Introduction

In today’s online world where so much social communication is done via Twitter and Facebook, can medical communication benefit from the interactive web technologies available today?

Background

Web 2.0 describes the second generation of the World Wide Web that allows collaboration and information sharing online. Over the years it has allowed open communication and open sharing of information among Web-based communities. With the enormous amount of medical information available today and the ever-present need to communicate it, it is interesting to see how Web 2.0 and medical communication have come together.

Issue

Is Web 2.0 beneficial to medical communication?

Rule

Web 2.0 is beneficial to medical communication if:

  • Web 2.0 is enabling better accessibility to medical information AND
  • Web 2.0 is allowing medical information to reach a larger audience

Analysis

Web 2.0 is enabling better accessibility to medical information

Due to the enormous amount of information available today on the Web it is easy for users to experience overload. It, therefore, becomes important that information be easily accessible with minimal cognitive effort and time, as a 2011 Journal of Health Communication article suggests. The article also suggests that through interaction, people are providing personal resources to health information. The author mentions a 2009 study that found many people who seek health information online rely on rankings or online reviews of doctors or health care providers (24%) or listening to health or medical podcasts (13%). The collaborative properties of Web 2.0 have allowed additional ways for medical information to be distributed, making it easily accessible to the public.

Web 2.0 is allowing medical information to reach a larger audience

Dr. Scott Weingart, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Elmhurst Hospital Center and associate professor and director of Emergency Department Critical Care at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is embracing the future of medical communication through Web 2.0. Ever since he started converting his resident lectures into podcasts, he has gone from reaching a handful of medical residents to roughly 100,000 per month, with 1.5 million downloads to date. He says the reason he has been able to reach so many users is Twitter. When a new podcast is ready he tweets his followers and instantaneously receives feedback. He also receives feedback by Facebook and other social media sites as well. In this case, social media is an enormously helpful tool as it not only allows him to receive feedback and adjust accordingly, but also allows word to spread if a downloader retweets the podcast. In this way, medical information can be communicated to a much larger set of users.

Conclusion

Since Web 2.0 is enabling better accessibility to medical information and allowing medical information to reach a larger audience, it is beneficial to medical communication.

For more information on this issue, contact the Kulkarni Law Firm.