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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Ovarian Cancer Updates to Symptom Search and the Limits of Web 2.0

We were having our usual weekly Symptom Search meeting to discuss our most favorite product to date. One of our fabulous Marketing type people said, "Hey, have you seen the new report out about ovarian cancer and early warning signs?" Well, actually no, we hadn't. But my Symptom Search Partner, Product Manager Jack & I wanted to get right on it and update our baby to reflect the new findings. He sent me the US News and World Report link, which was great but, being a clinician I said, No can do without the clinical reference.

Despite our differences - at Healthline he is Class Valedictorian and I am Class Clown - and we butt heads regularly - he's a great guy. Within a matter of minutes, he sent me a link to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article is three years old, but it may have been the basis for further studies by University of Washington researcher Dr. Barbara Goff which led to the consensus paper by the American Cancer Society and other organizations. Our team went to work updating Symptom Search based on these new findings, and we are proud to report the results can be found on our website today. We hope this helps save lives.

It also points out, in my mind anyway, the limitations of Web 2.0, some of which I alluded to in yesterday's post. As a nurse and a clinician, I am bound by professional ethics no matter what capacity I serve - in healthcare. When it comes to matters of life and death, sickness and health, people need information they can rely on. So that's my line in the sand. Yes, websites are "infotainment". Yes, big pharma advertises on it. Yes, we blog away with a loose editorial policy. It comes down to our own professional ethics as clinicians within our organizations to say we can't really include this unless there is evidence to back it up. I recently joined the Association of Healthcare Journalists and it is a joy to be privy to the emails dicing and slicing the big rag stories - like yesterday's LA Times piece, Echinacea not to be sneezed at after all? Journalists have a code of ethics also and they critique each others handling of sensitive subjects. Questions like all echinacea is not created equal were raised and people ripped apart the statistics quoted in the study. Web 2.0 is all about "democratization or divide" as one commentator puts it. Web 2.0 is about tagging vs. taxonomy. In medicine and healthcare, we need a hybrid.

Thank you Movement on the Wire for use of photo A Mother Lost...
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.