Thursday, October 2, 2008

Touching on Medicine 2.0

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

Medicine 2.0: Social Networking, Collaboration, Participation, Apomediation, and Openness | Eysenbach | Journal of Medical Internet Research
While it may be too early to come up with an absolute definition of Medicine 2.0 or Health 2.0, the figure below shows a suggested framework, created in the context of a call for papers for the purpose of scoping the Medicine 2.0 congress and this theme issue [5]. The program of the first Medicine 2.0 conference [6] also gives a good idea of what academics feel is relevant to the field. An explanation of why we chose the title “Medicine 2.0” over “Health 2.0” has been given elsewhere [4]; it suffices to say at this point that most authors do not necessarily see a significant difference between Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0 [7]—if anything, Medicine 2.0 is the broader concept and umbrella term which includes consumer-directed “medicine” or Health 2.0.

According to the model depicted in this figure, five major aspects (ideas, themes) emerge from Web 2.0 in health, health care, medicine, and science, which will outlive the specific tools and services offered. These emerging and recurring themes are (as displayed in the center of Figure 1):

1) Social Networking,

2) Participation,

3) Apomediation,

4) Collaboration, and

5) Openness.

[view this figure] Figure 1. Medicine 2.0 Map (with some current exemplary applications and services)

While “Web 2.0”, “Medicine 2.0”, and “Health 2.0” are terms that should probably be avoided in academic discourse, any discussion and evaluations concerning the impact and effectiveness of Web 2.0 technologies should be framed around these themes. Each of the 5 themes will be considered in detail below.

Figure 1 also depicts the three main user groups of current Medicine 2.0 applications as a triangle: consumers/patients, health professionals, and biomedical researchers. While each of these user groups have received a different level of “formal” training, even end users (consumer, patients) can be seen as experts and—according to the Web 2.0 philosophy—their collective wisdom can and should be harnessed: “the health professional is an expert in identifying disease, while the patient is an expert in experiencing it” [8].

Current Medicine 2.0 applications can be situated somewhere in this triangle space, usually at one of the corners of the triangle, depending on which user group they are primarily targeting. However, the ideal Medicine 2.0 application would actually try to connect different user groups and foster collaboration between different user groups (for example, engaging the public in the biomedical research process), and thus move more towards the center of the triangle.

Putting it all together, the original definition of Medicine 2.0—as originally proposed in the context of soliciting submissions for the theme issue and the conference—was as follows [5]:

Medicine 2.0 applications, services and tools are Web-based services for health care consumers, caregivers, patients, health professionals, and biomedical researchers, that use Web 2.0 technologies and/or semantic web and virtual-reality tools, to enable and facilitate specifically social networking, participation, apomediation, collaboration, and openness within and between these user groups.

Interestingly, Benjamin Hughes' extensive literature review published in this issue concludes with a very similar definition [7].

There is however also a broader idea behind Medicine 2.0 or “second generation medicine”: the notion that healthcare systems need to move away from hospital-based medicine, focus on promoting health, provide healthcare in people's own homes, and empower consumers to take responsibility for their own health—much in line with what others and I have previously written about the field of consumer health informatics [9] (of which many Medicine 2.0 applications are prime examples). Thus, in this broader sense, Medicine 2.0 also stands for a new, better health system, which emphasizes collaboration, participation, apomediation, and openness, as opposed to the traditional, hierarchical, closed structures within health care and medicine.

Original article here-

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Your post of Medicine 2.0 is current and relevant, thanks for posting. The text posted for "Touching on Medicine 2.0" urgently needs a source. The excerpt was written by a dear friend Dr. Gunther Eysenbach and is published on the Journal of Medical Internet Research here:

    In future, to avoid any confusion, please reference the original sources.

    Best regards,

    Carlos Rizo MD