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A Virtual Opinion

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John R. Smith, “A Virtual Opinion,” IEEE Multimedia, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 2-3, April-June 2012, doi:10.1109/MMUL.2012.18

Social media provides new opportunities for sharing health-related data online. Although crowdsourcing medical diagnoses is not yet the trend, people are using social media to seek answers and better understand treatments and outcomes as doctors, experts, and patients converge online.

The idea of crowdsourcing medical diagnosis is crazy, isn’t it? I mean, how could anyone consider putting something as important as their health in the hands of strangers with unknown credentials? Yet, as patients are increasingly becoming the keepers of their own personal electronic medical records, which includes all kinds of multimedia data, radiological images, doctor’s notes, and test results, they have the ability to do just that. Beyond the assortment of family doctors, general practitioners, and specialists and sequences of first-, second-, and higher-order opinions, the crowd too can have a role.

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