There are several teaching initiatives that take advantage of IT. One early suggestion was computerized examinations2 closely followed by instruction in biomechanics3. Chew & Smirniotopoulos used an interactive video disc to teach trauma radiology to orthopaedic residents4. The residents approved the programme and their post-test scores improved significantly. CD-ROM-based computer-assisted education was also shown to improve trainees' post-test exam scores5,6. Sinkov et al (2004)7 investigated the educational use of the Internet by trainees and consultants and found that both groups preferred online textbooks.

photo6.jpgThe seemingly simple concept of supporting lectures with specifically posted web-based information8 was not reported until 2007. Johns Hopkins orthopaedic programme has also developed a system of this type9, but for protection of copyright, it requires a password. The mystique surrounding creation of webpages seems to inhibit this very valid way of reinforcing what has just been taught. The trainees themselves have usually initiated online posting of notes/reviews on orthopaedic subjects10,11,12 although these efforts have been continued after the completion of training in many cases. The Southern Orthopaedic Association's project to produce an online peer-reviewed textbook ( authored by experts, has only delivered a few chapters, but they are of high quality. Ongoing CME is provided online by the AAOS - Orthopaedic Knowledge Online (, Orthopedics Hyperguide ( Ortho Supersite (, eMedicine ( and Medscape ( amongst others. Sites for subspecialty information include the Electronic Textbook of Hand Surgery ( and the East Lancashire Foot and Ankle Hyperbook ( Several of the subspecialty societies post valuable educational resources. Especially notable are the OTA Basic Fracture Course ( and the Trauma and Fracture Care Residency Core Curriculum Lectures ( also from the OTA. The latter constitutes downloadable PowerPoint presentations which may be adapted for anyone's use (with suitable crediting). The POSNA Core Curriculum ( presents discussion points about key features of paediatric orthopaedics. Work has also been done on computer simulation of surgical activities24 with Virtual Reality Simulators25. Models of arthroscopy seem to be attracting the most attention26,27,28.

The rise in popularity of social networking and Web 2.0 technologies has resulted in improved sharing of information. The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons ( has initiated development of a web-based collaborative orthopaedic knowledgebase called Orthopaedia ( Orthopaedia has been built on a wiki framework which allows members of the community to add or edit articles, post comments, contribute documents, submit news updates in a single, searchable, structured repository.

Those interested in Orthopaedic Informatics not only have to understand, promote and participate in the developments taking place in this arena. They also have to interpret them to the orthopaedic community and recommend changes to the educational system29,30 that will be appropriate for the future. It is a truism that we "learn to learn", but the new reality is that the methods and modalities of learning are changing as well31.


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  8. Citak M., Haasper C., Behrends M., Kupka T., Kendoff D., Hüfner T., Matthies H.K., Krettek C. A web-based e-learning tool in academic teaching of trauma surgery. First experiences and evaluation results Unfallchirurg. 2007 Apr;110(4):367-72.
  9. Netorthodoc 2008 [Webpage] Available at
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  13. Orthopaedic Care: Medical and Surgical Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders 2006 ed Koman L.A. Southern Orthopaedic Association [Web site]
  14. Orthopaedic Knowledge Online: Your Source for Orthopaedic Learning 2008 Ed. Grana W.A. AAOS [Web site] Available at requires registration
  15. Orthopedics Hyperguide 2008 Sponsored by Howmedica Editors D'Ambrosia R.D. & Frassica F.J. [Web site] Available at requires registration
  16. Ortho Supersite 2008 Sponsored by Slack Inc [Web site] Available at requires registration
  17. Orthopaedic Surgery Articles eMedicine 2008 [Web site] Available at requires registration
  18. Orthopaedics Resource Centers - Medscape 2008 [Web site] Available at requires registration
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  20. East Lancashire Foot and Ankle Hyperbook 2008 Ed. Barrie J. [Web site] Available at
  21. Basic Fracture Course: Orthopaedic Trauma Association 2008 [Web site] Available at
  22. Trauma and Fracture Care Residency Core Curriculum Lectures 2008 [Web site] Available at
  23. Core Curriculum Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America [Web site] Available at
  24. Jaramaz B., Eckman K. Virtual reality simulation of fluoroscopic navigation. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Jan;442:30-4.
  25. Tsai M.D., Hsieh M.S., Jou S.B. Virtual reality orthopedic surgery simulator. Comput Biol Med. 2001 Sep;31(5):333-51.
  26. Sherman K.P., Ward J.W., Wills D.P., Sherman V.J., Mohsen A.M. Surgical trainee assessment using a VE knee arthroscopy training system (VE-KATS): experimental results. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2001;81:465-70.
  27. McCarthy A.D., Moody L., Waterworth A.R., Bickerstaff D.R. Passive haptics in a knee arthroscopy simulator: is it valid for core skills training? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Jan;442:13-20.
  28. Cannon W.D., Eckhoff D.G., Garrett W.E. Jr, Hunter R.E., Sweeney H.J. Report of a group developing a virtual reality simulator for arthroscopic surgery of the knee joint. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Jan;442:21-9.
  29. Podcasting comes to Med School Curriculum: WebWeekly News from the Harvard Medical Community Jan 30th 2006 [Webpage] Available at
  30. Hungerford D.S. 2006 A new paradigm for orthopaedic education [Webpage] Available at
  31. Boulos M.N., Maramba I., Wheeler S. Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Med Educ. 2006 Aug 15;6:41. [Web site] Available at