The Web is full of resources that enable doctors to learn, train, conduct research, etc. A doctor can now ask his colleagues around the world for advice on a difficult clinical case, ask for diagnostic help or simply discuss the various treatment options.
The medical social networks
The online community Sermo – Latin for “conversation” – is similar to Facebook, but for doctors. Here, they can have anonymous conversations, discuss treatment alternatives, share epidemiological observations as well as talking about their working conditions.
Home page Sermo
Another example is Coliquio, a German website where 50.000 doctors get together to reach collaborative medical solutions. This community played a key role when the E. coli bacteria was raging in Europe, by sharing all their knowledge on the subject on this common platform.
In addition to these generalist communities, niche communities are emerging. Their purpose is to create a regularly updated information database in order to prevent the obsolescence of knowledge. One of these niche communities is Radiopaedia, which is a wiki for radiology professionals. Another good example is Eugénol, a community of 20.000 French-speaking dentists.
Serious games: games that translate knowledge into action
‘Serious games’, are entertaining yet educational software. The ones targeting health care professionals aim to put into practice the knowledge acquired by these professionals. Pulse! is a 3D medical simulation that recreates the different steps of a patient’s visit from his arrival to the emergency unit, through the consultation and to the diagnosis. The patient’s reactions are as close to reality as possible and may change depending on the seriousness of his condition and on which decisions the virtual doctor is making.
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The Internet has revolutionized people’s relationship to medical science, and today many people are looking up a problem online. But it’s also a place for learning and knowledge sharing among doctors – What do you think of this evolution? Do you see it as a chance to be better treated in the future?