I’m thrilled by the fact that an historian of medicine (Richard Barnett of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge) will chair a panel debate on health care in the digital age (taking place in Cambridge, UK, on Thursday) — it sustains the tendency that historians of medicine are becoming more engaged in contemporary debates about the health care system; and almost always for the better.
Titled ‘Saved by SMS’, the panel debate is about a worldwide healthcare system in crisis and the future prospects of bringing health care practitioners and patients into the digital information age:
From tracking malaria drugs in the developing world by SMS, sharing information about disease outbreaks via social networking sites, to empowering patients and doctors to share diagnosis and treatment ideas, significant changes to the digital and social infrastructure of the global healthcare system could revolutionise the way we look after own health, and other peoples.
Bertalan Meskó (Science Roll) and others have been instrumental in putting medicine 2.0 on the agenda. Historians of medicine and medical museum could play a much more active role in these crucial discussions. The fact that Richard Barnett will chair the meeting on Thursday is a good sign — hopefully he will also infuse some historical perspective into the discussion.