Medicine 2.0: Apomediation?

medicine 2.0

Ever heard of apomediation? This term got me curios and interested in a recent publication about Medicine 2.0 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Medicine 2 is the medical implementation of Web 2.0. This is open Web standards leading to improved collaboration and communication across applications. Social networking approaches and Web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX leading to improved Web interfaces that mimic the real-time responsiveness of desktop applications within a browser window.

The five major aspects emerging and recurring from Web 2.0 in health, health care, medicine, science, are:

  • Social Networking
  • Participation
  • Apomediation
  • Collaboration
  • Openness

Now most of these themes are familiar but Apomediation?
Users of the Internet seeking health care or medical information can identify trustworthy and credible information and services in three ways.
The first approach is to use intermediaries, health professionals giving “relevant” information to a patient
The second possibility is to bypass intermediaries completely, which is commonly referred to as disintermediation. Examples are patients searching for information on the web, or travelers booking their flights directly on the booking system of an airline, bypassing travel agents.
The third possibility is “guidance” from apomediaries, i.e. networked collaborative filtering processes such as Digg.

Apomediation theory argues that apomediaries, such as users and friends in the case of Digg, can help users navigate through the onslaught of information afforded by networked digital media, providing additional credibility cues and supplying further metainformation. Other examples of apomediaries and apomediation tools include consumer ratings on amazon.com or epinions.com

Who uses apomediation?
Not only patients use apomediation, health professionals also make use of apomediaries. Previously a libarian was consulted for searches with Pubmed, later physicians started using pubmed themselves. Nowadays physicians also use “apomediaries”, eg. shared bookmarking tools such as CiteULike, Connotea, or WebCite, where people receive pointers to recently published relevant literature based on what others with a similar profile and interests have cited or bookmarked.

Disadvantages of apomediaries
But in health care these apomediations have to be secure, reliable and has to benefit the users and made less susceptible to fraud.

Do you know any other apomediaries and what do you think about these apomediaries? Let me know in the comments.

ResearchBlogging.org
Gunther Eysenbach (2008). Medicine 2.0: Social Networking, Collaboration, Participation, Apomediation, and Openness Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10 (3) DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1030