Objectives: To identify the current familiarity and use of Web 2.0 technologies by medical students and qualified medical practitioners, and to identify the barriers to its use for medical education.
Methods: A semi-structured online questionnaire survey of 3000 medical students and 3000 qualified medical practitioners (consultants, general practitioners and doctors in training) on the British Medical Association's membership database.
Results: All groups had high familiarity, but low use, of podcasts. Ownership of digital media players was higher among medical students. There was high familiarity, but low use, of other Web 2.0 technologies except for high use of instant messaging and social networking by medical students. All groups stated that they were interested in using Web 2.0 technologies for education but there was lack of knowledge and skills in how to use these new technologies.
Conclusions: There is an overall high awareness of a range of new Web 2.0 technologies by both medical students and qualified medical practitioners and high interest in its use for medical education. However, the potential of Web 2.0 technologies for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education will only be achieved if there is increased training in how to use this new approach.