Daily Strength, the latest media darling that has garnered positive press for producing a Web 2.0 effort in a niche market, crows that it has 544 different communities. It also claims it’s bringing social networking to the health market (something that my friends over at Revolution Health will also test in another week). While it gladly advertises its 500+ communities all over its website, it takes a little digging to discover that most of those communities remain empty and that with less than 9,000 members, it’s a small community offering in an already-crowded health market.
But in being the focus of so much attention, it also seems to have missed some basic issues about medical treatment, care, and privacy of its members.
As we noted here in our article about validity and reliability of Web 2.0 data, a website can’t have it both ways — publishing treatment information (under the page title of “Treatment” no less!) — and then try and disclaim that is offering any medical advice whatsoever. See the screenshot (click to see large image) to view the paradox. The Daily Strength publishers are making medical and health improvement claims about what is and isn’t helping people a certain percentage of the time (mixing Lexapro directly with time-honored treatments such as Crying) on the main screen, while, in fine, tiny print at the bottom, saying, no, this is not medical advice.
Please tell me — what is medical advice if not saying, “Hey, this treatment works 90% of the time.” Don’t take my word for it, take the FDA’s word:
Taking a chance on unproven treatments is not simply useless, it is often dangerous, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which divides such products into two categories: direct health hazards and indirect health hazards.
Direct health hazards are likely to cause serious injuries. For example, muscle stimulators, promoted falsely as muscle toners, carry a risk of severe electric shock.
Indirectly harmful products are those that cause people to delay or reject proven remedies, according to FDA. For example, if cancer patients reject proven therapies in favor of unproven ones, their disease may advance beyond the point where proven therapies can help.
I think it will be sad if someone engages in a treatment recommended by Daily Strength, only to have a negative reaction or outcome to the treatment advice offered by the website.
Health information isn’t a popularity contest. That’s why double-blind placebo research studies are conducted on diseases and mental disorders, and not on whether most Americans believe Jennifer Aniston is hot or not.