GHF2008 – PS26 – Health Knowledge at the Age of Web 2.0

Session Outline

Parallel session PS26, Tuesday, May 27 2008, 11:00-12:30, Room 4
Chair(s): Antoine Geissbühler, Head of Medical Informatics Division, University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland & Hans Hoffmann, CERN, Switzerland 
Public Health Capacity-Building and Web 2.0: The Peoples-Uni
Richard Heller, Coordinator, Peoples-Uni, UK
Web 2.0 for Health: Tools, Hype and Perspectives
Miguel Cabrer, Independent eHealth Consultant, IRC, Spain 
Construction and Validation of Clinical Guidelines in French-Speaking Africa: Is Web 2.0 a Relevant Tool?
Didier Wernli, Division of Medical Informatics, University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland, Beat Stoll, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Behavioural Knowledge in Healthcare Professions
Marc-André Raetzo, Director, Onex Medical Group, Switzerland
Trustworthiness at the Age of the Web 2.0 
Celia Boyer, Executive Director, Health On the Net Foundation, Switzerland

Session Documents

[Download not found]
[Download not found]
[Download not found]
[Download not found]
[Download not found]

Session Report

Contributors: Jimena Lazarte (ICVolunteers), Fabio Weissert (ICVolunteers)

Wikipedia.org is one of the collaborative online resources, where volunteers generate and check contents.

Wikipedia - a website that indiscriminately allows users to contribute, edit and publish information - is only one of the most widely known champions of the Web 2.0 generation. The unprecedented social networking possibilities of Web 2.0 are opening the doors of the Information Development Industry to anyone connected to the internet. Will online collaboration in the development and dissemination of health knowledge flood the internet with false and potentially dangerous information, or can we harness the Web 2.0 spirit to improve universal access? Can we harness Web 2.0 for health knowledge and, if so, how? Are we heading towards Medicine 2.0?

There is a wealth of educational resources freely available on the Internet. Professor Richard Heller described how the Peoples-Uni (Edinburgh, UK) is using these resources to help build Public Health capacity in low- to middle-income countries by recruiting volunteers to develop and deliver courses that integrate these resources into an educational context, and which are less expensive than University courses in the North.

In the collaborative spirit of Web 2.0, participating students are encouraged to partake in the development, refinement and delivery of future courses. A pilot project covering maternal mortality suggests that this method of capacity-building has considerable potential; however, generational gaps and limited Internet access are some of the obstacles that will have to be overcome if the concept of Web 2.0 is to realize its full potential.

Miguel Cabrer, an independent eHealth advisor, assessed Web 2.0's impact on healthcare. Social networking between health professionals, biomedical researchers and consumers has led to the creation of the new Health 2.0 space, which is composed of different interactive healthcare communities.

At the healthcare consumer level, early adopters of 'social tech' include the American Diabetes Association's message boards and the Revolution Health social network. Sermo, in turn, is an online community that permits physicians to "exchange clinical insights, observations, and review cases in real time". Among other projects Mr. Cabrer is running the MDPIXX portal on which physicians can "exchange medical images and videos, create clinical cases, search for content and discuss them".

Content control, health tourism and the protection of personal health records are some of the challenges faced by Health 2.0.

Marc-André Raetzo, of Group Médical d'Onex, stressed that "knowledge should be knowledge in action". While medical knowledge is principally taught in a descriptive way (diseases), the healthcare community in the field mostly handles complaints by patients, which call for practical knowledge and pragmatism.

Medical reasoning and decision analysis should therefore be part of medical teaching; they are especially important in circumstances where only limited or no diagnostic resources are available. Guidelines and tools are needed to train physicians to gather information in cases without diagnosis and to allow them to take a treatment decision.

Didier Wernli (University of Geneva Hospitals), Marc-André Raetzo, of Group Médical d'Onex and Beat Stoll, of Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine in Geneva, analysed the Web 2.0's relevancy for the construction and validation of clinical guidelines in French speaking Africa.

As medical literature is chiefly produced in rich, Western countries, where ample means for diagnosis and care are available, existing scientific data oftentimes is not accurate for African countries, given their health resource constraints. In order to help physicians to practice efficient medicine and to take appropriate decisions under so much uncertainty, Wernli and his fellow researchers decided to transpose their "Docteur j'ai..." decision tools and guidelines to the tropical context.

To create and discuss a decision tree for four frequent clinical situations, they relied on i-path, a Web 2.0 tool consisting of a discussion group with limited access for partners in Francophone Africa. Not all discussion entry points proved equally successful in initiating discussion, probably due to reticence against 'Western' guidelines and public exposure when debating online. Despite these difficulties, this Web 2.0 approach fostered debate among different experts in different continents, showed that guidelines should be adapted to specific contexts and gave an idea about the Web 2.0's potential for continuous education. Lack of internet access and insufficient computer skills to use these interactive resources remain a problem.

Célia Boyer, of the Health on the Net Foundation, addressed the question of quality control of (health) content on the Web, an 'old issue' which now faces new challenges with the advent of the Web 2.0. This enables virtually everybody to publish and edit information, and, to create websites, wikis and blogs, etc. As potentially millions of users may freely edit, add and erase information, the crucial question becomes "how can you trust the information there?"

To gauge the reliability of Web content, we therefore need to establish standards and guidelines for certification, the most recognised of which is the HONcode. However, in view of the time certification takes and the sheer volume of health-related content on the Internet, it is a good idea to complement this approach with Web 2.0 tools, such as collaborative tagging (Folksonomy) and the concept of a network of knowledge and confidence (friend-of-a-friend paradigm).

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply