What I really love about the United Kingdom is how it holds on to the past while also pursuing the latest trends. An illustration of the former is to the left, the plumbing facility in the bathroom of my South Kensington hotel room. An example of the latter is this website.
Part of the current NHS plan is to introduce the concept of polyclinics, which I believe to be roughly analogous to our multi-specialty groups. Here, primary care physicians would join with specialists in one location to offer a range of primary and secondary care outside of hospital settings. One reason to do this is to reduce the number of stand-alone GPs, who, because they are working alone, really cannot provide good access to their patients or a very full range of care.
The idea of linking to Second Life is very clever. Any person can enter the virtual world of Second Life and take a tour through a polyclinic to get a feeling of what it would be like. In addition, the program includes a survey to allow members of the public to comment on what they have learned and to make suggestions as to how the concept might be improved.
I had not seen this done anywhere else before, and so I was impressed. Then, this morning, I learned that there are several other examples of medical facilities on Second Life. Bertalan Meskó provides a top ten list here. I haven't had a chance to look through them carefully, but I think the NHS usage of this application remains an unusual example of a way to both educate the public about a governmental proposal and also to seek public comments.