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Open Letter to the Physicians of the World

Dear Medical Professionals,

I’m writing to you to describe why to use web 2.0’s features in your practice.

I’m pretty sure web 2.0, the new generation of web services, will play an important role in the future of medicine. These web tools, expert-based community sites, medical blogs and wikis can ease the work of physicians, scientists, medical students or medical librarians. We, medical bloggers, believe the new generation of web services will change the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered.


In the field of medicine, the most important thing is to get the right information in time. With the tools, services and sites of web 2.0, it’s getting easier and even more comfortable. Those physicians, who want to be up-to-date in their fields, should be open to the improvements and new opportunities of the world wide web.

Let’s take a look at how you can use these tools in your own practice.

Most physicians and scientists I know, go back to PubMed from time to time and search for the old terms to see whether there are new additions to the database. If you use the Save Search function, you can get your PubMed updates via e-mail or RSS. You don’t have to search again and again, just sit back and wait for the next letter containing the newest articles in your field.

If you have to track more and more papers and online journals, then you should start using RSS. It’s the best and most comfortable way of getting the selected information automatically what means you can read the articles of medical journals in one place.


Medical blogs (web log or internet diary) provide content and express opinion on healthcare that you can never find in a medical paper. As there are plenty of medical blogs out there, and you definitely don’t have enough time to run through all of these blogs and other sites, so blog carnivals are created for you! These carnivals collect the best posts on a subject from time to time.

Reading blogs is even easier and more comfortable with podcasts and videocasts. A podcast is a portable audio file (a videocast is a video file) that you can listen to while working, doing exercises or just sitting in a traffic jam. And these are just some examples of the features of web 2.0, or the so-called medicine 2.0.

You can also take part in constructing the future of medical education in Second Life, the virtual world. Train medical students and nurses in the virtual medical center.


You can browse among the great medical wikis created and maintained by physicians from around the world (you may start with Ask Dr Wiki). These are databases specifically constructed for physicians who are not IT experts but would like to search easily for medical terms. Moreover, search engines (like Google, Yahoo) don’t select among sources, so many of the medical search results can’t be relevant. But medical search engines use peer-reviewed sources and sites selected by experts providing the most relevant and reliable medical information of the best quality.

Web 2.0 is based on communities and collaboration, that’s why you should join one of the best medical communities at Ask a mentor or become a mentor. Upload your CV and find collaborators from around the world, or find a job via this community.

I hope you’re going to be open to these opportunities and you’re going to understand why it’s so crucial to use these tools to keep yourself perfectly up-to-date in your field. Let me know please if you have any kind of questions or would like to know more about these tricks and methods. I’m looking forward to reading your answer.


Bertalan Meskó
Medical Student
Medical and Health Science Centre
University of Debrecen

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. peterbeck33 #

    Very nice review! And thank you for the hyperlink for “podcasts.”

    Not only will Web 2.0 technology be useful for physicians keeping current, but it will also help physicians maintain and develop better relationships with their patients.

    Insurance and organizational/political changes in American medicine will continue to fragment traditional methods of healthcare delivery, by increasing the financial burdens on both patients and physicians. This tendency can be counteracted by providing greater informational value to patients, in an accessible form. Web 2.0 developments make this possible more easily than ever before.

    Sharing approved medical websites, publicizing a practice’s (or the provider’s) strengths and interests, forwarding links to thought provoking articles and videos — and getting similar feedback from your patients, to share all around — these are just a few examples of what Web 2.0 can do to build a dynamic sense of community in a medical practice, to promote and stabilize it beyond the few minutes a year that patients typically contact their physicians.

    Peter Beck, MD

    October 7, 2007
  2. Thank you, Peter, very valuable comment! I plan to create a page for this purpose, could I quote you in that? :)

    October 7, 2007
  3. Max #

    Bertalan, excellent exposition about the power of web 2.0 in medicine. It’s very exciting to see these discussions taking place; there really is so much innovation that will happen over the next few years in terms of consolidating and facilitating “communal intelligence” over the web. Look forward to your continual commentary and participation! :)

    October 7, 2007
  4. Bertalan — you bet, please do.

    In essence, in situations like America’s, where what used to be assumed (wide ranging, largely paid for healthcare) may no longer be, patients will need to assume more of their own costs, and thus will become more selective — more choosy “consumers” — of their healthcare resources. Plus, more patients, especially younger ones, will be doing their research on MD’s and hospitals online.

    Put that together, and MD’s who are Web 2.0 savvy will have a distinct edge over their non-Internet based colleagues, both in recruiting new patients AND retaining existing ones. The change is slow, but has definitely started.

    Peter Beck, MD

    October 8, 2007
  5. Thank you so much, Max! Tiromed is one of the leading services in this field.

    Peter, your last sentence describes what this whole medicine 2.0 field is about! It’s perfect!

    October 8, 2007
  6. Hi, Berci. Thanks for your post, I will put a link to it on my blog (hopefully, some of the physicians at my institutions will read it and be convinced to jump into Medicine 2.0!)

    Last weekend, the Washington Post published an article about Second Life and how it has improved the lives of real-life people whose health has been impaired. This article can be viewed at:


    October 9, 2007
  7. Creaky15, thank you for the kind words! Your support is much appreciated!

    I bookmarked the WP link and will write about it soon.

    October 9, 2007
  8. thank you , ive been looking for an article like this for quite some time

    January 30, 2010
  9. I think Web 2.0 developments make this possible more easily than ever before.

    April 13, 2010
  10. It’s very exciting to see these discussions taking place; there really is so much innovation that will happen over the next few years in terms of consolidating…

    April 13, 2010
  11. ive been looking for an article like this for quite some time

    April 3, 2011
  12. thank you , i’ve been looking for an article like this for quite some time

    September 24, 2011
  13. Thanks for this post!
    We think web 2.0 it´s and incredible tool to know how ever.

    October 13, 2015

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