From Intermediaries to Apomediaries

Gunther Eysenbach has written a very interesting article introducing the five characteristics of Medecine 2.0, which is highly worthwhile read.

One particular characteristic struck me, as I was unfamiliar with the term, but I believe it is very insightful, so here is an extract explaining the function of apomediaries.

Dr. Gunther Eysenbach:

Apomediation is a new scholarly socio-technological term that characterizes the process of disintermediation (intermediaries are middlemen or “gatekeeper”, e.g. health professionals giving “relevant” information to a patient, and disintermediation means to bypass them), whereby the former intermediaries are functionally replaced by apomediaries, i.e. network/group/collaborative filtering processes . The difference between an intermediary and an apomediary is that an intermediary stands “in between” (latin: inter- means “in between”) the consumer and information/service, i.e. is absolutely necessary to get a specific information/service. In contrast, apomediation means that there are agents (people, tools) which “stand by” (latin: apo- means separate, detached, away from) to guide a consumer to high quality information/services/experiences, without being a prerequisite to obtain that information/service in the first place. The switch from an intermediation model to an apomediation model has wide implications for example for the way people judge credibility, as hypothesized and elaborated in more detail elsewhere.”

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