As powerful web technologies are applied to the practice of medicine the relationships between patients, health care providers, and scientific researchers will be reconfigured in new and interesting ways. Watching the early stages of this transformation has made me in recent weeks begin to reflect more on how this reconfiguration is going to impact medical ethics. I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that while we are in the very early stages of “medicine 2.0” we are in an even earlier stage of “medical ethics 2.0” and this may have some unforeseen consequences for early adopters of these new web technologies.
Somewhere adrift in the turbulent waters of the Noob Sea, a handful of modest vessels carrying scientists, physicians, and patients are organizing their plans for homesteading in the new frontier of online communities.
Some are charting a direct path toward the archipelago of the wikipedians and their ilk, others may meander in the Straights of Web 2.0 or the Gulf of YouTube. And there is some speculation that some vessels are destined to harbor in the Bay of Angst.