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Social Media Managers: Can They Get More Doctors To Go Online?

A social media manager is becoming an imperative position for hospitals.

Medical institutions are waking up to the fact that they need to engage their patients and physicians online. Nowhere is there more fertile growth than in the various social media platforms that are prevalent today — like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

American Medical News recently profiled the phenomenon, highlighting the position of social media manager, which some institutions pay between $60,000 and $80,000 per year.

As it stands, many hospitals are tiptoeing into the world of social networks, guided by the able hands of select online mavens like Mayo Clinic’s Lee Aase and Swedish Medical Center’s Dana Lewis. However, convincing executives of the return on investment remains a challenge. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Tech-nitis: New “Overuse Injuries” From Too Much Personal Technology

It’s not surprising to people that I’m a “techy” type of guy. Reading tech stories about the latest gadgets is a nice occasional escape from work. One of the ways that medicine and tech intersect is in some “overuse injuries” that I’ve seen and talked with people about. When the Nintendo Wii first came out, there were many stories of “Wii-itis” and tendonitis-related injuries.

Last week American Medical News interviewed me for a story posted on their site [on September 27th] called “New Personal Technology Creating New Ailments.” The article opens like this:

When Mike Sevilla, MD, sees young patients at his Salem, Ohio, family practice, he often finds them text messaging or listening to music on portable media players. These tech-savvy patients may not realize it, but they could be on the way to developing health problems related to overuse of personal technology. That’s why Dr. Sevilla uses such exam room encounters as a springboard to talk about the potential health impact of today’s tech devices.

“I talk about listening to loud music and being distracted while driving. … I bring up those examples of people who were hurt or killed because they could not disconnect themselves from their cell phone,” he said. Dr. Sevilla and other physicians across the nation are adding questions about cell phone use and computer habits to the office visit at a time when dependence on electronic devices has reached unprecedented levels.

The article goes on to say that the most common physical problems that are seen include problems with vision, elbow, thumb, and wrist. These are due to prolonged use of computers and mobile devices like cell phones and electronic handheld devices. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

Doctors And “Alarm Fatigue”: Potential For Patient Harm?

The hospital is never a quiet place. Walk through the wards on a typical day and you’ll hear a cacophony of alarms, bells, and other tones coming from both computers and medical equipment.

American Medical News recently discussed so-called “alarm fatigue.” They cite a study showing find that “16,934 alarms sounded in [a medical] unit during an 18-day period.” That’s astounding, and for those who are wondering, that’s about 40 alarms an hour.

It’s not surprising that doctors become desensitized to these alarms, and that has potential to harm patients, as physicians may miss legitimate, emergent findings. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Personal Health Record Service: Who Does It Best?

A personal health record (PHR) has been touted as a way for patients to better keep track of their health information. Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault lead the way. But what happens if the company storing your data gets bought, goes bankrupt, or simply decides to discontinue their system?

Well, those who stored their data with Revolution Health are finding out first hand. The troubled company, which started off with so much fanfare yet died in a whimper, recently announced they’re shutting down their personal health record service. According to American Medical News: “Industry insiders say Revolution joins a long list of vendors who launched PHRs with a big splash, only to find little interest from consumers.”

Most of my patients don’t use a personal health record, and prefer that I enter the data in myself, or export it from from my electronic record system. The problem is: a) there isn’t enough time in a 15-minute patient visit to help patients enter in their data (apart from what I already do in my own system), and b) many online personal health record sites aren’t compatible with the systems doctors are using.

Leaving the data entry to the patient is inefficient, and a sure way to minimize the adoption rate. Indeed, “the most successful PHR-type systems have been created by healthcare organizations and have benefits to patients, such as e-mailing with physicians, online appointment scheduling and the ability to look at information entered by their physicians.”

That means a successful personal health records have to be well-integrated with or designed by existing hospital and physician systems, making it harder for a third-party system, such as the defunct Revolution Health service, to gain traction.

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

The American Medical News’ Secret To Twitter Success: Copy Editor, Pam Wood

amednewsConnoisseurs of Twitter feeds know when an account is being managed by interesting minds. So when I took a moment to express my appreciation to American Medical News for their contributions to Twitter, it was not surprising that a group of doctors immediately joined the chorus. We all knew that @amednews was a reliable source of entertaining and important information from multiple sources, but we didn’t know the person behind the account… until today.

Pam Wood is the Chief Copy Editor for American Medical News, and has cultivated a loyal following of healthcare professionals and patients on Twitter. I asked her to join me on a phone call to explain the secrets to her success. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know the person behind the tweets @amednews.

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Dr. Val: Tell me a little bit about yourself – where you’re from, your educational background, and what you’ve been doing at the AMA. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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