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Medicine 2.0: the impact of web 2.0 on healthcare?

Wel­come to the 30th edi­tion of Med­i­cine 2.0, the blog car­ni­val devoted to arti­cles that ana­lyze the cur­rent and poten­tial impact of web 2.0 tech­nolo­gies on med­i­cine and healthcare.

“Med­i­cine 2.0″ 101

The first ques­tion is, of course, “What exactly is Med­i­cine 2.0?”. The sec­ond, “Who cares?”. The third, “Why?”

Anthro­pol­o­gists are here to help. Who bet­ter to help under­stand emerg­ing arti­facts of the health and med­ical tribe, as evi­denced by the fan­tas­tic lec­ture An Anthro­po­log­i­cal Intro­duc­tion To Youtube given to the Library of Con­gress by Pro­fes­sor Michael Wesch. As Open Think­ing sug­gests, the video which is 55 min­utes long pro­vides an “excel­lent back­grounder on social media, user-generated con­tent, and online com­mu­ni­ties through the lens of anthropology.”

If you are more the Pow­er­Point type, you can access the great slide pre­sen­ta­tion and list of web­sites pro­vided by eHealth: see Web 2.0 in Clin­i­cal Research.

The Future of Med­i­cine and Health 2.0

Admit­tedly, the Med­i­cine 2.0 field is still small and emerg­ing. But, how will it grow? What new health­care out­comes will it enable and sup­port? What may be the trade-offs to con­sider, if any?

The Health­care Blog offers a . “What makes these efforts par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing is that, through a col­lab­o­ra­tive Web-based process, they attempt to dis­till and doc­u­ment the cur­rent best knowl­edge about any topic. In health care, the goal is eas­ily acces­si­ble state-of-the-science infor­ma­tion, the equiv­a­lent of ongo­ing medical/scientific review arti­cles that detail what we know and don’t know about life and care processes.”

For exam­ple, have you ever thought why, if sci­en­tific knowl­edge is con­stantly evolv­ing, muse­ums of sci­ence and med­i­cine do not update their con­tent more often? Bio­med­i­cine on Dis­play out­lines visions for The par­tic­i­pa­tory museum what’s a med­ical museum 2.0 like?, includ­ing a superb ques­tions, “How can our exhi­bi­tions be per­pet­ual beta rather than finished?”

Now, par­tic­i­pat­ing in defin­ing and updat­ing exhi­bi­tions, vs. sim­ply act­ing as pas­sive spec­ta­tors, will trans­late into a neu­ronal impact on museum vis­i­tors’ brains, strength­en­ing some cog­ni­tive skills and weak­en­ing oth­ers. We can expect The Atlantic Monthly to pub­lish an arti­cle in, say, 5 years, ask­ing Is Med­i­cine 2.0 Mak­ing Us Stu­pid? In sup­port of this pre­dic­tion, you may enjoy our Sharp­Brains post on Can Google Kill Neu­rons and Rewire Your Whole Brain?

Tools and more Tools

Med­i­cine 2.0 is pred­i­cated on the emer­gence of tools that enable inter­ac­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in ways that sim­ply were not pos­si­ble a few years ago.

Dig­i­tal Pathol­ogy Blog asks pre­sent­ing this sce­nario: “For exam­ple, the iPhone shows a graphic of a slice of the human brain. It allows the med stu­dent to see 10 push pins on dif­fer­ent parts of the brain, click on each one, and attempt to cor­rectly name each fea­ture. If the answer is wrong, the cor­rect answer is dis­played so the med stu­dent can learn from that mis­take. A med­ical school stu­dent using this soft­ware on his iPhone approached one of the doc­tors involved in its devel­op­ment and said “I learned 10 new anatom­i­cal terms today while wait­ing for the bus.

Man­ag­ing and pro­cess­ing infor­ma­tion will become as crit­i­cal as breath­ing air. Effi­cient MD sug­gests ways to store, cat­e­go­rize and retrieve infor­ma­tion from a vari­ety of online and printed sources with How Doc­tors Can Use Ever­note, while Tomog­ra­phy Blog lists spe­cific search engines for Diag­nos­tic Imag­ing.

There’s more. Allan’s Library points out tools for Mak­ing Aca­d­e­mic Web Sites Bet­ter, and David Roth­man intro­duces us to Seman­ticMED­LINE, a new tool from Cog­ni­tion Technologies.

How do all these tools change the day-to-day prac­tices of clin­i­cians and researchers? Dr. Mouse, a Peru­vian sur­geon, explains (in Span­ish) Como Uso Web 2.0 en Mi Prac­tica Med­ica — how web 2.0 is already enhanc­ing his research and clin­i­cal practice.

Chal­lenges, A Few

Don’t for­get, patients and your future employ­ers will find what you pub­lish about your­self and your life on the web. So use it wisely ” Wise words of advice in Web vs real life: Advice for med­ical stu­dents from Berta­lan at Sci­enceRoll.

Clin­i­cal Cases and Images pro­vides the con­text, cov­er­ing a recent neg­a­tive study, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Gen­eral Inter­nal Med­i­cine, that ques­tioned poten­tial patient pri­vacy issues and con­flicts of inter­est. See Con­tent of Weblogs Writ­ten by Health Pro­fes­sion­als: More Bad than Good?

Sci­ence in the Open reports from Bio­Bar­Camp — Meet­ing friends old and new and vir­tual, how, while “many peo­ple expressed an inter­est in Open Sci­ence Open Data, or some other open stuff,” it was clear that “many peo­ple meant many dif­fer­ent things by this”. Estab­lish­ing commonly-accepted def­i­n­i­tions, stan­dards and poli­cies will be a must.

Also a must will be upgrad­ing to exist­ing tech­nolo­gies. This is a not-so-easy task. Crossover Health explaisn in Dude! The $100M VistA Open Source Oppor­tu­nity: “What the heck — $11B project with­out any of this stuff in place, no clear plan, no direc­tion, no peo­ple to do the work, and con­stant changes.”

Finally, in case you won­der whether Twit­ter is mature enough for wide pro­fes­sional adop­tion, Laika’s MedLi­bLog thinks per­haps not yet: Twit­ter Trau­mas: Twitter’s Janus Face.

Final Details

And that’s all for this edi­tion. Michelle vs the Med Stu­dent will host next one on August 24th. You can sub­mit your arti­cles through the offi­cial form.

In the mean­time, you can par­tic­i­pate in the Med­i­cine 2.0 Micro­car­ni­val Launch!, the lat­est exper­i­ment launched by Berta­lan on Friendfeed.

Enjoy the week!

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