A long time go (in the mid-90′s), when the NHS web presence was in its infancy, someone in Quarry House proposed a central committee to vet each and every web page before it was published. The suggestion was entertained seriously for a while – at least by those who made it.
I was reminded of this recently when attending a couple of meetings where staff from two different organisations where advocating a similar ‘hand-crafted’ approach to the provision of health information. In one instance, this was promoted while in their next breath, those concerned talked about searching social media.
What does this approach consist of, in general terms?
I wonder whether this approach will be sustainable?
Here’s a short line of reasoning, over which I’d be happy to stand corrected:
- Amongst other pressures, demographic trends are making health policy-makers wonder whether we should not do more to promote healthy behaviours. In the field of long-term conditions, one of the policy responses is the promotion of ‘Self-Management’. This is being taken forward practically by exhortation, and by the provision of a range of self-management courses. However, one wonders how well these latter will scale to meet the increased demands thrown up by demographics.
- Latterly, enthusiasm has also grown for a ‘health assets‘ approach, whereby assets can be mutually supportive (With grateful thanks to I&DeA for this diagram of health asset-types)
- If self-management is to succeed, then a great many more health assets are going to need to be identified and made findable subsequently.
- These health assets will need to include much less formal sources of support than we have been accustomed to describing hitherto. I’m thinking about individuals, groups of men who go fishing together and discuss prostate cancer, and dog-walking groups, for example.
Logistically, how will central teams cope with this information flow?
Conceptually and politically, how would they reckon to go about quality-assuring a dog-walking group??