The adaptation of information technology to everyday clinical practices coincided with the emergence of online databases, personal medical history and institutional information websites. One of the central issues in online medicine is source credibility. This paper overviews the types and communication of online medical information that have changed the logistics of doctor-patient communication. Inter-doctor communication also benefits from the possibilities for professional communication, and application of multiprofessional knowledge; it helps shape and unify professional terms and nomenclature, guarantees the confidentiality and security of data, while providing easy management of high-quality data; makes provisions for knowledge management and ambulatory e-services. The paper overviews the information portal Kliinik.ee (www.kliinik.ee, OU Tervisenouanne) which shares medical information made available by medical professionals for non-medics, mostly for patients. The portal offers a range of e-medicine services, such as responses by specialists, psychologists, pharmacists. The Communication groups offer the patients free medical advice, feedback, a second opinion to their treatment scheme, as well as an opportunity to share knowledge and their personal experiences, and receive emotional support. Writing therapy is becoming increasingly popular and has spontaneously moved online. Today, there are discussion forums available for people suffering from diabetes, cancer and other serious (or incurable) medical problems. The Internet is in many respects advantageous for this type of therapy: it provides an opportunity to establish a dialogue with others with a similar condition while protecting one's privacy and anonymity. Medical professionals post comments under their own names which gives them credibility. A medical discussion board comprises a conditional group that does not form a network or community but engages in a dialogue to obtain and provide expert opinion. Users of patients' discussion group and their narratives have a close connection to reality. The Internet offers the users new ways to share their practices and experiences and sometimes supports or even provides alternatives not available in offline reality. Such groups are based on information sharing and narratives and play an important role in maintaining emotional stability.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.