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J Health Commun. 2011;16 Suppl 1:45-58. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.589881.

Using Web 2.0 technologies to enhance evidence-based medical information.

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  • 1Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA. metzger@comm.ucsb.edu

Abstract

This article invokes research on information seeking and evaluation to address how providers of evidence-based medical information can use Web 2.0 technologies to increase access to, enliven users' experiences with, and enrich the quality of the information available. In an ideal scenario, evidence-based medical information can take appropriate advantage of community intelligence spawned by Web 2.0 technologies, resulting in the ideal combination of scientifically sound, high-quality information that is imbued with experiential insights from a multitude of individuals. To achieve this goal, the authors argue that people will engage with information that they can access easily, and that they perceive as (a) relevant to their information-seeking goals and (b) credible. The authors suggest the utility of Web 2.0 technologies for engaging stakeholders with evidence-based medical information through these mechanisms, and the degree to which the information provided can and should be trusted. Last, the authors discuss potential problems with Web 2.0 information in relation to decision making in health contexts, and they conclude with specific and practical recommendations for the dissemination of evidence-based health information via Web 2.0 technologies.

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