Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Swanson: Physicians Have An Ethical Duty To Participate In Social Media

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD

Most physicians still don’t see the need to blog, Tweet, or spend time on Facebook. They groan when you ask if they participate on social media platforms. “I’m too busy seeing patients,” they say, “and why would I expose myself to legal risk? Someone might think that I’m giving medical advice, or disclosing personal information about patients online.”

While these fears are pervasive, early adopters of social media like Dr. Wendy Swanson (and yours truly, by the way) have a different view. Not only should physicians become active in social media, but they have an ethical responsibility to do so.

Wendy is a pediatrician, mother, and blogger at Seattle Children’s Hospital. My friend “ePatient Dave” deBronkart recently encouraged me to watch an excellent video of Wendy speaking at the Swedish Symposium 2010 conference. I’d like to summarize Wendy’s pro-social media arguments for you here, with the hope of luring more of my peers to join the conversation online! Read more »

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*

“Killer” Grand Rounds From Down Under

Grand RoundsBetter Health’s Grand Rounds this week is hosted by the ever-so-crafty Life in the Fast Lane team of Australian physicians at the Utopian College of Emergency for Medicine.

These docs “take great pleasure in sharing their medical experiences, clinical knowledge and insights into waiting-room medicine with health-conscious technophiles to facilitate the learning process by providing diverse and hopefully entertaining reading material.” It’s always worth a read (and a chuckle), no doubt.

With the theme of ”Killer Posts” (just a hint — hate to blow the surprise), this edition of Grand Rounds is sure to educate in more ways than one! Experience it HERE.

Unease About Blogging And Social Media In Medicine

Although it happened a few weeks ago, I only recently learned of the “retirement” of the blog called “Medic999” by EMS social media superstar Mark Glencourse who works in the United Kingdom. I only learned of Mark and his blog (which was recognized as the 2009 Fire/EMS Blog of the Year) in the past few months in association with the hugely popular Chronicles of EMS project (see the first episode on video here).

In stating why he was stopping his blog, unfortunately, I find similar thoughts being shared by the medical colleagues I know about why people either stop blogging or don’t ever start in the first place:

I find it a shame that the reason for this blog ending is the general lack of understanding of blogging and social media. I feel that I have promoted best practice, shared my passion for the job that I do, and hopefully have shown all readers what it is that makes EMS and those that devote their lives to it so special.

However, there still remains a general unease about social media and blogging in the health service. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

Mainstream Media Has Blogger Envy

headline_nurse2I never knew that newspapers use to hire nurses. This nurse is working in a big city at the news desk. I wonder if she had to have a journalism degree as well as a nursing license in order to write copy for a media outlet back when nurses wore their cap. There was a time when only journalists wrote the news. Now anyone with a computer, a video camera, and a website can out scoop CNN. Kim from Emergiblog told me that some bloggers and a member of the press got into a debate at BlogWorld09. I wasn’t surprised to hear this because mainstream media thinks that its the only legitimate source for news. Come on mainstream media, we both know what’s really going on here. You have blogger envy.

I’m sorry if I sound cranky, mainstream media, but I’m really tired of all your whining. I know you don’t think that citizen journalists check their facts and that we lack reliable news sources. Some of you have even said that our stories aren’t fair and balanced. Do you really want to go there, mainstream media? I’m talking to you Fox News and MSNBC. You’ve got your nerve to criticize anyone about their scruples. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »