Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News article] Walking, driving and riding in a winter wonderland

transit_Website_city2_f

Snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. These decisions can ripple through other infrastructure systems, causing widespread disruptions. Shown here are points of connectivity.

Credit: Paul M. Torrens and Cheng Fu, University of Maryland, College Park; Sabya Mishra, University of Memphis; Timothy Welch, Georgia Tech.

From the 5 February 2015 article at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

For Paul Torrens, wintry weather is less about sledding and more about testing out models of human behavior.

Torrens, a geographer at the University of Maryland, studies how snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. He also studies how these decisions ripple through other infrastructure systems.

“After moving to the Washington, D.C., area from Arizona,” Torrens said, “I saw firsthand how snow upsets even careful plans for getting kids to school and commuting to work.”

Common disruptions such as those associated with snow, while not always catastrophic, have real economic costs, and the costs add up.

“Critical infrastructure systems are the lifelines of society,” said Dennis Wenger, program director in NSF’s Engineering Directorate. “They are complex, highly interdependent processes and systems and are subject to disruption through their normal life cycle and as a result of the impact of natural and technological hazards.”

In real life, transportation is affected by moment-to-moment decisions by people, explained Torrens, who may adjust their transportation routines depending on their individual circumstances and activities.

Relying on big data from social media sources, Torrens is building a dynamic, near-real-time atlas and census of a population from which motifs of human and infrastructure behavior can be extracted as rules for agents’ behavior.

“Social media data is a treasure trove for information scientists, because not only do we have the message content, but the content is stamped with a location and a time,” Torrens said. “We can study how information propagates throughout social networks and correlate that with physical situations as they unfold.”

When snowstorms and other behavior-changing events happen in the physical world, online interactions change, too. During a snowfall on the morning of Jan. 6, 2015, Washington-area residents tweeted about traffic conditions (for example,#Alexandria residents – Van Dorn Street is awful @WTOPtraffic #vatraffic #snow #ice #dctraffic).

One school system tried to open on time despite the slick conditions. Soon local Twitter users began posting photographs of snow-covered streets, car crashes and links to television news reports with the quickly viral hash-tag #closeFCPS. Information about the resulting problems seemed to spread, bottom-up, via a viral tag, rather than via official school channels.

 

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February 9, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Safety | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization,January 29, 2015

From the post at Full Text Reports
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Background:
Use of social media has become widespread across the United States. Although businesses have invested in social media to engage consumers and promote products, less is known about the extent to which hospitals are using social media to interact with patients and promote health.

Objective:
The aim was to investigate the relationship between hospital social media extent of adoption and utilization relative to hospital characteristics.

Methods:
We conducted a cross-sectional review of hospital-related activity on 4 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare. All US hospitals were included that reported complete data for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. We reviewed hospital social media webpages to determine the extent of adoption relative to hospital characteristics, including geographic region, urban designation, bed size, ownership type, and teaching status. Social media utilization was estimated from user activity specific to each social media platform, including number of Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Foursquare check-ins, and Yelp reviews.

Results:
Adoption of social media varied across hospitals with 94.41% (3351/3371) having a Facebook page and 50.82% (1713/3371) having a Twitter account. A majority of hospitals had a Yelp page (99.14%, 3342/3371) and almost all hospitals had check-ins on Foursquare (99.41%, 3351/3371). Large, urban, private nonprofit, and teaching hospitals were more likely to have higher utilization of these accounts.

Conclusions:
Although most hospitals adopted at least one social media platform, utilization of social media varied according to several hospital characteristics. This preliminary investigation of social media adoption and utilization among US hospitals provides the framework for future studies investigating the effect of social media on patient outcomes, including links between social media use and the quality of hospital care and services.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Can social media help stop the spread of HIV?

Pinmap of Tweets Related to HIV

Caption: This is a map showing the origins of tweets related to HIV.

Credit: Sean Young

Usage Restrictions: Credit required.
[Sean Young, Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California,
http://www.uclahealth.org/main.cfm?id=2341, scroll down for short bio]

 

From the 30 October 2014 UCLA press release

In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV.

Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, Sean Young of the Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes in an October 29th article in the Cell Press journal Trends in Microbiology of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.

“We know that mining social media will have huge potential benefits for many areas of medicine in the future, but we’re still in the early stages of testing how powerful these technologies will be,” Young said.

With the right tools in place, he says, social media offers a rich source of psychological and health-related data generated in an environment in which people are often willing to share freely.

His recent work on Behavioral Insights on Big Data (BIBD) for HIV offers the tantalizing possibility that insights gleaned from social media could be used to help governments, public health departments, hospitals, and caretakers monitor people’s health behaviors “to know where, when, and how we might be able to prevent HIV transmission.”

Young details a social-media-based intervention in which African American and Latino men who have sex with men shared a tremendous amount of personal information through social media, including when or whether they had ‘come out,’ as well as experiences of homelessness and stigmatization. What’s more, they found that people who discussed HIV prevention topics on social media were more than twice as likely to later request an HIV test.

In the context of HIV prevention, tweets have also been shown to identify people who are currently or soon to engage in sexual- or drug-related risk behaviors. Those tweets can be mapped to particular locations and related to actual HIV trends.

What’s needed now is the updated infrastructure and sophisticated toolkits to handle all of those data, Young said, noting that there are about 500 million communications sent every day on Twitter alone. He and a team of University of California computer scientists are working to meet that challenge now.

Although privacy concerns about such uses of social media shouldn’t be ignored, Young says there is evidence that people have already begun to accept such uses of social media, even by corporations looking to boost profits.

“Since people are already getting used to the fact that corporations are doing this, we should at least support public health researchers in using these same methods to try and improve our health and well being,” he said. “We’re already seeing increased support from patients and public health departments.”

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Twitter Can Revolutionize Public Health

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NPHR Blog

by Catherine Bartlett, MPH student

Image credit: connection.sagepub.com

As much as people may try to deny it, traditionally healthcare organizations are rarely early adopters of new technologies. The lack of electronic health systems, computerized methods of communication, filing, and overall resistance to change has left many health care organizations years behind other high tech industries.

Public health officials have used many different strategies to engage the general public, from billboards, radio PSAs, to the CDC’s unique “prepare for the zombie apocalypse” web campaign.  Although some may dismiss Twitter as frivolous or silly, it is an excellent platform to educate and communicate with a large group of people in a succinct way (140 characters to be exact).  Indeed, over the past five years, Twitter has become one of the most popular social media and sharing platforms in the world. According to the Twitter blog, more than 500 million tweets are…

View original post 248 more words

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Early warning: Internet surveillance predicts disease outbreak

Early warning: Internet surveillance predicts disease outbreak.

From the 7 January 2014 news article

The habit of Googling for an online diagnosis before visiting a GP can provide early warning of an infectious disease epidemic.

In a new study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, internet-based surveillance has been found to detect infectious diseases such Dengue Fever and Influenza up to two weeks earlier than traditional surveillance methods.

Dr Hu, based at QUT’s Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, said there was often a lag time of two weeks before traditional surveillance methods could detect an emerging infectious disease.

“This is because traditional surveillance relies on the patient recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment before diagnosis, along with the time taken for health professionals to alert authorities through their health networks,” Dr Hu said.

“In contrast, digital surveillance can provide real-time detection of epidemics.”

Dr Hu said the study found by using digital surveillance through search engine algorithms such as Google Trends and Google Insights, detecting the 2005-06 avian influenza outbreak “Bird Flu” would have been possible between one and two weeks earlier than official surveillance reports.

“In another example, a digital data collection network was found to be able to detect the SARS outbreak more than two months before the first publications by the World Health Organization (WHO),” he said.

“Early detection means early warning and that can help reduce or contain an epidemic, as well alert public health authorities to ensure risk management strategies such as the provision of adequate medication are implemented.”

Dr Hu said the study found social media and micoblogs including Twitter and Facebook could also be effective in detecting disease outbreaks.

“There is the potential for digital technology to revolutionize emerging infectious disease surveillance,” he said.

….

Read entire article here

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January 23, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Study shows how social media engages people with chronic diseases

Study shows how social media engages people with chronic diseases.

From the 27 October 2013 ScienceDaily article

Using Facebook chats to convey health information is becoming more common. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City set out to find the best way to boost participation in the chats to raise awareness of lupus, an autoimmune disease.

Specifically, investigators at HSS wanted to see if collaboration with a community-based lupus organization would increase patient awareness and participation. They found that the number of people participating in the chat tripled when the hospital joined forces with the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation to publicize the chat.

“The Facebook chats provide a new venue to get information from rheumatologists and other health professionals who understand this complex disease. Lupus patients are hungry for information, and with social media, we can address their specific concerns in real time,” said Jane Salmon, M.D., director of the Lupus Center of Excellence and senior author of the study.

“The Facebook chats provide a new venue to get information from rheumatologists and other health professionals who understand this complex disease. Lupus patients are hungry for information, and with social media, we can address their specific concerns in real time,” said Jane Salmon, M.D., director of the Lupus Center of Excellence and senior author of the study.

Read the entire article here

 

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January 6, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health and Medical Blogs Collected by the US National Library of Medicine

Does anyone have a favorite health/medical blog?
Feel free to add it here in the comments section.

 

From the press release

“What wondrous things my four working limbs were once able to accomplish!” writes Marc, a 48-year-old New Yorker diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2003, in his blog, “Wheelchair Kamikaze.”

You can tap into Marc’s “Rants, Ruminations, and Reflections of a Mad MStery Patient” and 11 more health-related blogs authored by physicians, nurses, patients like Marc, patient advocates and others on NLM’s new—and riveting—”Health and Medicine Blogs” collection.

According to Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, chief of the NLM History of Medicine Division, these and the thousands of other digital publications that have blossomed on the Internet follow in “the long tradition of professional narratives, personal papers, and other technical health and medical information, but with a 21st century twist. They are less formal but equally if not more insightful.”

By selecting and collecting Web content like these blogs, the Library is continuing to fulfill in a new and dynamic way its mission to collect, preserve, and make accessible the scholarly biomedical literature as well as resources that illustrate a diversity of philosophical and cultural perspectives related to human health and disease. In today’s publishing environment there are important and insightful views on 21st century health care that aren’t reflected in the technical, scholarly literature. The new collection bolsters the Library’s core mission to gather, preserve, and make accessible the range of biomedical literature that in some cases only NLM collects. It is a unique resource for future scholarship.

“The blogs help to reveal the changing state of medicine,” Reznick emphasizes. “It is a thoughtful collection for future reflection and analysis.” Researchers 50 years from now will be able to view snapshots of today’s medical system as seen through the lenses of people’s lives, as captured by “e-Patient Dave” in his blog. Or they can learn about the complexities of current-day health IT from John Halamka, MD on his “Life as a Healthcare CIO” blog.

…….

The actual  blog collection is here —“A web archiving serviceto harvest and preserve digital collections, a service of the Internet Archive

 

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] 5 advantages of online patient communities

online-support-network1-300x200

 

From the 2 August 2013 KevinMD.com article

A support group has many potential benefits, some of which include improving coping skills, reducing anxiety, depression, isolation, ignorance about the condition and others.  Online patient communities (OPCs) are a recent phenomenon.  Some are open (with respect to type of member or fee) and some are more focused and closed.  Irrespective of the type, OPCs have blossomed. It is a major indication of social media’s penetration into healthcare (or vice versa) and why physicians need to establish a presence in social media.  While there are still reasons why support groups are popular, OPCs have definite advantages. I will highlight a few of them.

1. Many patients and caregivers cannot physically attend a support group.

Just as online social media is not a substitute for real life interpersonal exchanges, OPCs will not necessarily replace the real life experiences of support groups.  However, they do offer a different experience which brings together people from all over the world.

Read the entire article here

Resources

August 4, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Healthcare Information For All

This is one noble cause!  However, I think that education should go hand in hand with this.
It is one thing to have access to healthcare information. Another thing to understand and be able to use information.

Still, I am hoping that telecoms get on board, and give back to their communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook medical advice isn’t what’s best for your child

From the 29 July 2013 KevinMD.com article

 | SOCIAL MEDIA | JULY 29, 2013

It happens about once a week. As I scroll through Facebook and peruse the latest happenings, I notice that someone (usually a mom of small children, like me) has posed a question to their Facebook friends about some type of health dilemma.

“Little Sally is cutting teeth, and she’s miserable. What can I give her to make her feel better?”

“Johnny has such a bad cough, and he can barely breathe. Anyone used Vick’s Vaporub on a baby before?”

“Took  Sam for his 4-month checkup today. Dr. says I should wait to start giving him baby food until 6 months, but I feel like he’s ready. Any moms have some advice?”

I’ve seen each of these health concerns voiced on Facebook along with many others. Various friends weigh in with their tidbits of advice or personal experience, and usually the mom will choose from those options and then report back about how that advice worked.

Here’s the problem: all health information isn’t created equal.

And crowdsourcing for medical advice isn’t likely to result in the best outcome for your child.

Although the Facebook community recommended several products for Sally’s mom to try to ease teething pain, they were likely unaware that many of these products are no longer recommended for infants because of serious health risks associated with their use.

While Johnny’s mom’s Facebook friends offered enthusiastic support for rubbing Vick’s VapoRub on his chest, feet, and even putting it under his nose, they didn’t know that this product can be harmful to children under two years of age.

Read the entire article here (which includes great Web sites for child health/medical information)

Related resources

July 30, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Online Blues—Is There A Relationship Between Social Media And Mental Well-Being?

Anxious

Unsettled

Disheartened

Irritable

Stressed

Frustrated

Drained

We all experience the above states from time to time as a result of our work environments. I know I did, which prompted a midlife career shift from clinical to nonclinical medicine.

So imagine my surprise to feel these emotions resurface during my year of playing hooky to write.

WHAT GIVES?

Recently, after an irritable self-pity party summoned Mr. Nasty Pants, my dreaded personality imp, I tugged at the stripes on his pants and said, “What the crap? I’ve spent my day glued to a laptop yet have little product to show for my efforts.”

Mr. Nasty Pants

My personality imp, Mr. Nasty Pants

My impish nemesis danced his evil two-step and laughed. “Oh, what’s de matter. Is wittle, baby Carrie’s plan not going her way?”

I sighed, closed my laptop, and assumed a supine position on the floor, hoping to soothe the twisted knot in my back. Then I accessed my left brain for analysis. What exactly was going on here?

  • Was it the writing process itself? My neurons fired a quick no in response.
  • Was it guilt over playing hooky from medicine? Eh, maybe a little, but not completely.
  • Was it the fact that my writing progress did not match my timeline? Bingo.

Okay, so if that was the source of my angst, what was the root?

At this point, Mr. Nasty Pants leaped onto my stomach and resumed his jig. “Twiddle dee, twiddle dum, you spend too much time online, my stupid chum.”

Hmm, my fashion-challenged demon might have a point.

ENTER PUBMED

Naturally, my first impulse was research. Are there studies to suggest too much online media is associated with psychological distress?

The concept makes sense; it doesn’t take millions of funding dollars to see that. Plus, I’ve read reams of pediatric literature discussing social media’s harmful effects on kids. But what about adults?

Show me the studies, man.

Here’s some of what I found:

  1. Media Multitasking is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety: Given the title says it all, I see no reason to elaborate.
  2. Internet-Related Psychosis−A Sign of the Times: Well, now, that doesn’t sound good. In this study, too much social media involving ‘hyperpersonal’ relationships with strangers resulted in negative feelings. And delusions. (That’s the psychosis part, folks). For more information on this pleasant thought, see the aptly named article Can Facebook Drive You Crazy – Literally?
  3. Study: People Who Are Constantly Online Can Develop Mental Disorders (Abstract here): Um, yeah…again, pretty self-explanatory. But in addition to depression, this study also found sleep disorders and poor ergonomics (improper body positioning). One of the main culprits is that in an online world that’s 24/7, people never feel free. Furthermore, if they neglect their social media, feelings of guilt surface.

Kind of like when you don’t get to everyone’s blog posts, right?

NOW WHAT?

So what’s a bloke to do? Especially if said bloke uses social media not only for interaction but also as a marketing tool.

One needn’t be a genius to answer that. As Mr. Nasty Pants would say, jumping off each of our heads in gleeful spitefulness, “Turn off the endless black holes.”

But we know it’s not that easy. We want and need to maintain the interaction. But we also need to get work done and meet our personal deadlines. Finding that balance is the ever-elusive golden goose, is it not?

For my own self, I know I need to cut back. I only post once a week, and as such, perhaps I’ll only be able to visit other blogs once a week. And less Twitter. And Facebook. And forums. And…

When I have the answers, I’ll let you know…

What about you? Do you ever get the online blues? Are you able to cut back without guilt? 

All images from Microsoft Clip Art

Like this:

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

Email, voicemail, text… no response. What gives?

Ever been frustrated when leaving a message but not getting a response?
You are not alone!

I decided to post this because it seems to be a mental health issue, or related to a number of mental health issues.
For example, one reaction to no responses when emailing someone could be unwarranted anger or resentment.
And it just might be possible that the other person is just busy or overwhelmed.

There’s no easy answer to somehow “reconciling” instant communication with increasingly physical distances.
But just being able to label or identify the related issues is progress towards smoothing over communication challenges and fostering empathy.

Here’s some excerpts from the article  by MARTHA IRVINE | AP National Writer

Technology is supposed to make us easier to reach, and often does. But the same modes of communication that have hooked us on the instant reply also can leave us feeling forgotten…

…Whatever the reason, it’s causing a lot of frustration. A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 39 percent of cell phone owners say people they know complain because they don’t respond promptly to phone calls or text messages. A third of cell owners also have been told they don’t check their phones frequently enough…
.

Those types of missed communications — and a lack of response — can cause “turbulence” in a relationship, says Dan Faltesek, an assistant professor of social media at Oregon State University. But, he adds, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It can be a little awkward, but you should talk to people about how you like to talk,” Faltesek says. “Everyone will be happier when they say what the rules are.”

And it’ll go even more smoothly, he says, when people are willing to step outside their own favorite mode of communication to those preferred by the person they’re contacting.

“Use the reverse golden rule,” Faltesek advises. “Treat others the way THEY like to be treated.”
Read more: Email, voicemail, text… no response. What gives? – Mywesttexas.com: Homehttp://www.mywesttexas.com/article_b75e1e32-7f90-11e2-bd47-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2MTNH8XoU
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

On another note,  this article was in the print edition of my hometown newspaper.
I am wondering if I would have missed this article if it had not been in our newspaper.

 

March 3, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

Healthcare Implications for Facebook’s New “Graph Search” Functionality

From the 16th January 2013 Pixels&Pills article by @Spitz

Why “Graph Search”?

Analogous to Google the search king trying to enter the social space with Google Plus, Facebook the social queen is now trying to capture the search space with Graph Search. The Holy Grail is actually neither search nor social per se, but increased digital user engagement that ultimately translates to higher revenue for these providers.

What is “Graph Search”?

Before we can talk about implications, we need to understand what it does. Since beta isn’t released as of this posting, all we can go by is what Zuck shared during his presentation of the functionality. Specifically, a blue bar will run across the top with an entry field. Instead of typing in simple keywords, the expectation will be to type in whole questions regarding friends and friend preferences—more like Wolfram Alpha than Google.

For example, a user would type in “Do I have any friends renting apartments in Chicago?” or “Did any of my friends see LIFE OF PI yet?” or “What do my friends think about Muir Woods in San Francisco?” Graph Search will then analyze the mountains of interconnected and tagged data throughout the user’s own network, and produce responses that, according to Zuckerberg, aren’t links, but informative pieces of content in the form of posts, pics, movies, and the like. Search results will mostly likely be sharable with friends, since why not, that’s what Facebook does best….

What does “Graph Search” mean for Health and Healthcare?

Ah, now here’s the rub. If you’ve been following this harangue so far, then yellow and red digital health lights should already be flashing. Not much imagination is required to wonder what will happen when a user types in, for example “What do my friends think about HIV?” or “Do any of my friends have erectile dysfunction?” or “Have any of my friends had a bad reaction to taking Drug X?” “What do you think about Dr. Y?” “How was your stay at hospital Z?” If you’re a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturer regulatory attorney, or a hospital admin, or even a patient who wants to keep things very personal, I bet you’re experiencing a mild myocardial by now…

Facebook stressed that Graph Search will only access individual friend content and public domain data through Bing. But from a healthcare point of view, that doesn’t help much at all. The reason is that in digital what’s being shared is sometimes secondary to how it’s shared…

So what should you, as a digital health expert, do?
If you’re a pharma or device marketer with content already on Facebook, double-check compliance, and get comfortable with bits and pieces potentially becoming aggregated outside the context of where they appear. (Red flags for fair balance information, obviously.) If you’re a hospital or private practice physician, be mindful that having patient FB friends might mean that your interactions could become more readily accessible to your patient’s entire friend network. The open door is now spinning wildly, further reinforcing the maxim that you should only post on Facebook (and any social channel) that which you are perfectly comfortable indiscriminately sharing with the world.

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Key Trends in the Future of Medicine: E-Patients, Communication and Technology

English: Watson demoed by IBM employees.

English: Watson demoed by IBM employees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 25 October 2012 post at Blogroll

 

Robots replacing doctors?

I’ve given hundreds of presentations and I teach at several universities about the use of social media in everyday medicine and I always highlight the importance of 1) doctor-patient relationship in person, and 2) good communication skills for doctors, but if I try to think ahead, I have to agree with Vinod Khosla that technology can replace 80% percent of the work of doctors.

Khosla believed that patients would be better off getting diagnosed by a machine than by doctors. Creating such a system was a simple problem to solve. Google’s development of a driverless smart car was “two orders of magnitude more complex” than providing the right diagnosis.

IBM’s Watson is just the perfect example here. They have been working closelywith oncologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York in order to see whether Watson could be used in the decision making processes of doctors regarding cancer treatments. Watson doesn’t answer medical questions, but based on the input data, it comes up with the most relevant and potential answers and the doctor has the final call. This is an important point as it can only facilitate the work of doctors, not replacing them…

..So what should we expect to see in the next decades? I think we will see amazing developments in many areas, except medicine in which small and slow steps will mark the way towards a more transparent healthcare system in which decision trees are available for everyone, online content and social media are both curated, patients are empowered, doctors are web-savvy, and collaborative barriers are gone forever. A new world in which medical students are trained to be able to deal with the rapidly evolving technologies and e-patients.

 

A great related graphic at http://envisioningtech.com/envisioning-the-future-of-health.pdf

(WordPress was not responding when an upload was attempted)

 

 

 

 

October 30, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-Tracking May Become Key Element of Personalized Medicine

 

Allan Bailey

Allan Bailey brought his type 2 diabetes under control for the first time by using a continuous glucose monitor.

 

From the 5 October 2012 article at UCSF News Center

A steady stream of new apps and devices that can be synced to ever-more sophisticated mobile phones is flowing into consumers’ hands, and this technology is revolutionizing the practice of self-tracking, in which individuals measure and collect personal data to improve their heath.

Self-trackers are using these tools to monitor sleep, food intake, exercise, blood sugar and other physiological states and behaviors. In some cases, they are using the data to identify what triggers or worsens flare-ups of chronic health disorders on their own, or with the help of an online community. In others, patients are even working together with physicians and scientists to conduct experiments, pooling their data for analysis that may shed light on the cause or best treatment for their disease.

This phenomenon was explored at a Sept. 28 symposium at Stanford University, where attendees and presenters — including two UCSF physicians — asserted not only that self-tracking can help patients to improve their lives, but also that self-tracking has the potential to change medical practice and the relationship between patients and their health care providers. The event was part of Medicine X 2012, a three-day conference on social media and information technology’s potential impact on medicine..

Already 60 percent of U.S. adults are tracking their weight, diet or exercise routine; one-third of adults are tracking some other indicator or symptom, such as blood sugar, blood pressure, headaches or sleep patterns; and one-third of caregivers are monitoring health indicators for loved ones, Fox said…

..

Self-tracking may not be for everyone, Abramson said, but it may be especially helpful for those who are diagnosed with medical problems for which conventional treatment typically offers little benefit; for those with symptoms and syndromes that are not adequately diagnosed through conventional medicine; for those who want to change their behavior; for those who want to identify environmental, dietary, contextual or social contributors to their symptoms; or for those who simply want to be more involved in their own health care.

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Social Media for Early Signs of Adverse Drug Reactions

 

From the 21 September 2012 article at Science Daily

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $130,000 grant to a team co-led by University of Virginia professor Ahmed Abbasi to fund research that will analyze social media, including tweets and online discussion forums, to identify adverse drug reactions — a process that promises to be much faster and perhaps also more accurate than the existing methods of identifying such reactions.

Currently, once drugs come to market, the FDA relies upon consumers to report adverse side-effects through physicians and other official reporting channels.

The new project, Abbasi explained, will build on related research, currently in publication in the journal ACM Transactions on Information Systems, that demonstrated the promise of social media as an early-warning system for adverse drug reactions. Abbasi and his co-authors retrospectively analyzed four types of public online media (websites, blogs, Web forums and social networking sites) posted from 2000 to early 2012 and were able to identify hundreds of thousands of documents containing adverse drug reaction-related information. The preliminary results suggest that these documents can accurately provide warnings earlier — in some cases, years earlier — than existing channels…

With nearly 10 billion new tweets produced every month, Abbasi said, social media presents a classic “big data” challenge: sifting through terabytes of noisy data to siphon out the nuggets of relevant and reliable information. With social media, information quality is always a concern; a single hypochondriac might produce dozens of unreliable reports of drug side-effects, he noted.

Online medical information is also plagued by medical Web spam: countless pages of medical misinformation designed to exploit consumer fears and sell unregulated remedies ranging from herbal remedies for arthritis to anti-aging skin creams, Abbasi said. Experts estimate that more than 20 percent of all medical information on the Web is spam.

Fortunately, Abbasi comes well-prepared for that challenge. He co-developed an award-winning fraudulent-website detection system able to detect fake medical websites with 94 percent accuracy…..

 

September 25, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Like It or Not, Facebook and Friends Can Be Used to Influence Health Behavior

From the 5th July 2012 article at Science News Daily

Most people call it the “art” of persuasion, but public health researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are trying to pinpoint the “science” behind social influence….

Valente, whose research focuses on social networks and influence, has compiled a collection of methods that public health advocates use to stimulate changes in behavior and explains why certain methods may be more effective than others in particular situations. The analysis appears in the July 6 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Science, the world’s leading outlet for scientific news, commentary and research.

Due to the large number of interventions available to researchers — Valente identifies 24, each with at least several variations — the researcher says a more robust framework is needed for deciding which tactics are best used in particular settings.

Word-of-mouth interventions, for example, depend on the social network to succeed. In some cases, word of mouth is used to spread the word and in other cases to create groups of like-minded friends.

“Existing evidence indicates that network interventions are quite effective,” Valente writes. “Yet, the science of how networks can be used to accelerate behavior change and improve organizational performance is still in its infancy. Research is clearly needed to compare different network interventions to determine which are optimal under what circumstances.”

Valente notes that behavioral research is often used in marketing and business arenas; the public health sector is just beginning to implement that information as tools like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier to collect data and spread information, he says…

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

14 Ways Social Media May Soon Change Your Doctor’s Visit

Although this article has a good deal of advertising and most links are to commercial sites, the content seems to be a good summary of possible futures of doctor visits. Overall it seems that social media can improve the doctor-patient relationship.

From 14 Ways Social Media May Soon Change Your Doctor’s Visits  (May 15, 2012 article at The Sociable Blog)

In 2006, Pew Research Forum discovered that 80% of American adults used the Internet to research medical information. By 2011, data (separately) compiled by Frost and Sullivan and QuantiaMD showed between 87% to 90% of physicians used at least one social media site for personal reasons, with a further 67% to 75% opting for more professional postings. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogging, and the like stand poised to change the face of healthcare in the exact same manner it pretty much did for most other industries.

 

Medical professionals — not just doctors — have discovered some creative (and not-so-creative) ways to apply the technology to many different aspects of their field, meaning savvy, Internet-literate patients should stay on the lookout for what might lay ahead.

  1. Better Information and Support……

June 7, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

A healthy look at social media

From the 10 May 2012 Medical News Today article

Can social media solve the US healthcare crisis?

The creation of a social media videoconferencing platform geared towards healthcare might pave the way for enhanced use of social media in the world of healthcare according to a study published this month in the International Journal of Electronic Finance.

Peter DeVries of the Department of Finance, Accounting, and CIS, at the University of Houston – Downtown, explains that despite the advent of social media tools and accessible mobile communications devices, the patient-doctor relationship has changed little. DeVries suggests that innovative use of social media might improve that relationship as well as the healthcare industry as a whole not only by reducing inefficiencies but by making healthcare provision and advice more immediate and engaging at lower cost. DeVries suggests that from the perspective of healthcare providers social media might also open up new revenue streams that could bolster an industry currently in economic turmoil.

DeVries points out that many industries are using social media to improve the customer and user experience and to provide social interaction among like-minded individuals. The popularity of Twitter and Facebook, which is fast approaching 1 billion worldwide users, is testament to the power social media might wield and the opportunities it could bring. “We are seeing companies linking to social media sites from their corporate websites to form closer relationships with their customers,” says DeVries. In his paper, he offers healthcare providers several pointers as to how they might engage their customers, the patients, through social media with a view to not only improving medical provision but improving the company finances too.

Two aspects of social media that might revolutionize healthcare provision lie in the relationships between patients, the relationships between physicians and perhaps most importantly the relationships between the two. If social media can enable patients to share information with other patients and to gain knowledge and at the same time give physicians the ability to share and learn from their peers more readily, then the meshing of these two threads could make for better informed connections between patients and their physicians too.

DeVries cites the Association of American Medical Colleges on how there is likely to be a 124,000 shortfall of full-time physicians in the USA by 2025, while there will be a need for almost 140,000 family physicians by 2020 if Americans are to have adequate access to primary healthcare.

The projected shortage of physicians demands innovation in the healthcare industry, says DeVries. “Doctors and hospitals must find ways to provide healthcare in more productive and efficient ways,” he adds. “If a growing number of patients are finding themselves as users of Web 2.0, then Web 2.0 might be the answer to alleviate the forecasted overcrowding.”

May 14, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , | Leave a comment

Repairing the tear in health care’s safety net with social media

Excerpt from the post at KevinMD.com (May 5, 2012)

…And while social media is by no means a replacement for in-person care, it should be a viable means for consumers to get safe, trusted health information from medical professionals online that provides enough orientation and preventative guidance that they do not need to visit the ER for routine care.

America needs to reverse the role of the safety net system back to its designated place of original design – with safety net care serving critical need patients without insurance or other economic means who require both proactive and reactive medical care.  We remain optimistic that healthcare reform will address some of these critical issues – and help to deploy more efficient protocols.  In the interim, we are hopeful that consumers and physicians will recognize the role that “information sharing” can play in empowering both patients and doctors to collectively embrace better, more accessible solutions…

May 9, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

More health departments nationwide embracing social media: Use of tools rises

From the Nation’s Health (May/June 2012)

From a Boston campaign that uses online videos to talk to teens about sugary drink consumption to an oversized Louisiana stork who reaches out via Facebook and Twitter about healthy pregnancies, health departments around the nation are embracing social media as a new way to connect with the public.

Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offer health professionals the ability to deliver public health messages — from common-sense guidance to critical information during an emergency — directly and quickly. Because of its low cost and ease of use, more and more health departments are becoming involved in social media, with some campaigns earning both recognition and avid followers…..

May 8, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Researchers Tune Into the Internet Buzz

Medical Researchers Tune Into the Internet Buzz – WSJ.com

From the 16 April edition of the Wall Street Journal

Looking for medical information on Internet message boards can be risky for consumers. Some of it is confusing, misleading or downright wrong. But for medical researchers, all that chatter can yield some valuable insights.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, are mining message boards and Twitter feeds to see what breast-cancer and prostate-cancer patients are saying about herbal and nutritional supplements—including whether they take them and why and what side effects they encounter.

“People are often hesitant to talk to their doctors about herbs and supplements. But they do talk with other people, especially in an anonymous setting like a discussion board,” says principal investigator John Holmes, an epidemiologist and medical-information specialist. Even if there is no scientific evidence to support what people post, he says, “it’s useful to identify areas that would merit further study with all scientific rigor.”…

….

Chatter on the Web also can serve as an early warning sign of adverse events linked to drugs or medical devices. “We see patient conversations on the Internet as the largest post-marketing study ever,” says Michele Bennett, chief operating officer of Wool Labs, a business-intelligence company founded in 2007. The Wayne, Pa., firm can search the entire Internet for conversations that shed light on patient beliefs, buying patterns or decision making—whatever its clients, many of them drug companies, are seeking.  Wool Labs also can search Web chatter retrospectively to see how attitudes changed over time…

Analyzing Web conversations does raise ethical and privacy issues; people who talk candidly about their medical problems online may not realize it is a public forum. That is why the Penn researchers mine only discussion sites that require participants to register and explicitly state in their terms of use that any information posted will become public. The programs also filter out any posts or tweets placed by “bots” that are advertisements in disguise; containing a URL to another site is a telltale sign

The team also devised an “anonymizer” program that scrubs out any names, locations or other identifiers…

April 21, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

How can doctors curb digital distractions?

icon for smartphone (smart phone) related content

icon for smartphone (smart phone) related content (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There may be some advice here for the rest of us!

From the 19 April 2012 blog post at KevinMD.com

While most early reports on the perils of social media concerned inappropriate postings by physicians, a new hazard has emerged recently: digital distraction. On WebM&M, the AHRQ-sponsored online patient safety journal that I edit, we recently presented a case in which a resident was asked by her attending to discontinue a patient’s Coumadin. As she turned to her smart phone to enter the order, she was pinged with an invitation to a party. By the time she had RSVPed, she had forgotten about the blood thinner – and neglected to stop it. The patient suffered a near-fatal pericardial hemorrhage.

In a commentary accompanying the case, the impossibly energetic John Halamka, ED doctor and Harvard Med School’s Chief Information Officer, described all of the things that his hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is considering to address this issue….

 

April 20, 2012 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

Domestic Violence and Social Media (from the Health Is Social Blog)

Something to consider, if you tweet today, or connect to someone via another social media tool (as Facebook)…
remember there are people who fear to connect because they are being stalked by people with controlling intentions…

From the 8 November 2010 Health Is Social Blog item Domestic Violence and Social Media

Note: If you are a victim of domestic violence, please be sure you are safe accessing the Internet. If you have an emergency, dial 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). To leave this site immediately, click here.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN A DIGITALLY CONNECTED WORLD

This blog is dedicated, among other things, to exploring the intersection of health and social media. It swings its angle around different perspectives: from marketing to professional awareness of technology to the healthcare implications of the very existence of social media in our lives.

So I’m going to use this platform to talk about and raise questions about domestic violence in a world that is increasingly being overtaken by social media….

You see, not everybody is in exactly the same position as everyone else when it comes to social media – its use and its access.

A newly diagnosed cancer patient is in an entirely different situation from a woman whose husband or boyfriend abuses her. The former doesn’t have to worry about a husband who stalks her every move; implants spyware on her computer; and threatens to kill her if she tells anybody else what’s going on.

A tweet, or a check-in, could be as effectively dangerous as a bullet.

Violence isn’t just a physical act: its a violation, one which ranges from subtle manipulation to implicit threatening and emotional terrorizing to murder.

And therein lies the peculiar challenges of domestic violence and social media. If social media is – as is claimed – Social, then there are specific social ramifications to be considered in the context of domestic violence.

On one hand, victims of domestic violence need support and resources and the information needed to acquire them.

On the other, abusers often go to any length to control their victims. Their insecurity with themselves is so deep – so out of their own control – that they seek control and security in the emotional and visceral pain of others.

So what does a victim do when the abuser dominates so much that social media isn’t much of a safe option?…..

Related Resources

Related Articles

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Safety | , , , | Leave a comment

Carol McCall Thinks Big Data Can Change Healthcare

From the 15 February post at Pixels and Spills

Does it all really boil down to numbers?

Carol McCall, Chief Strategy Officer at GNS Healthcare shared some sobering figures during her Keynote at the Health & Wellness Hub for Social Media Week this past Monday. Among the data points she mentioned were:

– 8000 people age in to Medicare every day

– if unchanged, healthcare costs and interest on the national debt will take up all US revenue by 2025

– a recent NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE study revealed that among determinants of health, only 10% was accounted for by actual healthcare practices ((behavior and genetics accounted for over 70%)

With figures like that, most people would want to get as far away from hard data as possible. But McCall argues that the key to big data is interpretation and with the right communications, these types of figures can be powerful drivers for change. She argues that we need to create new roles for ourselves and one of these should be a role for the pursuit of health (as opposed to traditional nomenclature/roles like “patient”).  She also believes that social media can be a critical accelerator for defining these new roles….

 

February 20, 2012 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

Can an App a Day Keep the Doctor Away? (2010 closing interactive panel of the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media)

This 68 minute video touches on aspects of digital health and wellness in its broadest sense.
(The actual discussions start around the 10 minute mark after introductions, overviews, etc)

Panelists

Jay Bernhardt, PhD

MPH (Moderator)

James Andrews;

“e-Patient Dave” deBronkart

Bradford W. Hesse, PhD

Dana Lewis

This discussion of  application and use of computers, information, and communication technology to all aspects of health includes

  • Health promotion and prevention, disease prevention
  • Healthcare and self-care and disease management
  • The systems which underlie all this work
  • e-health, m-health, ihealth

Discussion questions…

  •  Are we in a health care technology revolution or evolution? (with themes as patient empowerment, health care organization & structures)
    Are tools as email
  • Are patients empowered? Do they know they can ask questions and do they? And will this cause health institutions to adapt to empowered patients?
  • How is social media enabling advocacy? (as Twitter)
  • 39  billion is predicted to be spent on digital health, how will this affect the digital health revolution/evolution?
  • How can the current information centered paradigm (for accounting and billing systems) be reconciled with the evolving patient centered paradigm (for empowerment)
  • Search engine optimization in health, is it possible? relationship to social media as Facebook
  • Twitter and Facebook searches beginning to outnumber search engines, what does this mean for health?
  • “Infomercials” by panelists
    • Trust in physicians is rising because (not in spite of) internet.. physicians are explaining Web-based material patients are bringing in
      HINTS – Health Information National Trends Survey (an open source survey from the US National Cancer Institute)
      call for items from 2010-2014
    • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is changing what is being done in health care because prevention is a focus of this law. This act is driving the use of technologies so people can be better informed about their health and make better decisions.
      Informatics for Consumer Health ” focuses on a coordination of health information, technology, and health care delivery that empowers providers to manage care and increases the ability of consumers to gain mastery over their own health. This may be accomplished by promoting the use of information technology and communication between health care providers and their patients to share vital medical information across clinical settings in timely and reliable ways, and utilize electronic tools to achieve these objectives.”
    • Everywhere – a company which helps clients manage social media, build social media content and communities, and  integrate a social media campaign into an existing communications strategy.
      • Participation is the new marketing because the audience, target populations are creating content and are  more empowered; transparency and authenticity are now hallmarks of organizations
      • UStream to create a television station (Jane Fonda conference had 26,000 people around the world exercising at the same time)
      • [at 44:05] Five Tips on Building Community (Using Social Media)
        • Be humble (you’re a participant, not an owner
        •  Learn to use the new telephone
        • Less selling and more engaging
        • Not what you say but what they say that counts
        •  Be interesting (don’t be afraid to take chances with the new social media)
    • Social Media and Health Care is happening everywhere, HIPPA does not hamper this
      • Surgery videos can raise awareness thru included commentaries on prevention, treatment options, etc
      • hashtags in Twitter are useful for conversing, getting questions answered, sharing, crowdsourcing as #hscm
    • e-Patient Dave
      • patients are the most underutilized resource in our healthcare system
      • patient community as treatment option source
      • white paper 62 minutes
      • lethal lag time of 2-5 years
      • AHRQ..what kinds of appt, questions to ask

February 20, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

Infographic: How Social Media affects our Brain?

 

From the 13 December blog posting at Assisted Living Today
   http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/resources/social-media-is-ruining-our-minds-infographic/ 

Social media use across the globe has exploded. As more and more people flock to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, it’s becoming clear that social media is having a profound effect on not just our lives but on our brains too. Scientists are researching how social media impacts cognitive functions and development, like multitasking skills, our ability (or inability) to focus, how our brains are getting rewired,  to name a few. All of which appear to be drastically affected by social media participation. To help shed more light on this phenomenon, we’ve created this infographic: “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds.” We encourage you to share it on your favorite social media sites (ironic, huh?). You also can embed the infographic on your website using the code below. We ask only that you credit us, Assisted Living Today the leader in finding top assisted living facilities, as the source.

How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds

 

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Report] Mobile Social and Fun Games for Health – Summary with Links to Examples of Games

Illustration of the Amazing Food Detective

From the Web site The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective  – a free online health game about how to eat right and exercise sponsored by Kaiser Permamente thrive

The report Mobile Social and Fun Games for Health, free through registration, is sponsored by  mobi health news research.

While it focuses on industry trends, it does give some good overviews of how the public views and uses social media and health gaming.

Some insights from the report

  • “Game designer Jane McGonigal argues in her recent book, Reality is Broken, that “games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges.” McGonigal believes that gamers “will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses” to change the world. “
  • There is a growing clinical trial evidence base that shows that games can improve players’ health behaviors and outcomes in areas such as addiction control, healthy eating, physical activity, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, smoking cessation, cancer treatment adherence, asthma self-management and diabetes self- management.
  • “Kaiser Innovation Center’s Dr. Yan Chow  [states] “game thinking gives people permission to fail, and that is new and important in healthcare.” “
  • “The provider community is in need of better educational tools to improve efficiency and lower costs. Care providers of all stripes are interested in employing new ways to help patients understand their diseases and regimens to help them better take care of themselves. to new technology, they see a pressing need to identify and market a new suite of offerings that will function together to improve health outcomes. “
  • The report gives examples of two companies which use multidisciplinary teams to develop and market games.
  •  Tw0 of some examples of games for health in development

“Beating Heart,” which “introduces heart health to young adults by letting them get their heart rate when they touch their iPhone and also allowing them to share this information with friends.” scientists, exercise scientists and physicians working together,” Patrick said. “No one discipline owns more than a minority share.”

“The Magic Carpet” game where the harder the user blows into their phone, the more an interactive magic carpet pictured on the user’s phone moves.

  • Some examples of health games now availableMindbloom – Grow the Health You Want  [uses]a tree metaphor to represent the different branches of a person’s life — health, relationships, lifestyle, leisure, finances, spirituality, creativity and career. Users focus on making small meaningful changes to improve the quality of their lives. There are five elements that drive consumer engagement within this game

    MeYou Health—everyday wellbeing with small actions using community support

    “MeYou Health promotes everyday wellbeing by  encouraging small actions and fostering social ties that drive meaningful behavior change. Daily Challenge is the application that encourages users to take small, achievable steps toward healthy living every day. Getting started only takes a few minutes. Once you sign up, you get an email at 7 am to do one small task, across a wide range of wellbeing domains, from physical activity to eating well to emotional health and more. Feedback includes social proof of action from your personal connections.

    OneRecovery is an online support network for individuals in recovery from alcoholism, drug abuse and eating disorders.  It is a place for members to share stories, work on their recovery and mutually support one another in real time.  The web and mobile program combines social networking technology, game mechanics and evidence-based clinical principals to support sustained engagement and behavior change.

    Vive Coach – A  corporate wellness application.Vivecoach team wellness challenges combine the convenience of mobility, the power of community and the appeal of gaming to get employees excited about doing something good about their health.  Vivecoach challenges include step count competitions, weight loss challenges, and exercise challenges that may appeal to large groups. They also include smaller group or niche challenges called “Cold Turkey” challenges focused on giving up things like soda, sweets, junk- food, or cigarettes. Challenges for flossing and sleeping have also been used. Vivecoach encourages the company administrators or any employee to create new challenges.

    The Amazing Food Detective: Based on a skit developed internally at Kaiser and then produced by an outside game designer, the game utilizes eight short mysteries and 24 fun arcade mind-games. Kids play the role of detectives fighting childhood obesity.Escape from Diab is a sci-fi adventure and video game developed to prevent kids from becoming obese and developing related illnesses as diabetes.”Medical device developers are looking at gaming elements to bring deeper customer engagement with their products to increase sales.”

January 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trending Now: Using Social Media to Predict and Track Disease Outbreaks (with links to related Websites & apps)

Engelbart Prize: HealthMap

Image by rosefirerising via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/69145729@N00/4438384922

[Abstract from Full Text Reports]

Source:  Environmental Health Perspectives

It’s winter, flu season, and you’re at your computer feeling a bit woozy, with an unwanted swelling in the back of your throat and a headache coming on. If you’re like millions of other people, you might engage in a moment of Internet-enabled self-diagnosis. You pop your symptoms into a search engine, and in the blink of an eye dozens of health-related websites appear on your screen. That search supplied you with information—some useful and some not—but in today’s hyper-connected world, it also supplied a data point for those who survey disease outbreaks by monitoring how people report symptoms via social media. In fact, social media, cell phones, and other communication modes have opened up a two-way street in health research, supplying not just a portal for delivering information to the public but also a channel by which people reveal their concerns, locations, and physical movements from one place to another.

That two-way street is transforming disease surveillance and the way that health officials respond to disasters and pandemics. It’s also raising hard questions about privacy and about how data streams generated by cell-phone and social-media use might be made available for health research. “There’s a challenge here in that some of these [data] systems are tightening in terms of access,” says John Brownstein, director of the computational epidemiology group at Children’s Hospital Boston and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “But we are seeing a movement towards data philanthropy in that companies are looking for ways to release data for health research without risking privacy. And at the same time, government officials and institutions at all levels see the data’s value and potential. To me, that’s very exciting.”
(Read the entire article for insights in improving surveillance, investigating social networks, and accuracy of social networks)

Excerpts from the ehp article

  • A pioneer in this field, Brownstein worked with collaborators at Children’s Hospital Boston to launch one of the earliest social media tools in infectious disease surveillance, a website called HealthMap (http://healthmap.org/) that mines news websites, government alerts, eyewitness accounts, and other data sources for outbreaks of various illnesses reported around the world. The site aggregates those cases on a global map, with outbreaks displayed in real time. Brownstein’s team recently launched Outbreaks Near Me, an iPhone application that delivers HealthMap directly to cell-phone users.
  • Flu Near You (https://flunearyou.org/), a website created with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund of San Francisco, California, which allows individuals to serve as potential disease sentinels by reporting their health status on a weekly basis.
  • Google launched Google Flu Trends (http://www.google.org/flutrends/), a website that allows people to compare volumes of flu-related search activity against reported incidence rates for the illness displayed graphically on a map.

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Assessing Drinking Issues And Delivering Brief Interventions Via Texts

 

Student texting during class

Image via Wikipedia

From the 28 December 2011 Medical News Today article

Each day numerous young adults in the U.S. visit hospital emergency departments (EDs) for alcohol-related problems. This study examined the use of text messaging (TM), both to collect drinking data from young adults after ED discharge as well as provide immediate feedback and ongoing support to them, finding that TM is effective on both levels.
Results will be published in the March 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Each day in the U.S., more than 50,000 adults 18 to 24 years of age visit hospital EDs, and more than one third report current alcohol abuse or dependence,” said Brian Suffoletto, assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and corresponding author for the study. “Thus, EDs provide a unique opportunity to both identify young adults with harmful or hazardous drinking behavior and intervene to reduce future injury and illness.” …

Unfortunately, he added, emergency-care providers rarely have the time or expertise to screen for or discuss problematic alcohol use. Nor do many hospitals have counselors on staff who can assist with the process. Neither are patients with acute drinking issues necessarily interested in having those discussions immediately.

“Given that mobile phones are essentially ubiquitous among young adults, and texting in particular is a heavily used communication tool, we sought to build and test an automated TM system that could conduct a health dialogue with young adults after discharge,” said Suffoletto. “We believe that our study is the first to test a TM-based behavioral intervention to reduce alcohol consumption.”

“This is a novel approach in that it uses the ED as a behavior-changing point for those at risk for a illness – alcohol-induced injury or organ destruction – while using a familiar but not deployed alternative approach, which is texting,” said Donald M. Yealy, professor of emergency medicine, medicine, and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This is a first step. I can envision other tools – such as phone apps and social media sites – being deployed eventually.” …

Read the entire Medical News Today article

December 28, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Youth Health 2.0 articles of 2011

Top 10 Youth Health 2.0 articles of 2011

From the 26 December Youth Health post by Dr. Kishan Kariippanon (@yhpo)

1. #9 cool public health and social media articles

2. Is technology to blame in cybersafety?

3. Stanford Medicine 2.0 Conference 2011 – The Report Card (Guest blog by Prajesh C)

4. iPhone Apps for STI/HIV Prevention

5. Mark Scott (ABC) on social media leadership

6. Social media and Indigenous culture

7. Youth Health 2011 Sydney conference presentation

8. Sexual health iPhone Apps

9. Wanted: a Social Media Expert?! (Guest Blog by Kate Nelson)

10. A simple QR code evaluation

December 27, 2011 Posted by | health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Social Media Web Sites – Advice and Tips for Creators and Others

(Quora’s About Page…including  Use boards to organize anything you read or think about)

I‘ve started this Health Social Media Web Sites board over at Quora.

Suggestions/advice welcome!

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , | Leave a comment

Bringing the social media revolution to healthcare – Lee Aase and the 7th HARC Forum

(Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration)***

Excerpt from the blog item  by Dr. Kishan Kariippanon at Youth Health 2.0

Have you heard of a person by the name of Lee Aase? His only formal qualification is a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. I heard him say in reference to it that “BS and Political Science go together”, just last week in Sydney. He traveled all the way from Austin, Minnesota so that he can meet and bring the success of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media in the flesh, to dispel the doubts and illustrate how the healthcare revolution will be Tweeted.

An auditorium of interested people from various backgrounds within healthcare and beyond  attended the 7th HARC Forum “Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Healthcare”. Lee Aase may seem like an ordinary person (he has never refered to himself as an expert) but his contribution to health communication innovation is priceless. That is the beauty of social media – anyone can make significant contribution on a global scale….

[From interview with Lee Aase by Dr. Kishan Kariippanon ]

“Social Media University Global (SMUG) started as my personal blog. I would always say “go to my blog” whenever I was asked about social media. Eventually I created a step by step practical or hands on learning space for anyone to learn how to use social media,” subsequently naming himself Chancellor. “It’s not only about or for  healthcare, but we have built on it through the Mayo Clinic Centre for Social Media. There are now 1300 people from 6 continents who join the SMUG Facebook Page“, he says.

“People in low resource and developing countries can also benefit from a blog like this. Having a blog like this creates tools for people with interesting ideas to find others with interesting ideas.”

“Public Health bloggers have an opportunity to find creative ways to raise awareness of issues that have public health impact or huge societal impact. A video that we made called Know your numbers‘ was used to illustrate the importance of knowing your heart related numbers (blood pressure, lipids and BMI) in a fun way. So it is not preachy or talking down to people. Maybe a kind of clever way of getting the word out. We are using basic tools like YouTube and Facebook and blogs to help communicate a message that could make alot of difference for lots of people in helping them prevent a heart attack.”

“Blogs can play a huge role in disseminating information in two senses:

Firstly, in spreading the word about the things that are available in peer-reviewed journals because there is so much showing up in the journals but are locked away. If it isn’t mobile or getting to the frontline practitioners, it’s not doing the practical good that it could. So there is a huge opportunity for these tools.

We do YouTube videos on articles that are published in peer-reviewed journals, where the doctor involved is talking about what was behind the study, what does this really all mean to patients. Then getting the patients who were really active and engaged around a disease to help spread the word too. You don’t have to subscribe to the journal to have access to this information.

The journals are going to be under increasing pressure to move faster in publication. I think that is a great benefit and that there are alternate ways.  There are  other ways of disseminating research information, a good example would be our “spontaneous coronary artery dissection”  that was published on the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. An example of how patients are turning upside down the process in that they are helping to initiate ideas for how research can be done. We are using social media to recruit for more people to be part of a study, especially in rare a disease. A virtual registry can help out and social media is making this possible.”

Related Articles and Blog items

Read more:

Article by Lee Aase on The Conversation: Move over Dr Google, the future of health is social

Medical Observer article: Social media can protect patients

Listen:

An interview with Lee Aase by Dr Norman Swan from ABC Radio National’s Health Report.

Listen and watch the podcasts:

—————————-

***From  the 7th HARC forum summary

7th HARC Forum

Topic: “Bringing the social media revolution to healthcare”
Keynote speaker: Lee Aase
Founder and Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media
Date: 9 November 2011

Social media is used increasingly as a personal and professional communication tool. The purpose of this Forum was to consider how we can improve healthcare delivery using social media tools.

The keynote speaker, Lee Aase, is a pioneer in using social media tools in the hospital environment and an advocate for social media adoption in healthcare. Lee is a founder and Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a first-of-its-kind social media center focused on healthcare that builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among healthcare providers in adopting social media tools.

Lee’s presentation was followed by responses from two local experts: Melissa Sweet, an independent health journalist and editor of Crikey’s health blog, Croakey; and Hugh Stephens, a social media expert and medical student enrolled at Monash University.

December 18, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | 4 Comments

A complete guide to planning a social media presence for healthcare

by  , the complete Dec 2011 article is at KevinMD.com

The world of healthcare is inherently siloed,  tethered,  fragmented and prone to poor communication and collaboration.  Today, healthcare workers solve their problems via traditional methods that are often costly, inefficient, nor timely.  Increasingly, more savvy healthcare workers are looking outside the system to digital media and communities for answers, but are challenged with uncertainty over concepts of usefulness, practicality, bandwidth issues, “ROI” and privacy concerns.

Establishing a digital presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for healthcare professionals, medical practices, and institutions.  Many have recognized this fact, yet many more have not.

At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication.  A social media presence is about educating, engaging and growing your audience, improving outcomes, compliance and potentially the bottom line of your practice….

The medium long article includes summaries of overall use of social media, how to plan for and engage in social media and online reputation tips.

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Medicine and Social Media Links from Science Roll

The Web site Science Roll is published by ” Bertalan Meskó,MD. He  graduated from the University of Debrecen, Medical School and Health Science Center in 2009 and started PhD in the field of personalized genomics. He is the founder of Webicina.com, a free service curating medical social media resources in 17 languages. He thinks medical education and communication between physicians and patients will be revolutionized with the tools and services of web 2.0.”

The Medicine and Social Media page includes links in the following areas

 

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , | Leave a comment

Could Social Media Be Used to Detect Disease Outbreaks?

From the 1 November 2011 Science Daily article

New research has looked at whether social media could be used to track an event or phenomenon, such as flu outbreaks and rainfall rates. The study by academics at the University of Bristol‘s Intelligent Systems Laboratory is published online in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology.

Social networks, such as Facebook and microblogging services like Twitter, have only been around for a short time but in that time they have provided shapshots of real life by forming, electronically, public expression and interaction.

The research by Professor Nello Cristianini and Vasileios Lampos in the University’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory, geo-tagged user posts on the microblogging service of Twitter as their input data to investigate two case studies.

The first case study looked at levels of rainfall in a given location and time using the content of tweets. The second case study collected regional flu-like illness rates from tweets to find out if an epidemic was emerging.

The study builds on previous research that reported a methodology that used tweets to track flu-like illness rates in several UK regions. The research also demonstrated a tool, the Flu Detector, which uses the content of Twitter to map current flu rates in several UK regions.

Professor Nello Cristianini, speaking about the research, said: “Twitter, in particular, encouraged their 200 million users worldwide to make their posts, commonly known as tweets, publicly available as well as tagged with the user’s location. This has led to a new wave of experimentation and research using an independent stream of information.

“Our research has demonstrated a method, by using the content of Twitter, to track an event, when it occurs and the scale of it. We were able to turn geo-tagged user posts on the microblogging service of Twitter to topic-specific geolocated signals by selecting textual features that showed the content and understanding of the text.”…

Read the entire article

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics Forum Speaker KevinMD: Social Media Gives Doctors a Voice

http://blog.massmed.org/index.php/2011/11/ethics-forum-speaker-kevinmd-social-media-gives-doctors-a-voice/

Posted on November 9th, 2011 by Erica Noonan

We recently caught up with Dr. Kevin Pho, MD, a Boston University-trained internist now practicing in Nashua, NH.  His website, KevinMD.com, is one of the Internet’s top sites for physician commentary and news.

Dr. Pho is a featured speaker at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Ethics Forum,“Social Media and Medicine: the Impact on Your Patients, Your Practice, and You,” onFriday, Dec. 2, 2011, from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

MMS:  Why should physicians get involved with social media?

Dr. Pho: We know that social media is important to patients. A Pew study says that 8 out of 10 of Internet users are online looking for medical information, but only 25 percent of them check the source of what they find. There is lots of bad information out there. I’ll be making the case for doctors to be online, guiding patients to good information.

Another reason is that social media is gives doctors a voice in national debates they didn’t have 5 or 10 years ago.  With these (social media) platforms, we can introduce topics we think are important to a wide audience.

MMS: Many doctors say they just don’t feel comfortable with social media sharing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Dr. Pho: Doctors need an online presence and digital footprint. Patients will be looking for them online, and gone are the days where they will be using the phone book. I tell people, you really need to control your own social media presence….

Related item

Using Social Media For Practicing Evidence Based Medicine  Cochrane Social Media Workshop 2011 (slideshare presentation)

December 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research

Excerpts from Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research, at the Krafty Librarian blog

Daniel Hooker posted some nice slides on Using Social Media to Advance Your Research that he presented to a group of PhDs and post-docs at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.  I gave a similar presentation to World Health Interest Group at Case Western Reserve University.  I spoke about using blogs, Twitter, wikis, etc. in scientific research.

During my presentation some of the attendees got hung up on the tools and technologies as toys and the idea of communicating was lost.  Social media is just one method people can use to communicate, share ideas, protocols, methods, lab notes, etc. In the very broadest of terms, email is sort of social media.  You can email many people who can then pass that discussion along to others. Listservs are a perfect example of this.  But email has been around with us for such a long time that there is no real discussion about its communication potential.  Yet, email was once a new fangled communication toy.

Read this abstract from Science 1982. 12;215(4534):843-52.

Computer networks are an integral part of the rapid expansion of computing. Their emergence depends both on evolving communication technologies, such as packet-switching and satellites, and on diverse experiments and innovations in the software tools that exploit communications. The tools provide computer users with facilities such as electronic mail, access to remote computers, and electronic bulletin boards. Scientists can both adapt and extend tools to meet the communication needs of their work, and several networks are developing to serve particular scientific communities.

……

Blog examples:

  • Useful Chemistry  -Chronicles research involving the synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds. Closely tied to Useful Chemistry wiki

  • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols –Discusses current events in biology with emphasis on lab techniques, protocols are highlighted & discussed in detail

  • HUGO Matters  –Discusses topics relevant to human genetics and genomics

Lab Notes blogs:

 Wiki examples:

  • UsefulChem wiki –Synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds, including experiments. It is completely open.

  • OBF wiki –Open Bioinformatics Foundation focused on supporting open source programming in bioinformatics

  • OpenWetWare –Promotes sharing of information, know-how and wisdom among researchers & groups working in biology & biological engineering. It is partially open.

  • WikiPathways –Dedicated to the curation of biological pathways

  • Yeast Genome wiki –Everything yeast including protocols, methods, reagents, strains

Lab or Research Group wikis:

 Twitter feeds:

Lists of scientists and researchers on Twitter:

The easiest way to have a rich and informative Twitter feed is to follow the people the leaders in your field are following and branch off from there.  By the way, Twitter’s site is ok for learning, but it really stinks for following any sort of conversation AND you always have to refresh the page (annoying). I highly recommend using Hootsuite or TweetDeck to monitor your Twitter feeds.  The thing I like about TweetDeck is that a little message pops up in the corner of my computer screen with the tweet. I can read it quickly and decide whether I want to ignore it, comment, or click on their link. Using Twitter on TweetDeck this way is very similar to how I use email because my email pops messages to my main screen too.

Really you need to sit down and figure out what your information needs are and the leaders in your field to follow.  This might be hard, but I bet there might be somebody in your field who is already doing it, so ask them, build off of what they are doing and tweek it to fit your needs.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

Social Media Discussion On Cardiac Arrest Reveals New Avenues For Public Health Education

From the 15 November 2011 Medical News Today article

Discussion about cardiac arrest on Twitter is common and represents a new opportunity to provide lifesaving information to the public, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The Penn investigators presented two studies (ReSS Abstracts #52 and #53) examining cardiac arrest-information exchange on the social media site today at the American Heart Association‘s annual Scientific Sessions.

The Penn researchers evaluated cardiac arrest- and resuscitation-related Tweets during a month-long period in the spring of 2011 and discovered that users frequently share information about CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and discuss resuscitation topics in the news. Although their findings indicate that use of the platform to ask questions about cardiac arrest appears to be only in its infancy, the authors suggest that Twitter represents a unique, promising avenue to respond to queries from the public and disseminate information about this leading killer – particularly in the areas of CPR training and lifesaving interventions like therapeutichypothermia. …

Read the article

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Misleading information on health social sites (and tips on how to evaluate health/medical information)

elderly computer

http://www.shockmd.com/2008/09/05/youre-never-to-old-to-learn-computer-skills/

 

 

From the Science Intelligence and InfoPros site

Social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube can be powerful platforms to deliver and receive healthcare information, especially for patients and caregivers who are increasingly going online to connect and share experiences with others with similar medical issues or concerns. However, these sites may lack patient-centered information and can also be sources of misleading information that could potentially do more harm than good, according to the results of two separate social media-related studies…
Medical News Today: 1st of November, 2011.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236877.php
iHealthBeat:
http://m.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2011/11/1/researchers-say-online-health-information-could-be-misleading.aspx

 

 

And, of course, when looking for or evaluating health information….it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional and/or a professional librarian.

At the very least… evaluate the information objectively!

 

 


Related articles and Web sites

How to evaluate medical and health information

Great starting places for quality health and medical information

  • MedlinePlus (US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health)
    Links to information on over 700 diseases/conditions, drugs & supplements, videos & tools (as health calculators, anatomy     videos, directories (as Find an Eye Doctor), and links to organizations
  •  But Wait, There’s More!

Many academic and medical institutions offer at least some reference services to the general public.  Be sure to ask for a reference librarian. He or she not only has a master’s degree in Library Science, but often additional related education in health related areas.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Social Media Has Changed a Doctor’s Practice

Last summer, I joined millions of others in the deluge of social media. I committed one year of effort to see if social would enhance or distract from my pediatric practice.

That was my goal, just one year.

At that time, I wanted to dip my foot in the pool, and see if it made any ripples. The unexpected consequence was how much social media has changed my medical practice, and me. Ripples have returned as tidal waves.

My practice has seen tangible, real valuable benefits. I have been intellectually challenged, and have professionally grown.
Read the rest of How social media has changed my medical practice on KevinMD.com.


August 19, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Training Connects Social Media and Public Health Agencies

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Social Media Guide for Local Public Health Agencies

View more documents from Allison Kline

From the 27 July 2011 Public Health Hub posting by Allision Kline

How are social media and Public Health related? How can we use social media to spread Public Health messages? We addressed these questions on July 26 at our Social Media Training seminar for our local public health partners. The training was created with the following four goals in mind:

  • Provide practical training on use and management of social media tools
  • Connect Social Media and Public Health
  • Connect with other Local Public Health Agencies (LPHAs)
  • Provide attendees with quality outside sources for social media information

To learn more about the connection between social media and Public Health, as well as how social media can help spread public health messages see the powerpoint and video from our training posted below, or view and download Creating and Connecting with an Online Community: A Social Media Guide for Local Public Health Agencies (above).

 

View more presentations from Medresearch

 

 

 

Related Resource
Public Health 2.0 – PowerPoint Presentation

These 106 slides include
  • A variety (with examples) of Web 2.0 technologies and their potential uses and applications in public health (as blogs, wikis, collaborative writing [as GoogleDocs], user reviews, GIS (as Health Map), microblogs (as Twitter), photo/video sharing, social bookmarking, social networking, professional networking,  virtual worlds
  • Privacy, security and other concerns with Web 2.0
  • Health literacy and health site evaluation

Public Health 2.0 – PowerPoint Presentation 

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , | Leave a comment

Social media serves as a powerful tool for patients disclosing illnesses

From the 6 July blog posting at Health IT Exchange

No matter the trend, social media has a role in some capacity. That’s the case for health IT as patients are increasingly disclosing medical diagnoses online for consolation purposes, according to a study released in late June by marketing and consulting firm Russell Herder.

The study was conducted over a 90-day period in which 62,893 online self-disclosures of illnesses were monitored. To obtain these self-disclosures, researchers tracked particular phrases such as “I tested positive for,” “I’ve been diagnosed with” and “Doctor said I’ve got.”

Patients tended to disclose certain conditions:

Cancer: 40%
Diabetes: 16%
Chronic Fatigue: 10%
Arthritis: 7%
ADHD: 7%
Asthma: 5%
AIDS: 5%
STD: 5%
Epilepsy: 2%
Heart Disease: 2%
Alzheimer’s: 1%…
…From a patient perspective, getting support via social media could be convenient since it can be done without leaving home. And that’s why the results of the social media study do not surprise Dr. Robert Murry, medical director of informatics at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J.

There is closure to be found in connecting with others during a difficult time, Murry said. “Patients, particularly with rare chronic diseases frequently find value in social media dedicated to their disease.” Although he does not actively participate in these practices, he said he knew that social media would find its way into the health care landscape.

Even with its benefits, the arrival of social media raises awareness on issues such as provider boundaries, provider and patient relationships and the importance of social media policies.

What constitutes a medical visit? For example, if a provider views a patient’s disclosure of a chronic illness and responds in a chat forum, does that qualify as an appointment? Keely Kolmes, a psychotherapist in San Francisco, noted in her private practice social media policy that “casual viewing of clients’ online content outside of the therapy hour can create confusion in regard to whether it’s being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy my personal curiosity.”

Malpractice concerns. This is a focal point since it deals with the delicate provider-to-patient relationship. Social media is widely used in provider-to-provider networking, but networking in the context of provider-to-patient is risky business because the conversation is often casual. Information can be easily misconstrued. If a patient is harmed based on advice from a provider — not to mention in an informal setting — it could be a malpractice nightmare. Also consider that if a provider gave advice based on a past patient’s medical record, it would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Social media policies. Adopting or creating a clear social media policy and making it accessible is important. Kolmes’ policy distinguishes which mediums she participates in, how she participates and also addresses privacy concerns. She does not accept friend or contact requests in any social media platforms, citing “that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy.”…

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pharma on Facebook / Google+ in Medicine and Pharma?

From the 8th July Pharmaphorum blog posting by Wendy Blackburn

There’s been much discussion around the pharmaceutical industry’s use of social media, especially Facebook. Is it worth the risk for pharma to engage in this uncontrolled space? Will consumers really “like” a medication in a place where they’re more likely to play Farmville? And what options does pharma have considering Facebook’s recently-announced policy changes?…

[The post goes on to say there are at least 150 pharmaceutical related Facebook pages , including those by corporations, brands (those dedicated to a single presription drug), unbranded pages (usually centered around a condition as diabetes), and those including games and/or applications.]

[The article goes on to discuss the legalities and Facebook policies concerning comments at pharma Facebook pages.]

[Some excerpts]

Facebook changes the game for pharma

“Starting today, Facebook will no longer allow admins of new pharma pages to disable commenting on the content their page shares with people on Facebook,” Facebook told pharmas in a May 17 email posted by Intouch Solutions on its blog. “Pages that currently have commenting disabled will no longer have this entitlement after August 15th. Subject to Facebook’s approval, branded pages solely dedicated to a prescription drug may (continue to) have commenting functionality removed.”

– Medical Marketing & Media Magazine….

For companies that decide they still want to be on Facebook, there are a number of options:

1. 24/7 monitoring and moderation or a “community management” model

2. Moderation applications that place a temporary “hold” on comments prior to publication

3. Branded Facebook pages, where Facebook will still allow comment disabling

4. Personal representation or company “spokesperson”

5. Advertising

6. Word filters


Google+ in Medicine and Pharma? 

From the 14 July 2011 Science Roll item
There have been some articles and blog entries lately focusing on whether Google+ could be used in medicine or pharma. I’ve been trying to use it more actively in the past couple of days and it’s still a question for me to figure out whether I should separate my professional Facebook and Google+ activities. A few comments from fellow bloggers:

Could Google+ be Pharma’s Answer to Social Media Marketing?

“Google launched a beta version of its own social network just a couple of days ago, Google+.  While many news reports over the past day or so  suggest that Google+ offers some great features, most also suggest that the network is probably no reason for people to abandon their FaceBook page as an alternative.

However, could Google+ offer a FaceBook alternative for pharma companies?  “…..

[Click here for the rest of the Science Roll article]

Google+ is a social media site (currently in beta & for invited users only) similar to Facebook.

An introductory video, review….

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research (A Unique Public Debate Site)

Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research (British Library)

[From the About Page] “Showcasing some never-seen-before research tools, thought-provoking content and futuristic design in as fully interactive research environment, Growing Knowledge aims to challenge our audiences on how research is changing and ask what they want to experience from the library of the future.”

All are welcome to be part of the conversations and  ongoing discussions through surveys, blogs, and Twitter.
Scholars, information science specialists, and other commentators are part of the conversations, a unique feature among online science discussions open to all.

Current Projects are library, scientist, and information science based, as the British Library Search Catalog,  Nature Network, and the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

 

 

“This website has engaging and thoughtful conversations about what research will be like in the coming years and decades, and that’s what won us over at the Scout Report. The conversations with scholars, information science specialists, and other commentators distinguish this site from others. Visitors are encouraged to chime in via the Twitter feed here and they can also follow posts by “Researcher in Residence” Aleks Krotoski. Also, don’t miss the “Explore the Projects” area where people can have management research updates sent right to their desktop.
How will research change and evolve in the 21st century? It’s a broad question, and the British Library has created this website to offer insight into the world of innovative research tools. First-time visitors will want to watch the video on the homepage that features commentary by various scholars and professionals on “The Modern Library”, “Information Overload”, and “Digital Research”. All of the offerings on the website complement an existing in situ exhibit that includes multimedia research stations and a “collaborative zone”. In the “Start Researching” area of the site, visitors can look at standout examples of recent collaborative digital projects that push the contemporary boundaries of research. Further along, visitors shouldn’t miss the “Tools” area which brings together high-quality online tools that can make the research process much easier and streamlined. Finally, the site is rounded out by a range of social media tools that users can use to stay on top of the latest posts and materials added to this site.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Nonprofit health organizations increase health literacy through social media

From a 4 May 2011 Medical News Today item

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2011) — As the presence of social media continues to increase as a form of communication, health organizations are searching for the most effective ways to use the online tools to pass important information to the public. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that nonprofit organizations and community groups appear to be more actively engaged in posting health information and interacting with the public on Twitter than other types of health-related organizations, such as health business corporations, educational institutions and government agencies.

“Twitter may be more appealing to nonprofit organizations because it creates a barrier-free environment that allows these organizations to share important information through real-time exchanges without significant efforts,” said Hyojung Park, a doctoral candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism. “Unlike business organizations such as pharmaceutical companies, nonprofit health organizations and advocacy groups may suffer from lack of funding, staff, and other resources in developing and implementing communication strategies for health intervention and promotion programs. Thus, it is likely that nonprofit organizations and support groups recognize the rapid growth of Twitter and its value as an inexpensive but highly effective communication tool.”…

May 5, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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