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Tweetchats: Are They Good For Doctors?

[Recently] some of us participated in the flagship physician Tweetchat (MDChat). Or better, I tried to participate between finishing up some calls and choking down a bean burrito.

When the idea was initially proposed to me I committed only to supporting its initiation with the occasional role of host. I’m simply overcommitted, but wanted to support Phil Baumann and those who were willing to try to break new ground. So I lurked, chewed, and pondered.

Doctors or not, everyone knows I’ve been a pretty lukewarm proponent of the tweetchat. I think they’re noisy, difficult to follow, and too abbreviated for constructive dialog. As early adopters I think we tend to put the novelty of the medium above its practicality.

With that said, chats can be fun. It’s a situation where I feel comfortable while at once restless. Kind of like at a medical staff meeting where the agenda doesn’t hold me quite as much as just being among my friends.

At the end of the day I might agree with Dr. Anonymous that the average physician new to social media might not find a twitter chat as the best way to spend a precious hour. For me that hour represents the better part of a blog post which, over the course of a month, will influence hundreds of readers and live forever.

But I suspect that there will always be those among us looking for companionship over content. And it’s hard to argue with that.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Better Health Bloggers Make “O” Magazine’s “Best Doctor’s Blogs” List

Check out this preview article (dated October 20, 2010) by Madonna Behen on Oprah’s “O” Magazine website entitled “4 Doctor’s Blogs to Read Now,” where two of the four doctors’ blogs listed are regular Better Health content contributors. They are family physician Lucy Hornstein, M.D., author of “Musings of a Dinosaur,” and internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist Wesby Fisher, M.D., author of “Dr. Wes.”

An excerpt:

You thought physicians were robotic and cold? A new epidemic of personal blogs written by docs might change your mind. These medical scribes are boldly posting their real feelings (and worst fears) on the web, for all the world to see. Their journals provide us patients with an informative and humanizing look behind the professional mask.

Congratulations to these great physician bloggers of ours for making up half of the list!

The Top 5 Doctors On Twitter

I got the honour to be included in the list of the top 5 [Twitter] doctors in medicine published by The Independent. The list was based on Twitterdoctors.net which uses the Klout algorithm for determining the influence of tweeting doctors:

TwitterDoctors.net updates hourly the influence of doctors tweeting based on their activity, RTs (retweets) and followers. The site began its list at the end of July and boasts “1287 doctors with more joining every day” from around the globe including Australia, Belgium, India, UK, Jamaica, Japan, Colombia and the USA.

On September 7, the top five most influential doctors are:

1. @DRoftheVaJayJay

2. @drdrew

3. @brontyman

4. @Berci

5. @hrana

It doesn’t mean that much, but it’s good to know people like the content I share day by day.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Is There Social Health Psychomanipulation?

Last week Michael Arrington wrote an important piece in Techcrunch, “Blogging and Mass Psychomanipulation.” It details how as bloggers we play to our readers for positive regard. We give ‘em red meat.

I think there’s social health psychomanipulation. Many of us indulge the obvious social health memes. We universally bash pharma, blindly buoy the empowered, and champion just about anything at the intersection of digitally democracy and health care. Too many want to be accepted, retweeted, and linked by an evolving hierarchy of power brokers looking to advance one self-imposed new standard.

And every now and again I fall into the trap and offer bread and circus.

If you’re preoccupied with traffic metrics and the blind need to belong, go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.  Push those big red “easy” buttons of social health. Contribute to the echo chamber. Then read Michael Arrington’s piece and look in the mirror. Who (or what) are you really trying to advance?

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

The Mayo Clinic Center For Social Media: What It Represents

In a move that may represent a new level of social health organization within large institutions, the Mayo Clinic announced that it has launched The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. Mayo intends to “accelerate effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and to spur broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients to improve health globally.”

Look for more information in Mayo’s press release which is diplomatically vague while at the same time lofty and enticing.

So what does this really mean?

The Mayo Clinic recognizes opportunity. The opportunity to formally offer comprehensive social media training to hospitals and medical schools is huge. The Mayo Clinic can and should leverage what they’ve done both to their own advantage and to help create a new standard for providers. While the details are forthcoming, Mayo Clinic’s manager of social and sydicated media Lee Aase tells us that Mayo wants to make available its resources, training, toolkits and legal guidelines to fledgling hospitals. 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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