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Latest Posts

Health 2.0: Is It A Threat To The Medical Profession?

The Internet has threatened journalism. Clay Shirky has said that everyone is a media outlet. An Internet connection and blogging platform makes everyone a publisher. Can the mass professionalization of journalism be applied to medicine or health? Can access to a broadband connection outfit a citizen to think and act like a physician?

There are pieces of what physicians do that can be replicated, and other pieces that can’t. The technical things that doctors do can’t be replaced. Removing an appendix or replacing a heart valve, for example. Tough to pull off on CureTogether.

But what about the thinking? After all, patients have access to the same information, references, and literature as physicians. Unfettered access to information can create an illusion. It can give us a false sense of control. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Newt Gingrich’s Take On Facebook Saving A Woman’s Life

I’ve seen at least half a dozen links to the op-ed coauthored by Newt Gingrich and neurosurgeon Kamal Thapar about how the doctor used information on Facebook to save a woman’s life. (It was published by AOL News. Really.)

In brief, a woman who had been to see a number of different health care providers without getting a clear diagnosis showed up in an emergency room, went into a coma and nearly died. She was saved by a doctor’s review of the detailed notes she kept about her symptoms, etc., which she posted on Facebook. The story is vague on the details, but apparently her son facilitated getting the doc access to her Facebook page, and the details posted there allowed him to diagnose and treat her condition. She recovered fully.

Newt and Dr. Thapar wax rhapsodic about how Facebook saved a life, and sing the praises of social media’s role in modern medicine. (I’m not sure how this really fits in with Newt’s stance on health reform, within his 12-step program to achieve the total replacement of the Left…but, hey, nobody has the patience these days for so many details anyway.)

Regular readers of HealthBlawg know that I would perhaps be the last to challenge the proposition that social media has a role to play in health care. However, I think Newt got it wrong here. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*

Should Medical School Applications Mention Social Media?

I have a friend actively involved in social health applying for medical school. She reached out to ask me how much should she make of her social media involvement? Will the mention of participation on a SXSW panel or the start of a social community help or hurt her application?

Actually a good question. Some academics, after all, see social media as a waste of time, but many are curious about it.  The really smart ones understand its potential power. So as a medical school applicant you can see how this could work for you or against you.

While initially I thought that positioning yourself as a social health innovator could be something of a liability, I think the potential upside outweighs risk. But like so many things, it’s all in how you set it up. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Defining “Health 2.0” And “Medicine 2.0”

My good friends, Tom H Van De Belt and Lucien JLPG Engelen from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, just published a great systematic review in the Journal of Medical Internet Research about the definitions of medicine 2.0 and health 2.0 It was time to collect all the available data about these terms. An excerpt from the abstract:

Objective: The objective was to identify unique definitions of Health 2.0/Medicine 2.0 and recurrent topics within the definitions.

Methods: A systematic literature review of electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL) and gray literature on the Internet using the search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo was performed to find unique definitions of Health 2.0/Medicine 2.0.

Results: We found a total of 1937 articles, 533 in scientific databases and 1404 in the gray literature. We selected 46 unique definitions for further analysis and identified 7 main topics.

Conclusions: Health 2.0/Medicine 2.0 are still developing areas. Many articles concerning this subject were found, primarily on the Internet. However, there is still no general consensus regarding the definition of Health 2.0/Medicine 2.0.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Social Health And Patient Empowerment: Are We In A Bubble?

I regularly talk to my patients’ parents about social health. What parents do, what they think, and how they socially experience their child’s health problems has become an interest of mine.

I can hear it now: “Of course patients won’t discuss their social health activities with you, you’re a doctor.” Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Actually, I’ve had some very interesting open dialog with a few of my long-term patient-parents. Many have children suffering with chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease, eosinophilic enteropathy, and the like. The relationships I cultivate are open, and the nature of my dialog has been just as consistently open as other aspects of our relationship.

Interestingly, while nearly all have used online search to understand their disease, most have never connected with other disease sufferers in the online space. The concept of crowdsourcing is met with puzzled looks. Sure they’re e-patients, but I would characterize most of my patients as e-patients. The question is: What does that really mean? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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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