More on Community Benefit

Social network aims to keep baby boomers healthy, prevent unnecessary costs

A new social network connects baby boomers to health resources and has the potential of saving costs for patients and the healthcare industry through better health.

[Also: Social media becomes a business intelligence strategy ]

Alliance Health Networks and Life Line Screening recently partnered together to launch a new social network for baby boomers with a shared interest in staying healthy through preventive health and wellness.

The social network,, provides baby boomers with health resources, such as online support, news articles, discussion boards and screening services, all aimed at keeping baby boomers (the growing population of those over the age of 45) healthy and decreasing the incidence and severity of chronic diseases, therefore saving money in the long run when it comes to healthcare costs.

HIMSS20 Digital

Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions. Get Started >>

[Also: Social networks may boost transition to medical homes]

According to Dan Hickey, senior vice president of products at Alliance Health Networks, is an online community where people can start conversations, share experiences, read and post product recommendations and discuss health-related topics.

Alliance Health, based in Salt Lake City, creates social health networks that connect people to support communities for a growing number of health conditions. The company also owns and operates more than 50 social networks aimed at particular chronic health conditions, such as heart disease. Life Line Screening is a provider of community-based, preventive vascular screenings, based in Independence, Ohio.

"The philosophy behind this social network is as people talk to others in similar situations and connect and share, they help motivate each other towards wellness for lifelong health. Whether it's people connecting over losing weight or particular side effects of a medical condition – it's the power of the crowd that can prevent people from having needless visits to their healthcare providers," said Hickey. "Personal well-being, mental health – that type of social connection has a powerful ability to create overall wellness."

Hickey said the network aims to educate healthcare consumers about the value of preventive medicine and a preventive lifestyle, including how services provided by Life Line Screening, such as vascular ultrasound and laboratory screenings, can be incorporated into general wellness.

According to Edison Research, Americans age 45 and older represent the largest percentage increase in social media usage in the past year, now up to 38 percent (from 31 percent in 2011).

"There are a lot of unnecessary trips to a healthcare provider if someone doesn't feel supported. A social network like this can help someone understand their condition or issues [he or she is experiencing]," said Hickey.

[Also: Social media for hospitals: Without it, 'you don't exist']