Crowdsourced health studies lead to positive health outcomes, shift focus from treatment to prevention
Several trends are shaping the nature of contemporary health research studies. First, citizen science is more often being conducted by non-professionally trained individuals. Second, web-based tools are recruiting participants via crowdsourcing. Finally, individuals are using online and digital technologies to actively participate in their own health care.
A recent analysis sought to review these crowdsourced health research studies regarding their status, impact and prospects. The authors found that “participatory health” is a growing area, and that participants use social networks, previous studies, apps, and personal health records to “achieve positive health outcomes.” They also observe that these crowdsourced studies vary in terms of intended outcomes and scientific rigor.
The researchers conclude that these participatory health initiatives, supported by online and social networking opportunities, are a growing part of the “public health ecosystem” and hold potential for expanding the scope of contemporary medicine from one focused on disease cure to one focused on prevention.