Web Geekery in Recent Literature – 2/17/2008

More about online consumer cancer information

Cancer Invest. 2008 Mar;26(2):202-7.
Internet health resources and the cancer patient.
Huang GJ, Penson DF.
Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.
The last decade has witnessed an explosion of online information regarding cancer and healthcare. Accompanying this has been a large body of research analyzing the quality of this information, how patients perceive these data and how this affects the doctor-patient relationship. This report reviews this literature, summarizing the current state of internet health resources available to the cancer patient and identifying areas for future research. Studies indicate that there are considerable internet resources available to cancer patients and that patients are using these resources as secondary information sources. Specifically, studies indicate that 16-64% of patients are using the internet to obtain health information. For the most part, patients perceive the online information to be reliable but maintain a healthy degree of skepticism. Studies objectively evaluating cancer information on the internet indicate that there is reasonable quality, although the language level of many sites is higher than that of the average American, which may limit the utility of the websites. Finally, while there is widespread internet use by physicians, healthcare providers are skeptical of their patients’ ability to use the internet and may even be somewhat threatened by it. In summary, while there is a fairly large literature on internet resources available to the cancer patient, more research is needed. Specifically, it is important to better understand how patients access health information online and their associated preferences so that we can improve cancer patient’s access to high quality health information on the internet to facilitate decision-making and health outcomes.
PMID: 18259953

Webcasting for dentistry education!

Br Dent J. 2008 Feb 9;204(3):145-9.
Webcasting: casting the web more widely.
Reynolds PA, Mason R, Eaton KA.
Centre of Flexible Learning in Dentistry, King’s College London Dental Institute, Floor 3, Strand Bridge House, 138-142 Strand, London, UK. P.A.Reynolds@kcl.ac.uk
In the search for a cost-effective method of delivering teaching to dispersed groups of students, webcasting is proving successful. By taking video streams and transmitting them over the Internet it allows events such as lectures, seminars, webinars and tuition sessions to be made accessible to participants in many different, remote locations. Moreover, the webcasts can be stored on a normal PC to give, those unable to see the original broadcast, the opportunity to watch it at a later, more convenient time; similarly it can be used by students for revision purposes. New developments have allowed a useful level of interactivity between presenters and students, and between students themselves. As part of a recent project at a UK dental school, webcasting was trialed amongst undergraduates and postgraduates to measure its value for dental education. The results have been very encouraging, with the latter group especially benefiting from being able to see the webcasts in their own time, on their PCs at home or work. However, as befits an ever-changing scenario, a new web-oriented facility is beginning to play a role in education: podcasting provides a more personal, individual interaction with the web.
PMID: 18264069

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