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Idea A social network to connect those who need help, with those who can provide it

By Abhijit Bhograj | 05 Dec, 2014

Idea submitted by: Dr Abhijit Bhograj

Use social networks to link those who wish to do good. Existing networks could be used or a new platform could be developed.

I am an endocrinologist from India, on an average I see 30-40 patients per day, and out of the 40, I see 5 to 6 free of charge. I work at a community free clinic on weekends where we screen 600-800 rural poor without accesses to basic health care . By just word of mouth with, zero technology, we have a community reach of 800-1000 patients per week. If we used technology for good we could have a community reach of more than 5000.

Users could be categorized according to people needing services and people giving services, with further classification according to area, city and region, etc.

The problem with current social networks is they are focused on popularity, people have to like you to be noticed or get recognition. Among my 1300 friends on a social network, only 200 are aware of the social cause I am involved in and only a handful are aware I am willing to see patients for free.

This Network could have news feeds that would center around events and people requiring help in your area / city and an option to crowd fund / angle fund could also be displayed based on area / region.


Lygeia Ricciardi Keynote Speaker Replied at 1:05 PM, 9 Dec 2014

Hi Abhijit --

I think that's a great idea. It would also be helpful to classify participants by what type of help they need, and whether it's one time or ongoing.

In my neighborhood in Washington DC there is a listserv that helps mothers (and fathers) support each other. One thing we do is set up sign up sheets for delivering "meals on wheels" for a few weeks after a baby is born. We also swap child related stuff (toys, furniture, clothes) and knowledge on specific topics, usually related to kids.

Many people on the listserv are strangers (there are over 2000) but it helps make introductions among people and makes the whole community stronger.

- Lygeia Ricciardi

Jocelyne Bukeyeneza Replied at 1:41 PM, 9 Dec 2014


Anne-Marie Audet Replied at 2:43 PM, 10 Dec 2014

Abhijit- i will point you to a group in Palo Alto - and to Paul Tang who has created a Time Bank to match those who have needs to those who want to help. I have heard Paul talk about this, and there is a video of people who have asked for services and those who have donated time - amazing, since the goal is to harness the resources in a community, and a lot is hidden, people wanting to help, but not knowing how, and people needing services, not knowing where to go.

Here is a short description about it:
Members of the linkAges TimeBank give and receive help, learn new skills and share hobbies and interests. Through a dedicated website where service hours are exchanged, members connect with each other, discover things they need or want and track the hours that they’ve earned for future use.

And the link:

Abhijit Bhograj Replied at 4:11 AM, 12 Dec 2014

Hello Lygeia first of all salute to you and everyone involved in any form of community work for the betterment of society
GHd is a 13000 strong community and it would be good to know how many amoung us are tech savvy or involved in coding and web design and development . With them involved some or most of the ideas posted or reviewed could actually se the light of day

Abhijit Bhograj Replied at 4:20 AM, 12 Dec 2014

Dear Anne the Palo Alto group is exactly doing what we want , the point I want to make is the is a huge need to link these services on a larger scale and showcase them in a better way

Yudha Saputra Replied at 4:10 AM, 13 Dec 2014

Hi Dr Abhijit

In my country Indonesia, we have the common problem on popularity. Which is the most famous physicians is the higher patients number. Worth of mouth is the very potential marketing technique to promote them. When someone get healed from, let say, physician X, they will come to him over and over again. Trust build there. Unfortunately, sometimes patients just don't want to look appropriate medical information by them self nor receiving the same information from another physician, except physician X. From here I want to push that appropriate medical information is very important, we as health care professional could help society to understand deeply by keep informing them and make them understand. It is also important if we could gather (like 200 from 1300 social networks) to be more active to inform appropriate medical information. Also, use those 200 to gain more and more people who concern about this issue. Give reward to them like "Thank You for helping us". It may looks like marketing strategies, but health is a right also responsibility for everyone and I bet that everyone doesn't seem understand yet. The more we can gather people to care about appropriate medical information, the more we can make them understand that all physician is aiming for the same goal, better patient condition.
Well, it just opinion. Haven't proofed yet, but maybe not something bad to try.

Thank You

Warm Regards

Yudha Saputra

Nancy Street Advisor Replied at 11:27 AM, 13 Dec 2014

Hi Abhijit-
I am aware of a facebook group, Haiti Medical Aid Project, that connects clinicians, community workers and allied professionals. This platform, using a social media website, affords the opportunity to connect health care professionals and provides important information regarding access to resources for patients in need.

This network has over 1,500 members. I am not familiar with the originators of this site, nor do I know the processes used to establish this network but it may be worth looking into. Principles of confidentiality and privacy are central to establishing these connections.

Soori Kani Replied at 6:55 PM, 16 Dec 2014

Hi all, I think this is such an excellent idea. Just last night I visited a friend, the caregiver for her 90 year old father who has Parkinson disease. His day helper of 2 years walked out with little notice 4 weeks ago and although she is working with an agency, they have not been able to find the right person to work with a patient like him. My friend is on the verge of nervous breakdown, and her father is in worse shape yet. I am sure there are people with the right skills and temperament in the greater DC area to lend a helping hand as an interim solution, and others looking for work who would be a fit. Caregivers in my friend's situation would greatly benefit from your idea.

Abhijit Bhograj Replied at 5:08 AM, 18 Dec 2014

The biggest point I want to make is in our existing social networks are designed in such a way only the user has to reach out to get help and information , what I am proposing is to create a network smart enough to find people and let you know they exist . We have so much information on the internet but majority of this information is not linked to the right people who need it.
We have social networks to link professionals and and jobs that need to be done eg. If I want a website or app created within no time I can find a workforce local or international to build these apps at any given price , why can't the same technology be used to do good

Om G Replied at 3:38 AM, 21 Dec 2014

Have been advocating and working toward such a 'has/needs' system for some time. Breaking it out of the existing social networking environment is very important. The existing networks are profit oriented and sell your personal human characteristics in a manner that does not reflect privacy of even give you control over your own data. Craigs List is an excellent model to begin with. It is diet cheap and simple to implement, very low in resources and is entirely self defining. Communities experiencing rapid onset trauma and longer term issues require a sense of self efficacy for stability and growth, so systems like 311 and 'fix my pothole' are good models in that they tie together the civic need with the municipal response. Shifting the reporting flow to make officials responsive to community needs will promote resiliency and making the whole thing public will help generate local ingenuity. An SMS based platform will be relevant to most of the world in times of crisis on through to recovery.

This Community is Archived.

This community is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.