Web and health 2.0 : What is web 2.0 to us physicians?

in CME/Medicine/Opportunities/Social Media by

I’ve been asked several times by colleagues and friends alike what do I get from blogging and joining social networks as a physician-surgeon. My honest to goodness answer was,

I’m dabbling at web 2.0 tools to enhance my practice, my delivery of health care and sometimes, earn from sponsored ads.

I get blank stares when I mentioned web 2.0 but the words “earn” seem to catch astute ears. I usually don’t get enough talking time to expound on this, especially with the web 2.0 and health 2.0 part. Thus, I am making a series of posts to elucidate what web 2.0 is to us physicians and how is it changing the medical practice and our delivery of health care. (Forget the earning part, the web is replete with how-tos on this topic)

I must warn physicians reading these series of posts, that even if I try to be as concise and simple in my explanations, a few thoughts may sound technical to those unfamiliar with the digital lingo. Try copying the word or phrase that you don’t understand and place it in the Google search bar and click search. You will be surprised by the heaps of explanations and answers to your queries.

I understand that despite the increasing trend of physicians using the internet, most physicians here in my country knew a little beyond emails, online medical and entertainment news (please correct me if I’m wrong here). A few, more engaging doctors knew about the powers of Google-ing. But learning web 2.0 (and its tools) to enhance your practice will need a lot more than line reading and the “I’m always busy I don’t have time for this” attitude most physicians here succumbed. If this is your learning perspective, I suggest you don’t bother reading this post and return to your usual mode of practice and lose an opportunity to enhance your delivery of health care. You wouldn’t even know what you’ve missed anyway.

Going back, here are the basic questions I’ll try to answer:

  1. Whats web 2.0 anyway?
  2. How is it different from web 1.0?
  3. What are those web 2.0 tools you are talking about?
  4. Whats web 2.0 to medicine and how is it changing the medscape?
  5. Is it here to stay or will there be a web 3.0 and so on?

I’ll answer the first two question in this post and the other questions in my succeeding posts related to web and health 2.0

Web 2.0 is a concept (or a tool) describing the use of internet (world wide web) and web designs (or platforms) to ENHANCE creativity, communication, collaboration, sharing, security and functionality of the internet. I also must add that this concept imply that such tools will be used to attain certain goals that may differ (or converge) to many individuals or groups taking advantage of it. Improvement of health care delivery is just one of it. Here’s a sideshow of what web 2.0 is all about.

Web 2.0

View more presentations from satyajeet_02. (tags: internet 2.o)

Ironically, web 1.0 ‘s definition is an offshoot of web 2.0- to contrast what web 2.0 is all about. But the salient points are ; web 1.0 is static, not interactive and is proprietary. Note the direct contrast of these two concepts. Nonetheless, it is safe to say web 2.0 is an evolutionary cousin ( or revolution) of web 1.0 in the net.

Take note of the words internet collaboration, improvement and user empowerment. Democratization of the net is another personality of this concept. To some these are the distinction of web 2.0 to web 1.0. And that’s where the powers of web 2.0 lies. It is within our capabilities as physicians to grab this tool and opportunity to improve our practice and delivery of health care.

This answer the queries what physicians can do with their online: No it’s not just about advertising your profiles and online directories. It’s not just emails and one way communication. It’s not even just the act of putting up a website for your practice and doing nothing about it. More than that,Web 2.0 tools allows us better collaboration, communication, feedback (between patients and physicians for example) and improvement of health services. And here in the Philippines, we haven’t taken off from web 1.0 yet!

I’ll discus web 2.0 tools in my subsequent posts.

(For additional readings on web 2.0 read the web 2.0 wiki or O’Reilly Media’s article on web 2.0. For articles regarding internet usage of physicians, kindly read the results of this research)

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).