08 October 2008

New MRSA group discussion, caveat lector

A UK-based site called iCareCafe posted a link in the comments to the previous post, inviting readers who are MRSA patients or caregivers to visit. Per my rules I'm elevating it to post status so that you can see it and I can comment on it.

Here is their post:
...The icarecafe has been set up to provide a space for patients, carers and their supporters online.
Some of the members have set up a discussion group on the subject of MRSA. The group has asked lots of questions which are still in the process of being answered. So we thought it appropriate if we invited people from other MRSA discussion group and blogs to ask if they wished to participate.
To have a look at the discussions so far please have a look at http://www.icarecafe.com/?page_id=1107&group_id=71
Best wishes
Belinda Shale
Moderator – the icarecafe
My due diligence:
  • As you'll see in the right-hand sidebar, I am a sympathetic member and promoter of authentic communities online. However, as I have warned before, I am skeptical of sites that exist mainly to sell products to patients.
  • The iCareCafe appears to be an authentic discussion forum that covers numerous diseases and conditions, though a few of the members are using what appear to be "stock art" pix of models to represent themselves; make of that what you will.
  • The MRSA forum currently has 6 threads running; in a few, people are sharing their stories, and in a few others, people are aggressively pushing nutritional regimens and recommending cleaning products.
  • The iCareCafe is backed by a marketing company, as it discloses here:
    ...The icarecafe is a project from The Patients Voice (which is itself part of Healthcare Landscape. By way of earning our living we provide our clients with medical market research services. Or to put it another way we run surveys and focus groups and things of that nature so that we can provide patients with a voice.

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