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Behind the Scenes of Medical Blogs: Clinical Cases and Images

vesdimov.gifI’ve already presented some famous medical bloggers to you. My aim is to get my readers closer to these quality blogs and the bloggers as well. I’d like to convince more and more health professionals/people interested in medicine to create their own blogs by providing interesting “behind-the-scenes” interviews. The tenth blogger in this series is Ves Dimov, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and the author of ClinicalCases.org, a case-based curriculum of medicine, and CasesBlog.

  • How do you find information for your blog? You certainly read other blogs, journals but do you use RSS reader? How many blogs do you track?

Google Reader is my “inbox for the web,” I subscribe to 650 feeds — journals, Pubmed searches, newspapers, blogs and other web sites. I post on the blog when I find something interesting and I use it as a personal archive and educational portfolio.

I subscribe to about 30-40 medical blogs and have 4-5 favorites that are always informative and well grounded. Bloglines was my favorite RSS reader for several years but Google Reader is faster and uses a Google account which allows seamless interoperability with other Google services such as Gmail, Blogger, Bookmarks, and Picasa Web.

  • You are one of the first bloggers who started to write about web 2.0 and medicine. How did you find such a great topic?

Actually, I believe I was the first to write about “Web 2.0 in medicine” (in October 2005) and describe how these new tools can be used by health workers.

Soon after, Dean Giustini and I started to talk about the Web 2.0 possibilities and he wrote the landmark BMJ editorial How Google is changing medicine referring to some of my ideas.

I have been interested in information technology since middle school. After all, I was born in Bulgaria and the first computer was invented by a Bulgarian-American, John Atanasoff, in 1939. Web 2.0 offers an interesting blend between technology and medicine which can benefit both physicians and patients. As I was preparing for Grand Rounds on Web 2.0 in Medicine at Cleveland Clinic in 2005, I assembled a few ideas and published them on my blog and this is how my “formal involvement” started.

  • We know well what a comprehensive database Clinical Cases and Images is, but what about the feedback of the medical journals and professionals? Do medical students and physicians use it?

The impact of Clinical Cases and Images has been well beyond my expectations. The project is an online case-based curriculum of clinical medicine with many contributors which has had more than 1.7 million page views since 2005. It has been featured in multiple scientific journals including British Medical Journal (3 times), Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology,BMC Medical Education, Medscape (2 times), Student BMJ, Medical Journal of Australia and Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Abstracts and posters about the use of Clinical Cases and Images for medical education in different subspecialties have been presented at multiple scientific meetings including but not limited to the annual sessions of American College of Cardiology, American Society of Nephrology, International Association of Medical Science Educators, Society of Hospital Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Annual Perioperative Medicine Summit, and Case Western Reserve University Research ShowCase.

ClinicalCases.org is hyperlinked in the web sites of 25 medical schools in the U.S., Canada and Europe and is integrated within the Intranet and Internet properties of Cleveland Clinic.

I often receive feedback by medical students and physicians mentioning how beneficial the web site was for their education. I could have never imagined such a worldwide impact when I started the project as a chief resident in 2004.

  • How can it be possible that nearly all the real pioneers of medicine 2.0 are based in Cleveland? (AskDrWiki, Clinical Cases and Images, etc)?

Cleveland is a medical city and we have some of the best and brightest working and studying here. It is not very difficult to find people with similar interests especially if you work at Cleveland Clinic which is one of the largest medical institutions in the world with 30,000 employees. Cleveland Clinic Heart Center has been ranked number one in cardiology for 13 years in a row by the U.S. News World Report. Even our CEO has a blog.

  • Do your colleagues know about your work and do they use the tools/services you share with them?

My colleagues, and the students and residents that I teach, are well aware of my Web 2.0 projects. I am a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic medical school and we often use ClinicalCases.org to pull sample cases for teaching sessions. In addition, it is easy to find the original reference of something we discuss — I just need to run a Google custom search on my blog which is also an archive/educational portfolio.

When the idea of using Web 2.0 in medicine was very new, I gave a series of lectures at several hospitals in Cleveland in attempt to popularize the concept starting in October 2005

I created several web sites for different projects and departments at Cleveland Clinic which were underpinned by a blogging platform at least initially:

- Web site of Department of Hospital Medicine at Cleveland Clinic

- Web site of the Annual Perioperative Medicine Summit at Cleveland Clinic

- Persistent search via RSS Feeds for Cleveland Clinic on the front page of the official web site

  • At last, what are your future plans with your blog?

I would like to expand the coverage of Clinical Cases and Images to include more cases from different subspecialties, currently we have about 150. Also, there will be more educational tools like mind maps, mnemonics and clinical notes. Podcasts and Second Life projects are other interesting possibilities. I am planning to write a few short review articles about Web 2.0 tools for the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine which will feature ideas from the web site. At some point, we will probably combine the clinical cases in a book.

It was my honor to interview the real pioneer of medicine and web 2.0. Thank you, Ves Dimov, for the answers!

Behind-the-Scenes interviews so far:

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Western medicine is great but, what about natural medicine?
    My mother has cancer and is being healed naturally. She is freaking her doctors out! she refused chemo and radiation. the large tumor
    that is up against her kidney is now flat,and the tumors she has in
    her armpit , one is gone and the last one is very small now.
    Her doctors tell her ,Carmen you don’t even look like you have cancer.
    How about that ! Prayer and GOD’S natural medicine it works too.
    thank you for some really good articles. Laureng

    September 8, 2007

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