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December 22, 2006

Health Care and Web 2.0

You've probably heard the new tech buzzword Web 2.0. What is it really? Here is an article from Wikipedia that describes it:

Wikipedia: Web 2.0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2

Wikipedia is itself an example of the basic Web 2.0 concepts -- dynamic, flexible information resources shaped and constructed by the communities that desire, need and use them.

The profession of dentistry is particularly well-positioned to benefit from Web 2.0. Many years ago, when I was applying for my job here, it was obvious that the profession was on the cusp of major change both in its practice, educational methods, and information infrastructure. Much of this was (and is) driven by economic factors. Eight years later, much has changed in publishing methods, many major journals have switched to more economic publishing models (such as online only), but this will only be the beginning.

Web 2.0 is known for empowering the little and enabling the "long tail". In other words, even if there isn't much of a market for whatever you're selling, with effective use of Web 2.0 tools, you have a darn good chance of maximising whatever market there is. Dentistry is a small profession in comparison to the large academic medical centers and large research hospitals. A dentist once told me that the profession is full of cowboys and lone rangers -- independent free thinkers. Well, on the Internet frontier, those are exactly the type of folks who make the most out of Web 2.0, but they do it by collaborating with each other.

Dean Giustini is well known as a blogger on medical libraries and search engines. Tomorrow's issue of BMJ includes an editorial by Dean about trends in medical information as impacted by the Web 2.0 interactive applications. An interesting essay and worth a quick read.

D. Giustini. "How Web 2.0 is changing medicine -- Is a medical wikipedia the next step?" BMJ 2006;333:1283-1284 (23 December):

Posted by pfa at December 22, 2006 01:52 PM


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