Doctors and the Web
The figure of the doctor changes over time, the duty to treat remains unchanged. Change the approach and knowledge of the disease with the means that technology offers, more and more sophisticated and precise. The need for updating is an indispensable condition for medical practice and the resources offered by the Web improve and facilitate the communicative aspect of the profession.
In the history of the Web there have been various forms of communication, whose evolution has been proportional to the progress of information technology.
The Forum is the first platform for discussion on the Web. The Forum Administrator proposes a topic that is discussed by users. The moderator evaluates the comments and decides their publication based on consistency with the main topic. This is a textual and asynchronous platform because the comment can be written at different times.
The Blog, enriched by multimedia elements, began to be favored at the Forum and, since the beginning of 2000, for almost a decade, spread like wildfire on the Web. The blog is similar to the newspaper article. Multimedia elements make reading more pleasant and detailed. The average language is poor, the texts are written without any planning or revision. Qualitatively better results are found in thematic and literary blogs, probably because they are produced by professionals.
In 2008 the Blog crisis begins due to the development of the Communities. Doctors are not receptive to this change. Interaction and sharing are the new essential characteristics of online communities. The big news introduced by Facebook starts from the users’ need to interact and share common topics based on social bonds. Asynchronous forms of communication such as Forums and Blogs are replaced by ‘synchronous’ forms such as Chat and Update Status in which the discussion between users takes place instantly.
The birth of the Social Network coincides with that of Facebook. Other social networks, although different in form and content, like Twitter and Linkedin develop rapidly, highlighting this desire for global communication with a broad social base.
The rapid diffusion of social networks has a great impact on our lives and raises questions about their usefulness and above all the limits. The first judgment is undoubtedly positive. Being part of a social network with a billion subscribers can have many advantages. Finding friends, being appreciated for an article or a photo published, you can enjoy. Highlighting an event can be useful. Looking more closely at the social phenomenon, one realizes, for example, that Facebook is open to all users aged 13 and over. The medical professional accesses you by social choice, not for the professional one. Is it ethical for a doctor to present clinical photos or discuss diagnostic and therapeutic topics in a network with such a broad social base? Is it possible to discuss a clinical case? Is it possible to publish a video of a surgical procedure?
From these considerations (here made for the medical class, but valid for any other professional) the concept of social networks has evolved towards the definition of Sectoral Networks, specific to the type and common interests of registered users.
In 2011 Social4Med was created, a medical network, with the typical structure of the social network, dedicated to doctors and companies in the health sector. In the definition of medical network the possibility of sectorising even more the many specialties present in Medicine was discussed.
In 2012 Social4Med, creates 55 specialties as many networks (one for each School of Specialization according to MIUR, the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research) within a single large medical network.
The Doctor today has, on the Web, many important and powerful communication possibilities that can be used, evaluated and managed for the professional activity.
The SICCH (Italian Society of Cardiac Surgery) was one of the first Scientific Societies to have the foresight and the courage to ‘open up’ to the Web by integrating the official website (indispensable, ‘static’) with the most widespread and important networks (synchronous, ‘dynamic’).
The choice of the Italian Society of Cardiac Surgery must be the starting point of a consideration: use of the Web in a professional, educational, integrative, ethical and shared way. The presence of the Doctor on the Web is a prerequisite, not delayed and your activity is the contribution for a perennial update.
Published in the Monthly Bulletin of the Italian Society of Cardiac Surgery, Year 1, Volume 4, June 2013 – pp. 7-8.
http://www.social4med.com/pagedocuments/958/33/bollettino-giugno-2013/tab/782 (registrazione richiesta).