How curation cures cancer

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Curation, the purposeful filtering of Internet content, is a hot and disruptive trend:

More people interact with more information than ever as Eric Schmidt noted at the Techonomy Conference in 2010:

“We create as much data every two days now as from the dawn of time until the year 2003.”

Schmidt went on to identify User Generated Content (UGC) flooding in from social networks as the source. Schmidt was right and wrong.  Right in his identification of social nets such as Facebook, but wrong because soon every webpage will be a “social network”.  This post is about the tsunami of change about to hit healthcare and how curation cures cancer.

Web 3.0
It was a STUNNING day. The data was so amazing I pulled it multiple times. Not long after returning from Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer, our bicycle ride across America in the summer of 2010, I glimpsed a very different future.

I had gathered Google pagecounts using Google’s command for and — pagecounts show the number of pages indexed by Google, the number of pages capable of carrying traffic to a website. had tens of millions of pages in Google’s index compared to Redenvelope’s thousands. In an instant a new future was clear – platforms would crush websites.

Websites without substantial AUTHORITY can’t create enough scale to survive. Authority comes from a tapestry of things including:

  • Content (curated or created).
  • Links, Likes and Shares of the content.
  • WHO likes, links and shares the content.
  • The content’s freshness (QDF Quality Deservers Freshness).
  • The record OVER TIME of the content’s author / curator.

Web 3.0 will see tectonic shifts including: the mobile web, the internet of things and a global social web of connections. Soon every page will be a “platform” capable of regenerating itself with User Generated Content (UGC) and every page will be dynamic to the touch.

“Dynamic to the touch” means what you and I see when we go to the same webpage at the same time may be different. Google’s “float” creates highly dynamic Search Engine Results (SERPs) pages based on what you’ve LIKED, SHARED and SEARCHED. Google even includes what friends like to determine the most relevant SERPs. Google’s float means we may see different results even if we type the same search at the same time.

Healthcare will become more dynamic than Google.

Healthcare is really three distinct engines: providers, consumers and researchers. The politics of healthcare aside, the data storm internet marketers have lived within and know well is coming to healthcare.

Healthcare Providers
Healthcare providers have enjoyed an internet marketing honeymoon. Word-of-mouth controls so much of a patient’s buying process that healthcare provider websites are a generation behind their e-commerce siblings.

Digital networks are displacing more traditional human networks. Not too many years ago I experienced how digital displaces human connection — after getting divorced I asked friends who I should date expecting a robust person-to-person network.

No such network exists today.

The human network is fully displaced by the more dynamic digital network. Online dating has all but replaced matchmaking. There isn’t enough utility to make matchmaking socially “profitable” and the risks are too high. “Just go online,” was a frequent response.

Online dating is a barometer for healthcare word-of-mouth (WOM). Finding a doctor may never become 100% digital, but search engine supported investigation and parsing is here. Patients don’t stop with finding providers. Social patients armed with increasing search power and crowdsourced wisdom research conditions, prognosis and treatment.

Healthcare providers who become more collaborative and open will win. Those who continue to view “social patients” as a pain will suffer. Healthcare providers must realize an important fact. Social networks and blogs are the most important product healthcare providers create and should be far from a managerial afterthought.  

Healthcare Consumers
Here is a favorite paragraph from The Social Patient:

“Like many people, I don’t passively consume anything anymore. I watch TV with Twitter running. I take pictures or video with my iPhone to support one of 4 blogs, 5 Twitter accounts, Pinterest, and Facebook. I mash, combine, link, share and move content all day, every day (Thanksgiving and Christmas too :). “

Healthcare consumers like Xeni Jardin, founder of and breast cancer survivor, will push to eliminate barriers between patients, doctors, friends, family and other pieces of a social support network that may number in the thousands or millions.

The Scarlet A or big red C is GONE.

As social patients blog, tweet and share about healthcare consumption in near real-time, healthcare providers must monitor and respond to Big Social Data. The social patient’s impact on a healthcare providers’ ORM (Online Reputation Management) can’t be overstated.

As WOM becomes digital lapse in any area of a healthcare providers’ social net could cause wrecking ball-like damage. Healthcare providers capable of creating and sustaining community will prosper and rollup social laggards.

Healthcare consumers will use sophisticated curation tools such as, (our crowdfunding platform for cancer research launching in July), and to create and find community, support and crowd wisdom.

When making big decisions, life or death decisions, patients want as much relevant information as quickly as possible. The most valuable information comes from “patients like you”. Healthcare providers capable of creating community “platforms” will win increasing amounts of loyalty, advocacy and profits providing finances to buy or eliminate laggards.

Healthcare Researchers
Many healthcare providers have one foot in treatment and another in research. Since the gestation of cures can be years to decades, and treating patients today helps develop future solutions, it makes sense for many researchers to treat and do research.

Web 3.0 creates a web of social connections. Healthcare researchers who embrace a less proprietary and more collaborative future win. Those who insist on owning every piece of a solution will suffer and slowly fade. When information is traveling as fast as it is any attempt to horde will be too little and much too late.

The “defendable” IP of future research is in getting there first, understanding the complex pattern synergy creating a “cure” and sharing as much and as fast as possible. Such a statement may seem as if “up is now down” to patent loving healthcare researchers. Healthcare should consider open source.

Open source provides a valuable test kitchen for healthcare researchers. In every segment open source solutions are faster, cheaper and better than “closed loop” proprietary solutions. Closed loop solutions can’t bring wisdom of crowds to the table. The sentient MOB beats even the most talented teams.

Owning a piece of a collaborative open source solution is better than owning 100% of a slow and solitary solution that never scales because a little of something beats 100% of nothing.

When healthcare’s engines understand the full scope and impact of the digital revolution labels such as “patient”, “healthcare provider” and “researcher” won’t hold. Everyone has a stake in the “Healthcare Game”. We play together faster and faster or not at all.  Healthcare curation is capable of curing cancer, diabetes and other human disease. In fact healthcare curation is the only thing that can cure cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

This post is a follow up to The Social Patient: How Social Media Marketing Is Changing Healthcare.

Martin “Marty” Smith is the Director of Marketing for Atlantic BT, the largest web and software development agency in Raleigh, NC. He is currently working on, the first crowdfunding platform for cancer research. Marty is a cancer survivor. An avid Scoopiteer and blogger, Marty is active on social media as @ScentTrail. Find his “Revolutions” on

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10 years ago

This is an extremely interesting article which all healthcare providers should read to know what is expected of them. B

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