Managing Family “Tyze”: Connecting Families and Caregivers with Social Media

jaimieshort    November 21, 2013


The health care system can be difficult to navigate. It can becomes even more complicated if you or a loved one are dealing with a chronic disease or illness. It may mean that your life is filled with a never-ending barrage of appointments with different health care providers throughout different cities. You may have to connect with multiple agencies, family members and friends to get the right care and support at home.

To further complicate the matter, it is very unlikely that each health care provider that you connect with has an accurate, up-to-date health record for you. For example, in Ontario our personal electronic medical records are not centralized. This means each hospital, physician and specialist may not have an up-to-date list of medications, lab work or know which appointments you have been to or are scheduled to attend.

But what if social media tools could help connect all those pieces together?

Tyze is trying to do just that. Tyze is a social networking tool that provides practical service to help families, friends, neighbours, and professionals develop a connected circle of care. More specifically, Tyze was developed to support adult children who are caring for their aging parents, individuals living with a chronic disease or illness, families supporting a loved one with a disability or any individual suffering with a life challenge.

4721.tyze_screen_shotTyze has many similar functionalities to Facebook or other social media sites like Twitter. For example, members can share events such as upcoming appointments or pictures. They can connect with friends, family or health care professionals or post updates but unlike traditional social media sites where most material is publicly available and commercialized, each member’s network is personal and private and may contact clinical history and medical information. Member can create their own online community. That member can then invite family, close friends caregivers, health care workers or others involved in their circle of care. Members are not searchable, so even if you know people are on a Tyze network, you won’t be able to find them.

Although Tyze tells us its networks are private, putting medical information into an shared online community could still be considered risky. The Canadian Medical Association sites that integrating social media and patient information could be problematic when it comes to patient confidentiality. However, the Canadian Medical Association suggests that there could be of medical professionals interacting with social media such as improved quality of patient care and satisfaction.

The company’s president and chief executive of Tyze, Vickie Cammack, shares that, “Tyze isn’t a social networking business but a “social mission business.” If this continues to be their attitude going forward, Tyze has a bright future. A social media tool that could be used as functional tool improve health and wellness could a great invention for our overwhelmed health care system.

Lessons To Be Learned

Going forward, the future for social media in health care is bright if we manage risks around patient confidentiality. It help medical professionals, families and caregivers provide better care to those in need.

Websites Referenced

1. Social media and Canadian physicians – issues and rules of engagement

2. Tyze

3. Vancouver company creates personal support networks

4. Geek Speak: Emma Cochrane, vice president of Tyze Personal Networks

Submitted by: Jaimie Short, – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo. If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.