Technology in the health care system is constantly evolving, creating more opportunities for development and, increasingly, technology is being used to involve patients in their own care. When I heard that the MaRS Centre was playing host to the Medicine 2.0 Conference in September (papers for this conference are due next week), I wanted to find out more about this model.

I caught up with the Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, to talk about Medicine 2.0, how and why it is important and how it is relevant to scientists, entrepreneurs and the rest of us.

Read on for the first in the series of interviews about Medicine 2.0 with Dr. Eysenbach.

What is Medicine 2.0?

Generally, there is no accepted definition, but I described Medicine 2.0 in my blog as Web-based applications, services and tools for health care consumers, caregivers, patients, health professionals and biomedical researchers that use Web 2.0 technologies (social networks, wikis and blogs) to enable and facilitate specific networking, participation, collaboration and openness within and between particular user groups.

In other words, Medicine 2.0 refers to Web 2.0 technologies that enable user participation on a massive scale. These powerful technologies, combined with general demographic, economic and societal trends, together form the perfect storm to challenge the traditional system of medicine (and also biomedical research).

In a broader sense, I refer to Medicine 2.0 as “second generation medicine” — medicine without the unnecessary legacy and hierarchical structures that are stifling innovation and progress in our field.

Medicine 2.0 stands for the notion that health care systems need to move away from hospital-based medicine and focus on promoting health, providing health care in people’s own homes and empowering consumers to take responsibility for their own health.

Medicine 2.0 implies a new and better health system that emphasizes togetherness, and openness as opposed to the traditional, hierarchical, closed structures within health care, medicine and even biomedical research.

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Gunther Eysenbach MD MPH is the Senior Scientist at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Associate Professor at the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, and chair of the Medicine 2.0™ congress on Sept 4-5th at the MaRS Centre in Toronto. He is also founding editor-in-chief and publisher of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Laura Malloy

Laura Malloy is a freelance journalist living in Mississauga who interned at MaRS. She holds a diploma in Print Journalism from Sheridan College and is a self-confessed word nerd. See more…