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Internet in Medicine: 2000 vs 2010

Whenever I talk about using social media in medicine to doctors, they seem to think there are more cons than pros regarding this issue. Well, I like reminding them about some major differences between 2000 and nowadays.

What would I do if in 2000 Now
I need clinical answer Try to find a collegue who knows it Post a question on Twitter
I want to hear patient story about a specific condition Try to find a patient in my town Read blogs, watch Youtube
I want to be up-to-date Go to the library once a week Use RSS and follow hundreds of journals
I want to work on a manuscript with my team We gather around the table Use Google Docs without geographical limits

Here is what Web, MD looked like in 2000 and what it looks like now:

Web MD in 2000

Web MD today

The same for the website of the British Medical Journal:

BMJ in 2000

BMJ today

CNN in 2002

CNN today, the physician network: in 2006 today

Healthline: in 2000 today

Mayo Clinic:

Mayo Clinic in 2000

Mayo Clinic today

There is a long road behind us and just imagine how these services will look like in 10 years time. Which means, obviously, there is an even longer road ahead of us. We must keep on working hard to design a better healthcare and to implement more efficient communication channels in medicine.

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hello Berci,
    Looking back through your twitter stream I see very few clinical questions so either you know everything or you are still looking at other resources. Which is it? Personally, I like many doctors, rarely if ever ask clinical questions on twitter, preferring to instead consult trusted colleagues or access good information sources through websites such as
    I am very interested in your perspective on hearing patient stories though. I’d like to talk more about that.

    November 1, 2010
  2. Hello Anne,

    I meant whenever I have a clinical question, I have two choices:

    1) Start looking for someone at the clinic who “might” have the answer.

    2) Ask the question on Twitter where I have thousands of MP followers.

    I have one good example for you:



    November 1, 2010
    • Anonymous #

      I agree that you have a choice but how often do you use that choice apart from in this example? I am suggesting that to use twitter to get clinical advice would be extremely unusual and I can see little evidence that you do it often.

      November 1, 2010
  3. Interesting post, Berci. Sometimes when you watch something grow and you see it constantly, you don’t appreciate how much it’s changed. These screenshots offer needed perspective over time. Thanks!

    November 1, 2010
  4. Thank you, Elaine, for this point! That was my goal!

    November 1, 2010
  5. Looking at these changes makes me think how right Jakob Nielsen was all those years ago when he said websites should adhere to standard ways of navigation and presenting information. It has taken a while but it’s nice to see a bit less ‘innovation’ in web design on health sites.

    November 8, 2010
  6. KC #

    Berci, nice post. Thanks for reminding us indeed how far we have come in the digital realm in only 10 years. My question is, if you are looking for a recent review article on (say) HbA1c and glucose control in adult patients with Type 2 DM… would you put that out on Twitter or just do a search on PubMed or a site like

    If you only had 5 minutes to find an authoritative source, which of the above resources would you choose?

    (uuh… guess you can you tell I’m a librarian)

    November 18, 2010
  7. Hi!

    Well, if I need the newest peer-reviewed information focusing on this particular issue, I’d choose Pubmed. If relevancy is more important, I’d choose Google Scholar.

    If I know I have been building a network of medical professionals for enough time on Twitter and I’m trying to find out their feedback/input on this matter, I’d send a short message on Twitter.

    That’s how I operate :)

    November 18, 2010
  8. What a pleasant surprise to scroll to the bottom of this post and see that you featured insights from my brilliant boss, Lee Rainie!

    I started a post last year that looks back at Pew Internet’s health research over the last decade. Here’s what I had for the year 2000:

    Report: The Online Health Care Revolution

    • 46% of American adults had access to the internet
    • 5% of U.S. households had broadband connections
    • 25% of American adults looked online for health information

    • Half of health searches are on behalf of someone else

    • was our example of a commercial health site

    Instead of finishing that post I wrote the speech I delivered at the Mayo Transform Symposium (“The Power of Mobile”) but maybe I’ll dig into it again for the new year. Our 2001 report was about health privacy online (shiver).

    December 30, 2010
  9. Berci,
    we’ve come a long way since 2000. As a followup on seeking clinical answers online, how do you view the value of proprietary data sources like UpToDate versus Google Scholar or Twitter? Do you think these proprietary products are on the way out thanks to disruptive innovations? Even though they are vetted and peer reviewed?

    December 30, 2010
  10. Thank you, John, for the comment and for the question.

    I believe that the value of these resources only depends on personal preferences. As I’ve been searching medical content a lot for years, I can judge the quality of a particular medical resource even if I find it through Twitter. But I understand that many medical professionals need resources that are curated such as UpToDate or Webicina. That’s why we have to provide them with these.

    So in my opinion, in the era of social media, peer-review information is not only available through peer-reviewed resources, but we must be able to assess the quality of online medical content whereever we find them.

    December 30, 2010
  11. For any medication it is not advisable to go online with twitter or RSS or sites. To have information online is handy. Web MD is great health information site. You have nicely put the transformation in the decade and how people thinking changed in these days.

    February 6, 2011
  12. great publish, i obviously enjoy this amazing site, keep on it.

    March 31, 2011
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    March 31, 2011
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    July 22, 2011
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  16. Nice article! thanks for sharing information

    October 24, 2011
  17. seo #

    Great blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

    January 31, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 2010 Autumn Semester Week 8: New Media in Medicine and Education 2.0 « The First University Course About Medicine and Web 2.0
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