Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal, Volume 5 Number 1



MEDTING: a social visual platform with potential in dermatology brief service review

Maged N Kamel Boulos

Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal 5 (1):8, June 2009

MBBCh, MSc (Derm & Vener), MSc (Med Inform), PhD Senior Lecturer in Health Informatics, University of Plymouth, Drake circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, UK

Accepted for publication in May 25th, 2009.
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Web 2.0 social tools can bring lots of benefits to clinical practitioners and students [1]. MEDTING ( - Figure 1) is a Web 2.0 social site for searching and exchanging clinical cases, images and videos. It offers a convenient way to upload, index and share medical media files and associated textual information [2]. Currently there is not much dermatology content in MEDTING, but the service and its affordances have great potential to be useful for dermatologists and clinicians treating skin conditions, once a community with special interest in dermatology starts forming there.

With a rapidly expanding repository of clinical cases, images, videos and associated medical documents, MEDTING also aims at helping medical students, especially when studying the more rare cases, and in accessing quality expert opinion and commentaries on such cases.

Fig 1: Screenshot of MEDTING.

MEDTING allows medical media to be precisely indexed and organized for easy and reliable retrieval later on. Clinical Cases can be created with the usual title and description metadata. But all media resources and cases also use a novel 'keywords system' to categorize content based on the SNOMED CT terminology (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms). This allows MEDTING to crisply index or tag its cases and images, associate them with related clinical information and links to relevant external sources, and even perform automatic translation of the keywords depending on the user's default language selection.

MEDTING basic service is completely free. It can be seen as an interactive social Web platform for clinicians all over the world to build and share their knowledge. Only registered clinicians can post cases along with images and videos, discuss them with a large and growing community of professionals, or refer them to named experts within the community. MEDTING offers advanced tools for browsing, viewing, and commenting on the uploaded images and videos. A clinician can decide to keep a case and all associated media files private, and then share and discuss the case files only with specific colleagues (this feature requires a premium paid account). A telemedicine second opinion service is also possible by linking MEDTING to other clinical sites/services or even directly to patients. Moreover, clinical or research groups can use the MEDTING technology to create their custom collections or 'Atlases of Dermatology' (or of any specific condition, or to serve a particular curriculum of study or research). A 'Case of the Week' space can be easily created using MEDTING.

MEDTING aims to be a secure, private and closed clinicians-only community. Only registered clinicians are allowed to sign up with their own specialties. MEDTING allows every registered user to evaluate and comment on each case if they wish (except those cases marked by their owners as 'private'). Patient personal details are never stored in MEDTING and content is the sole responsibility of the physicians. However, there is also an option to report any case that is inappropriate, violates privacy, or is technically inaccurate. Any registered user can report such a case, which a MEDTING Clinical Committee then reviews, and if appropriate, removes from public view and contacts the user who uploaded the case to solve the potential problem.

MEDTING does not currently accept any advertising. It also complies with the HONcode for trustworthy health information (

Sources and further reading

1. MEDTING brochure and documentation: and

2. Kamel Boulos MN, Wheeler S: The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite of sociable technologies in health and health care education. Health Information and Libraries Journal 2007, 24(1):2-23

2009 Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal