Our guest editor for this issue of Gynaecology Forum is Hans van der Slikke, who was also guest editor for the last issue of Gynaecology Forum concerned with the Internet in 2000. I typed that editorial on my PC and emailed the draft to the publishers.
Our guest editor for this issue of Gynaecology Forum is Hans van der Slikke, who was also guest editor for the last issue of Gynaecology Forum concerned with the Internet in 2000. I typed that editorial on my PC and emailed the draft to the publishers. Today, only 3 years later, I have the entire issue to scroll through in the top right-hand corner of my screen as I type and I can access the cited references from an Internet literature search in the top left-hand corner. What will it be like in 3 years’ time? Will my PC automatically check for plagiarism and search for published evidence for the sentences I write?
Like most doctors I am trying, sometimes struggling, to guess which software packages to use and which Internet sites to access. Our problem is the time necessary to find out. We hope that this issue of Gynaecology Forum will allow readers to keep abreast of where we are with Internet use in obstetrics and gynaecology.
We all know that the medical profession is no longer the only group with access to complex medical information. My university has just admitted medical students for the first time as part of a brand new UK undergraduate course for which the entire curriculum is Web-based and available for all to see. I sometimes wonder whether a member of the general public could turn up for the final exams. Moreover, if they did, would they be appropriately educated or would opinion-based sites have influenced them with erroneous evidence? Many of my patients now seem to be more knowledgeable about their disease than I am, but can we generally trust patients to be discerning about the information they read on the Net?
Internet use is more prevalent in the more affluent societies, but it has its greatest potential benefit in the less developed world. We must work to close the ‘digital divide’ so that both doctors and their patients can have Internet access to the data they need.
All these points are discussed in this issue of Gynaecology Forum.