March 18, 2011

Maybe medical professionals just don't have the time to be socially oriented.

An interesting article from 2010 reviewed some of the basic web 2.0 tools for anesthesia education and clinical practice:
Chu LF, Young C, Zamora A, Kurup V, & Macario A (2010). Anesthesia 2.0: internet-based information resources and Web 2.0 applications in anesthesia education. Current opinion in anaesthesiology, 23 (2), 218-27 PMID: 20090518

It concluded stating: 

The ‘Anesthesia 2.0’ concept should be broadly adopted by educators and focus on free access to medical education materials using an ‘open-access’ model while encouraging collaboration though the power of Web 2.0 social networking features.
I think there is a lot of enthusiastic expectations in the web 2.0 tools, but we are very far away from the "social revolution" that online geeks preach.

On one side medical professionals probably need an appropriate training in web skills.

The previous articles referred:
A recent study deploying online questionnaires to 3000 medical students and 3000 medical practitioners concluded that, whereas awareness of Web 2.0 technology was high, actual usage of such technology among respondents was low. The majority of respondents expressed an interest in using Web 2.0 technology for educational purposes, but expressed a desire for training in its usage.
From: Sandars J, Schroter S. Web 2.0 technologies for undergraduate and post-graduate medical education: an online survey. Postgrad Med J 2007;

But on the other hand the web still doesn't offer many content tools for health professionals, in a way that can change their daily practices. 
At least what it offers, majorly isn't socially oriented and free.

Let me make some examples:

1. - A medical student wishes to study the latest histological classification of tumors. Is there an online database? The only up to date solution seems to buy a IARC paper publication for US$ 135.00.

2. - A general practitioner reads a TNM report and wants to remember what the T2 of a certain organ stands for, according to the latest staging system. The AJCC and UICC offer (few!) online tools: the major attention is on the paper published texts. 

3. - Today PDFs can be easily stored and accessed via web from any computer / mobile platform. But an authoritative and social oriented platform to discuss the results and host online journal clubs is missing. 

Authoritative medical education resources sure need to expand their horizons (including integrating more easily accessible content and social tools to exchange thoughts and initiate discussions) but maybe medical professionals just don't have the time to be socially oriented. 

I would like to read your opinion.