their identity,
which Amy believes “…gives many the desire to share more freely and learn from those who understand the journey.”
Although TreatmentDiaries already supports users in over 100 countries and well over 2,000 conditions tied to millions of diaries, Amy continues to focus on growing the patient community. With continued growth, Amy hopes TreatmentDiaries will become “…the defacto standard in digital health for patient communities across the healthcare continuum”. It’s a big goal, but the impact an empowered patient can have on an individual just starting their health journey is even bigger!
It is quite obvious TreatmentDiaries is taking the online health community by storm, but Amy admits she was nervous to start the platform. Her lack of clinical background made entering the healthcare realm pretty intimidating. She now, however, is more than grateful for the opportunity and all the relationships she has established. She advises anyone interested in becoming a health advocate to “Create a plan and follow it. Stick with it and see it through, but be open to pivoting to support the evolution of your efforts.”
Interested in TreatmentDiaries or know someone who could benefit? Check out the website today, the more patients that join, the more inspiration there is to share!
Patients have the power in this!
Kristen Long is the Health Activist Awards Coordinator at WEGO Health. Her own health experiences have inspired her to empower other patients and encourage the power of patient advocacy. Follow Kristen on Twitter and Facebook.