The Dutch may be providing a glimpse into the future of the second opinion.
Medical professionals across Holland are teaming up to launch the Netherlands Virtual Hospital, a Web supersite designed to be a clearinghouse for all medical information available in the country, Reuters reported today.
Due to be fully functional by 1998, the Virtual Hospital provides links to more than 150 Dutch hospitals and provides access to information about the latest medical research, new treatments, patient procedures, and virtual tours of hospital departments. Users can also find out what ails them, Net-style, by entering their symptoms into a search engine. For patients who don't have Internet access at home--an estimated 97 percent of Dutch citizens aren't online--Net access terminals will be set up in hospital lobbies, said Dr. Rob Bakker, the chief proponent of the Virtual Hospital.
Doctors and nurses will get something out of the system as well. Instead of writing letters to colleagues, they'll be able to post medical questions on bulletin boards.
Patients needn't fear that personal records of gallbladder infection and kidney stones will be posted to the Internet: no patient information will be accessible from the site.
Medicine on the Net