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Abstract

Web 2.0 sociable technologies and social software are presented as enablers in health and health care, for organizations, clinicians, patients and laypersons. They include social networking services, collaborative filtering, social bookmarking, folksonomies, social search engines, file sharing and tagging, mashups, instant messaging, and online multi-player games. The more popular Web 2.0 applications in education, namely wikis, blogs and podcasts, are but the tip of the social software iceberg. Web 2.0 technologies represent a quite revolutionary way of managing and repurposing/remixing online information and knowledge repositories, including clinical and research information, in comparison with the traditional Web 1.0 model. The paper also offers a glimpse of future software, touching on Web 3.0 (the Semantic Web) and how it could be combined with Web 2.0 to produce the ultimate architecture of participation. Although the tools presented in this review look very promising and potentially fit for purpose in many health care applications and scenarios, careful thinking, testing and evaluation research are still needed in order to establish ‘best practice models’ for leveraging these emerging technologies to boost our teaching and learning productivity, foster stronger ‘communities of practice’, and support continuing medical education/professional development (CME/CPD) and patient education.