It is said that when you travel in space (I have not had the pleasure), even though you may be travelling at a great speed, you wouldn't see stars whizzing by and in fact, you might look out the window and have the sense that you are not moving. The only way you could tell would be to examine your instruments that would give you a different perspective of your velocity and direction.
We are now moving very quickly in this era of communications – more quickly than at any time. When the television was invented, it took over two decades to mainstream. When the i-Pad was released, it took about a month to sell about a million of them. Development is fast and uptake is quick. Yet if we looked out our window, we might not perceive how all of the quick change is progressing and the incredible impact it might have on the way we do things. In some respects, unless we check our instruments, we might not be aware of how fast we are traveling.
One such instrument is Dr. Bertalan Mesko, who is the author of the blog ScienceRoll and who I recently interviewed for Eye on FDA is also the founder of Webicina. By checking his sites, one can gain new perspective on how advances in communications are going to change the way that medicine is practiced and that patients communicate and learn. Webicina is a resource for both physicians and patients who want to explore how Web 2.0 (and by reference 3.0) will change medical education and communication between physicians and patients.
As evidenced by growing physician online communities such as SERMO, which are not unique to the United States, many physicians are realizing that there are inherent advantages to increased digital literacy in the practice of medicine. I think it will only be a matter of time before it is demonstrated that the higher the digital literacy of the physician, there will be a correlation to better patient outcomes.
Why? First, because of speed. The ability to get consultation from other experts can occur much more quickly and efficiently through Web 2.0 tools than through the means offered traditionally. Second, scope – the number of physicians from whom one can get opinions, information, increases not only geometrically, but in some respects, culturally as well. Third, Web 2.0 tools offer a better experience for the patient – in other words – patient centeredness – a hallmark of higher quality – would be greatly enhanced by the nature of e-communications where the patient can get resources and information much more quickly.
Berci's blog offers a great deal on what is current in Medicine 2.0. This week, for example, he posted on The Digital IQ Index in Pharma: Which Brand Rules Social Media? At Webicina, Berci published Web 2.0 Guidance Packages for both physicians and patients and under PeRSSonalized Medicine has created an aggregator for information on medical specialities and conditions.
I am pleased to be on Berci's new Advisory Board because not only is it a good instrument to check and from which I can learn, but it also provides insights into a wealth of opportunities for those who are forward thinking in their own communications to relate to patients and to ensure one's relevance.
Along with me on the advisory board are some impressive resources on the issues affecting e-Medicine, e-Patients and communications:
- Alexandra Carmichael – co-Founder of CureTogether
- Phil Baumann - Blogger and consultant – CareVocate
- Dave deBronkart – e-Patient Dave
- Ves Dimov, M.D. – ClinicalCases.org
- Lucien Engelen – Posterous.com
- Susannah Fox – Pew Internet Research
- Kerri Morrone Sparling – SixUntilMe blogger
- Me – Mark Senak!
- Denise Silber – Denise Silber's Blog
And if you check your instruments, you'll see we are actually moving quite quickly, so don't be complacent.