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2020 Vision: improving supportive and palliative care in the age of social media and global telecommunications
  1. A R Jadad
  1. Centre for Global eHealth Innovation; Canada Research Chair in eHealth Innovation; Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care; Departments of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation; and Anesthesia; and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Abstract In the second decade of the twenty-first century, social media are ushering a second wave in the evolution of the Web. Very rapidly, applications such as Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have risen to be among the most used sites on the Web, re-shaping how humans communicate, learn and live. Mobile communication devices are converging with Internet-based services, penetrating every region of the planet at a speed that dwarfs the growth in the adoption of personal computers or any other preceding technological innovation. These devices can now access hundreds of thousands of applications directly through the Internet, promising to satisfy almost any human need for information and communication.

The exponential pace of evolution of information and communication technology, however, is outpacing the ability of clinicians, researchers, managers and policy makers to keep up. As a generation with the rare privilege to witness the emergence of a new set of powerful technologies that could have a profound and widespread effect on society, we must look beyond the hype, and try our best to understand what works, what does not work and what could be harmful.

This session will give participants an opportunity to learn about emerging innovations in social media that could enable us to reduce unnecessary suffering. It will also underscore key methodological, political, cultural, technological and financial challenges that must be addressed urgently if we are to harness their power to improve the way in which we design, develop, provide, receive and evaluate supportive and palliative care services.

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