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*
We are invading their home turf. Increasingly, in among the thousands of doctors, scientists, and medical industry marketers at the largest medical conventions you are finding real patients who have the conditions discussed in the scientific sessions and exhibit halls. Patients like me want to be where the news breaks. We want to ask questions and — thanks to the Internet — we have a direct line to thousands of other patients waiting to know what new developments mean for them.
I vividly remember attending an FDA drug hearing a few years ago and how there were stock analysts sitting in the audience, BlackBerries poised for the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on whether a proposed new drug would be recommended for approval. (At that session it was thumbs down.) When the analysts got their thumbs moving, a biotech stock tanked in minutes and before long the company was announcing layoffs. Those analysts were powerful reporters.
Now patients are reporters, too, and their thumbs are just as powerful. So are their video cameras and microphones. These folks are a different breed than the folks from CNN or the scientist/journalists from MedPageToday. Their questions are all-encompassing: “What do the discussions about my disease or condition here mean for me? What should change in my treatment plan? What gives me hope? What’s important for my family to know?” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*
It’s Thanksgiving here in the States, and I’m feeling pretty thankful. While the day is reserved for turning hand tracings into turkeys, it’s also a good day to highlight what I’m thankful for this year:
I’m thankful that we have a backyard that the cats can go [potty] in, because I was tired of cleaning that litterbox. (And I’m also secretly glad that our neighbors have a ridiculous cat that comes over and starts trouble with ours, because when they pile into the bushes out back and cause the shrubbery to vibrate with their Andy Capp-style battles, it cracks me right up.)
I’m thankful for our family and friends, who have helped Chris and I adjust to our new lives as “parents” and who make “home” a place that matters. We’re so glad to be sharing this chapter of our lives with the people and in the places we love the most.
I’m thankful for having good enough health to take it for granted, and to actually have the luxury of feeling frustrated when I’m “sick” because it’s such a foreign concept.
I’m thankful for the wonderful work opportunities that have come up in the last few years, specifically for the companies and organizations that have embraced the voices of patient advocacy and who have decided to become part of the conversation.
I’m thankful I have an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor that can help me make sense of the holiday meals. Also known as: “Pie? Yes, please.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*
A new policy on professionalism in the use of social media was [recently] adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA Office of Media Relations was kind enough to share a copy of the policy:
The Internet has created the ability for medical students and physicians to communicate and share information quickly and to reach millions of people easily. Participating in social networking and other similar Internet opportunities can support physicians’ personal expression, enable individual physicians to have a professional presence online, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, provide opportunity to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communication. Social networks, blogs, and other forms of communication online also create new challenges to the patient-physician relationship. Physicians should weigh a number of considerations when maintaining a presence online:
(a) Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online.
(b) When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently. Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*
When perusing my Twitter feed [one] morning, I stumbled onto this post directed to me:
Patients reaching me in public social spaces is becoming a regular thing. I’ve discussed this in the past, but I think it bears repeating. So here’s what I did:
I understood the mom’s needs. Patients resort to “nontraditional” means of communication when the traditional channels fail to meet their needs. Recognize that these patients (or parents in my case) are simply advocating for themselves. My specialty struggles with a shortage of physicians, so we’re dependent upon phone triage to sort out the really sick from the less-than-sick. It’s an imperfect system and consequently parents find themselves having to speak up when the gravity of their child’s condition hasn’t been properly appreciated.
I took the conversation offline. I don’t discuss patient problems in places where others can see, so my first order of business in this case was to get the conversation to a place where it can be private. I called the mom, found out what was going on, and rearranged her appointment to a time appropriate to the child’s problem. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*