Media in Medicine: Collaborative Aim and Reach of JovE, WorldVistA, PLoS Medicine

Not a long time ago, open source advocates were pushing a little farther to forward and expand their cause. We have been witnesses and fortunate end-users to this web evolutionary development. From our street corners, we have observed a waterfall of resource and journal sites free of charge open shop like market day. As I started exploring Medicine 2.0, I blogged about 2 sources, WorldVista and PLoS Biology. Let me share more about them here again in a short while.

First, here is something close to the heart, an open journal site that presents experiments in video format. JoVE.

Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is a peer reviewed, open access, online journal devoted to the publication of biological research in a video format.

For a sample, view this experiment on “A Craniotomy Surgery Procedure for the Chronic Imaging of the Brainby clicking on the screen shot below. Have I mentioned that I love film? Woot! Have fun!

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Thanks, Gaurav Parikh for sharing this site.

WorldVistA is an open source, low cost software that handles electronic health records. It was originally created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for use in their hospitals and facilities. Now, the rest of the world can use it too.

WorldVistA’s mission is to improve healthcare worldwide by making medical information technology better and universally affordable.

WorldVistA seeks to help those who choose to adopt the VistA system to successfully master, install, and maintain the software for their own use. WorldVistA will strive to guide VistA adopters and programmers towards developing a community based on principles of open, collaborative, peer review software development and dissemination.

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Here are excerpts of Thomas Goetz article on the New York Times, “Physician, Upgrade Thyself,” when this software was first introduced to the public.

Health care providers have been dreaming about electronic records for so long that the idea has begun to seem like vaporware, a never-to-be-realized fantasy similar to flying cars and jetpacks. But there is already a clear software standard, an open-source system that’s low-cost, easy to use and readily available. It could be the key to the health care system we ought to have already.

Want to see the best knee surgeon in the country? If he’s using WorldVistA, he can check out your online records at his house or office. If you switch jobs and move to a new insurance plan, you won’t need to build a new medical history and FedEx old records around. With your permission, your files will be accessible to your new providers instantly. In this way, electronic medical records generate better care and lower costs.

WorldVistA isn’t perfect. It isn’t as customizable as some proprietary systems, and its graphical interface isn’t as intuitive or as polished. Worse, its back-office functions — staffing and billing — aren’t all that strong. Major hospitals and health maintenance organizations in search of a Cadillac are free to spend the dollars to buy one.

But for the vast majority of health care providers, WorldVistA is what they’ve been waiting for: a low-cost, simple-to-use system that makes it easier to provide quality health care.

I end today’s post with another personal favorite, PLoS Medicine or the Public Library of Science Medicine.

PLoS Medicine believes that medical research is an international public resource. The journal provides an open-access venue for important, peer-reviewed advances in all disciplines. With the ultimate aim of improving human health, we encourage research and comment that address the global burden of disease.

PLoS Medicine…is an open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal published monthly online by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), a nonprofit organization.

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Here is a message from the PLoS founders,”A Medical Journal for the Internet Age.”

The Internet is awash with medical information. Eight hundred million people have direct access to the Internet [1], and in the United States over 60% have searched for health or medical information on the Web [2]. Go to any search engine and type in the name of a disease or drug, and you will be directed to hundreds of sites, ranging from the sound and useful to the quackish and dangerous. Google “medical” and you get 85 million pages, “drug,” 40 million, and “health,” 230 million.

But something is conspicuously missing. The most reliable medical information on the Internet—the contents of peer-reviewed medical journals—is hidden from the public and most of the world’s physicians. Although most medical journals are available online, their publishers limit access to those who choose, and can afford, to pay for access. This should not, and need not, be so.

I agree!

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~ by Karina Descartin on 27 February 2008.

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