Cybermedicine: Mainstream Medicine By 2020/Crossing Boundaries


Kim Solez & Sheila Moriber Katz


VOL. XIX • Summer 2001 • NO. 4 (table of contents)

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Cybermedicine, or “the discipline of applying the Internet to medicine,” is rapidly becoming more and more mainstream, and it will ultimately transform medicine completely. Cybermedicine uses “global networking to educate, innovate and communicate in ways that promote medical practice, commerce, scholarship, and empowerment.” Cybermedicine is taking place all over the world and in all walks of life. Currently, Web and e-mail based programs connect doctors to patients, doctors to doctors, and patients to patients with numerous beneficial results. E-mail is particularly important today because not everyone has access to high-speed Internet connections. The impending improvements in technology and the possibilities of “total immersion in the virtual experience” will soon make cybermedicine the norm.

The predicted problems of cybermedicine, such as the “dehumanizing and distancing effects of the Internet” have rarely come to light. For instance, medical e-mail discussion groups have brought people together and given them a global voice, rather than alienating them. Advancing technology will soon eliminate the limits of the Internet, such as the inability to convey gestures or display 3-D images.

Ultimately, medicine will benefit through technology. Cybermedicine depends on the “sharing [of] concepts among medical disciplines” as well the “incorporation of ideas from areas outside medicine.” The development of technology will benefit medicine just as it benefits the world at large, and by 2020 the “cyber” of cybermedicine will no longer be a necessary distinction.

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