Consultant, Municipal Methodological Center for Experimental and Innovative Education, Department of Education, Moscow.
Discussing the current state of information culture worldwide, the author notes that information technologies are rapidly spreading from the areas of economics and politics, where there is a high value on the speed of information, into education, social services and health care. He identifies the following issues in health care, which information culture needs to address:
1) development of information networks and portals that support interactive communication (making inquiries, exchanging experience, creating local development groups, etc.), help to locate electronic resources easily and quickly, and contribute to shaping a single international information community (in various practical and topical areas);
2) planning and holding of electronic conferences: video conferences, telebridges, and the type of conferences, both online and offline, that are essential for consolidating the efforts of doctors and those involved in promoting sociopsychological measures for disease prevention, in order to combat epidemics and pandemics;
3) use of information technologies that make it possible to process and analyze data faster, for social monitoring of diseases, screening and regular check-ups.
In the framework of these overall goals, the article describes various ways in which information technologies are used in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Russia.
One of the examples given is the EurasiaHealth Knowledge Network of the American International Health Alliance (AIHA). The author characterizes EurasiaHealth as follows:
“In our view, EurasiaHealth is an exemplary information network portal. It is actually a meganetwork, since it subsumes several knowledge networks on various aspects of health care: HIV/AIDS, Women’s Health, Health Management, etc. Each of these networks on the site is organized into the same sections: Multilingual Library, Internet Medical Sites, Regional Health Projects, Medical Conferences, Grants and Funding, etc. That way, any visitor to the site can work either within the overall site structure, or in a specific network. For example, one can look up grants in a particular field of interest (the site has its own search engine). The system will return a list of grants from across many networks. Or, one can go straight to the EurasiaHealth HIV/AIDS page and work with each unit of information that has been specially selected for inclusion in that network. This dual approach makes it possible to avoid either getting lost in the flood of information about health care in Europe and Asia, or being limited to the information provided by a given network. Clearly the site’s array of units of information has been organized expressly for the user who wants to get his project designed and implemented. He can find partners, find out about scheduled events, find sources of funding for his project, etc.
“Since this meganetwork is an AIHA project, we cite here the program of that organization. The HIV/AIDS Knowledge Network performs two of AIHA’s basic goals: 1) providing critical information to social service and healthcare workers, and 2) supporting new public organizations and including them in the network community. This second goal explains the basis for the clarity and thoughtfulness, evident throughout this project.”
The author also mentions that the EurasiaHealth Knowledge Network uses teleconsultation for the staffs of public organizations, and for managers and doctors.
Noting the thorough conceptualization of the EurasiaHealth Knowledge Network's information space, the author calls it one of the most impressive Russian-language information networks.