An increasing number of pathologists share images for illustration and/or query "What is your diagnosis?" on cases whether for help or other thoughts or as unknowns once a case has been worked up and diagnosed. These include sites such as Flickr, Photobucket and others.
One in particular I check out from time to time is from a pathologist in Texas by the name of Ed Uthman who has posted thousands of pathology images on Flickr in addition to personal photos. I use his examples for my own lectures and to teach residents as the images are generally of high quality and good examples.
Recently someone else on the listserv tried going to the site to view the images and apparently was blocked from doing so according to this post:
"And so, I just got on the phone with our local eHealth department at our local regional health authority. And the woman on the phone said that the instruction is to keep Flickr and other image sharing websites BLOCKED.
There is nothing else I can say. I am extremely angry having went the regular route of reasoning with IT department bureaucrats and having eventually had to speak to concrete walls.
She said Flickr is for "social networking" and has to remain blocked. I explained and explained but to no avail.
For the other colleagues who talked to IT departments and got Flickr unblocked, you probably have IT personnel with one drop more sense and logic than we have here."
Fortunately I do not have this issue at my institution but have seen this kind of thing from other IT shops including other popular sites such as those for web-based e-mail and other "social networking" sites.
I think our hospital IT colleagues need to be sensitive about uniformly blocking "social networking" sites that often have other significant deliverables that health care professionals can derive benefit from by sharing their knowledge whether it comes in the form of image sharing, opinions, questions or discussion about the challenging issues we all face on a daily basis. These Web 2.0 tools are enabling and highly informative and should be recognized as such as supported when IT departments have concerns that are contrary to that.