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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 »

Social Media Psychosis: 8 Stages

Even though it’s 2010, the talk and hype orbiting around social media continues. In fact, it seems to be getting louder. So I put together a Prezi: 8 Stages of Social Media Psychosis (some language may be harsh.)

For those of us who’ve been at this for a long time (my experience with social networking goes back to 1978 –- that’s a whole other story), it’s startling to witness the level of Web illiteracy in many important, well-financed organizations. Unfortunately, due to this Web illiteracy, I’m sad to say that the talk around social media will go on for some time. And that’s dismaying, because there so much more that we can talk about.

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

From Drug Addict To Grad School: This Is Why I Blog

Last July we wrote about the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and spoke of Buzz Aldrin’s autobiography about his battle with alcoholism in the years following. The post drew a comment from a reader who I’ve renamed “Anon.” It read:

Thank you so much for this post.

I am a recovering drug addict and am in the process of applying to graduate programs. I have a stellar GPA, have assisted as an undergraduate TA, and have been engaged in research for over a year. I also have a felony and was homeless for 3 years.

I don’t hide my recovery from people once I know them, but I sometimes, especially at school, am privy to what people think of addicts when they don’t know one is sitting next to them. It scares me to think of how to discuss my past if asked at an admissions interview. Or whether it will keep me from someday working at a university.

I’ve seen a fair amount of posts on ScienceBlogs concerning mental health issues and academia, but this is the first I’ve seen concerning humanizing addiction and reminding us that addiction strikes a certain amount of the population regardless of status, family background or intelligence.

I really appreciate this post. Thank you.

While I’m not a substance abuse researcher, many drugs of abuse come from my research area (natural products) — think cocaine, morphine and other opiates. I also have special compassion for folks with the biochemical predisposition to substance dependence, as I come from a long line of alcoholics, including my beloved father who I lost way too early. 

With that said, I’m sure you understand how Anon’s comment hit me and how grateful I was for her appreciation. So moving, in fact, that I raised her comment to its own post. Since many of you are in academia and serve on graduate admissions committees, I figured you’d have some good advice for her. Well, you did. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

How Are Physicians Using Social Media?

The time is approaching when businesses will want to capture the eyes and minds of physicians in the social world.  Throwaways and mailouts will give way to more current channels of communication.  Friends in the health
industry ask how they should connect with physicians using social media channels.

The rules really aren’t much different but here are a couple of things the consultants will never tell you:

I’m not on Sermo.  While Sermo and Ozmosis may seem like obvious targets, physician specific verticals are tricky.   The road to the successful physician network is littered with the skeletons of startups who went broke trying to capture our eyeballs.  While its hard to ignore Forrester’s bullish analysis of services like Sermo, I don’t
expect
the enthusiasm to be sustained.  Look to the next iteration of IMedExchange to possibly be a game changer
in this area.  Until then, the connectors who are going to get you where you want to go aren’t necessarily hangin’
with other doctors.  They’re found in the wild. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Conversation Is Not A Business Strategy

I don’t agree with the first thesis of the Cluetrain Manifesto which asserts: Markets are conversations. There’s a measure of truth to it, but it’s an assertion that can lead marketers down a narrow path that obstructs a larger view of the possibilities of media. If markets were indeed conversations, then we all could get rich just by conversing. No, leading an audience is what gets things done – conversation is simply a bonus feature of a two-way Web.

I need to make my point in the flesh. So here I am, presenting an elucidation of my thesis: Audiences are strategic imperatives [link to video if you can’t see the embed is here]: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

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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