July 12, 2011

The missing social medical learning platform that could change clinical practice

Here is the point. I can share megabytes of media with my friends and colleagues via facebook, twitter, google plus and similar social platforms, but when it comes to making my social network a learning network, I struggle.

I like to keep track and quantify my habits and learning experiences. For example I can log and share the books I have read via aNobii and many other alternative platforms. I can surf other people's libraries, check my taste compatibility based on the reciprocal books and ratings, get in touch, discover interesting new authors, follow updates.

But I am really not a book worm. I am obliged by passion and duty to be a "journal-paper worm", which takes a considerable amount of my time.

Online services and apps have been developed for pdf organizing & sharing, but if building an online journal club can be challenging, making a medical social learning step forward seems impossible at the moment.

What I am saying is that I would appreciate an aNobii-like platform where I could log all the papers I read, see who else has studied or skimmed specific ones, and be able to interact in this way with other social web oriented students, scientists, academics an doctors that have a similar "library" or collection.

Discussions need to be developed directly on a specific paper's page, not in un organized anarchic groups, especially when it comes to clinical trials that could change from one day to another clinical practice.

We like, rate, digg, retweet and +1 online content. Why isn't this happening with journal papers and important studies? Google's new trend is to bring search to be "social" in a way that relevant content is highlighted more efficiently and personalized. I think that Medicine has a really concerning information overload issue, and that, in this field in particular, relevant content needs to be delivered fast, time efficiently and be ready to be discussed and analyzed among every student's and doctor's "social (learning) nertwork".

Mendeley and F1000 both embrace, in different ways, (just!) tiny bits of what I think could be the ideal online social learning platform for medical sciences. I think there is a certain urgency and demand to build it as soon as possible. It would be an enourmous leap forward for social collaboration and communication among health care practioners, which obviously would translate in a better clinical practice.

Thanks for your attention, I hope you are willing to share your thoughts.

Picture Credit: CC Flickr user Kasaa

p.s. if you want to develop something similar to what I have brainstormed, please feel free to contact me if you want me on your consulting team.