by A.R. Pito and D.J. Elpern
Sugata Mitra hit upon the idea of unsupervised learning by computers in an iconic study of slum children in India. This evolved into Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) where children search for answers to ‘big’ questions. Why not apply this idea to the medical environment? We envision a Consultative Cloud Clinic.
The primary aim of Cloud Clinic is to enhance diagnosis and therapy in the interest of patient care and autonomy. Mitra’s School in the Cloud project enables small groups, to competently search for answers to ‘big questions’, drawing rational, logical conclusions. The concept can be usefully applied to ‘health questions.”
Mitra and his colleagues established a ‘Granny Cloud” on which retired teachers in the UK who were willing to interact with children in India via Skype came forward. This built on the universal ‘grandmother’ approach, where children get to interact with a person who is encouraging and appreciates their efforts, and in doing so enables them to learn what they need and also find out more about what interests them. The physician-patient relationship seems perfectly suited for such an approach.
Where SOLEs enable children to embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online, the Cloud Clinic will connects health care professionals. patients and their families in a journey towards diagnostic accuracy, therapeutic efficacy and realistic prognosis.
Let the adventure begin!
PubMed.gov: PubMed comprises more than 25 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
PubMed Central: PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
Dermnetnz: This dermatology resource provides authoritative information about skin diseases, conditions and treatment for patients and their health professionals.
Dermatology Central: This site is intended as a resource for persons who have skin disorders and/or who have visited a dermatologist. We hope it will be interactive. You can find the area you are interested in under the Category Section which is in the right hand column of this page. Please note that we do not accept any money from pharmaceutical companies or device makers. The “A How To Use” page will be helpful.
eMedicine is an online clinical medical knowledge base, in essence, an electronic textbook. The website is searchable by keyword and consists of approximately 6,800 articles, each of which is associated with one of 62 clinical subspecialty textbooks. Each article is authored by board certified specialists in the subspecialty to which the article belongs. Each article is updated yearly and the date is published on the article. A subset of eMedicine is eMedicine Dermatology.
VGRD.org and VGRD.blogspot.com: These are consultative sites at which difficult and/or instructive cases are presented. VGRD was founded in 2000 and the second generation site, VGRD Blog was built in 2005.
RareConnect: is an online resource that includes disease-specific online communities. It enables people living with rare diseases to meet, share stories and learn from each other. Communities are created in partnership with patient groups who bring resources such as moderators, relationships with specialists and validated information.
Images of Skin Disease: There are many databases with images of dermatologic disease. Perhaps, the best place to start is at Google Images.
There are many more resources. Tips for Finding Accurate Health Information on the Web is a helpful guide.