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Science 2.0: A New Community Site For Scientists And Physicians

I’ve recently come across Science 2.0, a new community site that doesn’t want to become a Facebook for scientists, but something different. Here’s what Mark Hahnel, the founder, had in mind:

As you know, Science 2.0 is based on real time news and comments, which the users provide. Obviously, places like friend feed do exist and I don’t wish to take anything away from it. The idea of this place though, is a fluid evolving site, where users can suggest, edit or contribute in any way they wish. I’d really like to hear suggestions on what people would like to see, how we can answer the questions that science 2.0 poses collectively. I only started the site last week but the response has been great and the site has evolved quite a lot in a week due to user suggestions. There are several things I am working on in to develop the site, at the forefront of my mind is wikis.

Now it’s added to the extended list of Community Sites for Scientists and Physicians.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Evidence-Based Social Media In Medicine And Healthcare

I’ve started  a series on evidence-based social media in which I share peer-reviewed articles that focus on using social media in medicine or healthcare:

The key words used as well as the number and geographic location of searches can provide trend data, as have recently been made available by Google Trends. We report briefly on exploring this resource using Lyme disease as an example because it has well-described seasonal and geographic patterns.

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Recent Readings On Social Media In Medicine

Here are a few papers and publications focusing on how social media can be used in medicine, healthcare and science. These represent the evidence-based approach in social media:

Google docs: a better method than a paper clinical schedule. Kippenbrock T, Holloway E, Moore DD. Comput Inform Nurs. 2010 May-Jun;28(3):138-40.

How to get the most from the medical literature: keeping up to date in nephrology. Cullis J, Webster AC. Nephrology (Carlton). 2010 Apr;15(3):269-76.

Twitter: consider the possibilities for continuing nursing education. Billings DM, Kowalski K, Bristol TJ. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2010 May;41(5):199-200.

Literature search on risk factors for sarcoma: PubMed and Google Scholar may be complementary sources. Mastrangelo G, Fadda E, Rossi CR, Zamprogno E, Buja A, Cegolon L. BMC Res Notes. 2010 May 10;3(1):131.

Effect of visual media use on school performance: a prospective study. Sharif I, Wills TA, Sargent JD. J Adolesc Health. 2010 Jan;46(1):52-61.

Patients’ Evaluations of Health Care Providers in the Era of Social Networking: An Analysis of Physician-Rating Websites. Lagu T, Hannon NS, Rothberg MB, Lindenauer PK. J Gen Intern Med. 2010 May 13.

Tweeting science and ethics: social media as a tool for constructive public engagement. Regenberg AC. Am J Bioeth. 2010 May;10(5):30-1.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

The Value Of Social Media For Patients, Doctors And Nurses

A patient apologized to me for asking so many questions. “There’s no need to apologize,” I said to the patient, “It’s wonderful that you have so many questions concerning your healthcare.” I mentioned to her that she is an “empowered and engaged patient,” and that’s a good thing.

It’s no secret that health consumers are turning to the Internet for health information.

In a recent article from MediaPost News, Gavin O’Malley writes that, according to new a study by Epsilon Strategic & Analytic Consulting Group, “40% of online consumers use social media for health information — reading or posting content — while the frequency of engagement varies widely. According to the study, individuals who use healthcare social media fall into two broad groups: the 80% who are highly engaged patients, and take active roles in health management; and the 20% who lack confidence to play an active role in their own health.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Does Social Media Break Down Valid Health Information?

This is the era of evidence-based social media as more and more papers focusing on medicine and social media are coming out. An interesting paper was published a few days ago in the American Journal of Infection Control. Scanfeld et al. tried to reveal the rate of misunderstanding or misuse of antibiotics in Twitter messages in their study: Dissemination of health information through social networks: Twitter and antibiotics.

BACKGROUND: This study reviewed Twitter status updates mentioning “antibiotic(s)” to determine overarching categories and explore evidence of misunderstanding or misuse of antibiotics.

METHODS: One thousand Twitter status updates mentioning antibiotic(s) were randomly selected for content analysis and categorization. To explore cases of potential misunderstanding or misuse, these status updates were mined for co-occurrence of the following terms: “cold + antibiotic(s),” “extra + antibiotic(s),” “flu + antibiotic(s),” “leftover + antibiotic(s),” and “share + antibiotic(s)” and reviewed to confirm evidence of misuse or misunderstanding.

RESULTS: Of the 1000 status updates, 971 were categorized into 11 groups. Cases of misunderstanding or abuse were identified for the following combinations: “flu + antibiotic(s)” (n = 345), “cold + antibiotic(s)” (n = 302), “leftover + antibiotic(s)” (n = 23), “share + antibiotic(s)” (n = 10), and “extra + antibiotic(s)” (n = 7).

CONCLUSION: Social media sites offer means of health information sharing. Further study is warranted to explore how such networks may provide a venue to identify misuse or misunderstanding of antibiotics, promote positive behavior change, disseminate valid information, and explore how such tools can be used to gather real-time health data.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Latest Interviews

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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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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

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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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