New Web-based tools, health education and health communication

November 17, 2006

It looks like the Web 2.0 has arrived to the field of health education as far as we can find articles talking about it.

I have read Boulos, M., et al. (2006). “Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education.” BMC Medical Education 6(41): 8 [link]

The paper explores, with examples, some of the current uses of Web 2.0 tools in the education of medical/nursing students, the continuing professional development and education of healthcare professionals, and patient education.

And it is concluded:

If effectively deployed, wikis, blogs and podcasts could offer a way to enhance students’, clinicians’ and patients’ learning experiences, and deepen levels of learners’ engagement and collaboration within digital learning environments. Therefore, research should be conducted to determine the best ways to integrate these tools into existing e-Learning programmes for students, health professionals and patients, taking into account the different, but also overlapping, needs of these three audience classes and the opportunities of virtual collaboration between them. Of particular importance is research into novel integrative applications, to serve as the “glue” to bind the different forms of Web-based collaborationware synergistically in order to provide a coherent wholesome learning experience.

Medical education could be just the beginning and we should pay attention and analize the consequences. But, what about the clinical practice and the relationship between physicians-patients, physicians-physicians and patients-patients?. If we have a new field in health communication as Internet we may think about it not just as a new tool of information and communication but as a new form of social structure.