Healthcare and the Internet: Dr. Google
My wife is studying Physiotherapy and attempts to use the user-hostile Athens to find relevant material in databases such as Medline and Cinahl to read and cite.
Her fellow students express disdain when she tells them she prefers Google to find her sources. Enduring the pain of academic search engines is, it seems, essential in the quest for the same knowledge. Or is this learned academic snobbery?
Dean Giustini, the author of the BMJ article, thinks that Google ought to create a medical portal. Fortunately, the National Electronic Library for Health (NeLH) already provides an excellent interface to a number of databases for clinicians and laypersons and my wife and I recommend it, together with Google as a general source.
The power of the internet in the hands of laypersons was amply demonstrated in 2004 when a 15-year old boy used the internet to track down his genetic father using a sample of his own DNA and on-line facilities.
Medical knowledge is no longer the domain of the few.