Web 2.0 is changing the face of medicine.
As shown in the video, doctors are now treating epatients, a breed of engaged health information consumers who nevertheless face challenges coping with the onslaught of online health information, not all of which is credible. Doctors and other health care providers also have to contend with a similar onslaught of information in their own fields. The doctor-patient relationship of the future, as shown in this excellent slideshare presentation by Dr. Bertalan Meskó, is already part of the health care landscape.
What does this mean for medical education?
As noted by Dr. Meskó, medical students (and doctors) need to learn how to navigate this new health care landscape with efficiency, creating personal learning networks that make the best use of their time. They need to tap into the knowledge bases of others, using new methods like:
- RSS readers
- microblogging (Twitter, miio)
- new mobile applications
- social networks
They also have to grow comfortable with the fact that an increasing number of their patients are making good use of these tools. They need to be able to interact with patients who are bringing them their own internet research and who are going online in patient communities where user-generated content can create both empowerment and confusion.
Some inroads being made
Webicina is a web resource that can be used by both medical professionals and empowered patients (with specific resources for each audience).
You can install the Webicina toolbar on your browser.
It comes with handy dropdown menus (not shown in this illustration) that quickly let you dive into a subject of interest and it’s a useful tool to help you filter online health information depending on your level of expertise.
While medicine 2.0 may be trickling into medical education curriculums, at least one innovative approach to medical learning has surfaced—Medicine and the Web 2.0. It’s an online course that’s covered the lesson topics describe in Dr. Mesko’s slideshare presentation (everything from “How to use RSS” to “Medicine in Second Life”). While the course is almost over now, I hope it’s a continuing effort and that there are many more courses like this one.