Neurology in the electronic information age


N.A. Busis at above address Tel: +1 412 681 2000; fax: +1 412 681 2474; e-mail:


This review discusses the state of neurology and the Internet at the turn of the millennium. First, some basic definitions about the Internet and its component protocols are presented. Next, ways neurologists and patients can use the Internet are enumerated. Internet resources or applications are available or are being created that can aid in the successful fulfillment of a neurologist's core professional activities: clinical care, teaching, research, and practice issues. Currently, the most useful categories of Internet resources for neurologists are electronic communication and access to knowledge bases. They fulfill needs that are not met by traditional, non-electronic media. There are many other types of Internet applications that supplement traditional medical methodologies. Finally, some problems and prospects concerning medical uses of the Internet are discussed: technological infrastructure including usability, security, meaning, validity/quality, value, outcomes, and responsibility. These issues must be successfully addressed if Internet computing is to become truly useful ‘just in time’ at the point of medical care. Solutions are actively under development today. The prospects are bright for neurology, and medicine in general, on the Internet. The Internet will become an essential medical device in the near future.