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Latest Posts

Medicine Is A Human Thing

If there is a central theme to this blog, it is this: Medicine is a human thing.

On the Facebook page of my podcast, I recently asked for readers to tell me some of the “war stories” they have from the doctor’s office. What are some of the bad things doctors do wrong? I quickly followed this with the flip side, asking readers to comment on the best interactions that they’ve had with their doctors.

The response was overwhelming, and equally quick to both rant and rave. They told stories about doctors who didn’t listen, explain, or even talk with them. They told about arrogance and disconnectedness from the people from whom they were seeking help. They also told about doctors who took extra effort to listen and to reach out in communication. They talked about doctors who genuinely seemed to value them as humans. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Wireless Hacking Of Medical Implants: A Call For Regulation

Researchers from the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle have published an article in the latest New England Journal of Medicine suggesting technological and regulatory actions that they hope will increase the security and privacy of implantable medical devices.

As has been reported earlier, implantable pacemakers, defibrillators, and similar devices are subject to wireless hacking that may influence their functionality. Although a lip-smacking target for devious hackers, an actual incident where a person’s implant has been interfered with is yet to be reported.

NEJM: Improving the Security and Privacy of Implantable Medical Devices…

Flashback: Implant Hacking Possible, Not Probable…Yet

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

HIPAA Stifles Tech Innovation, Developing Nations Take Communications Lead

Sms_your_doctor_mexicoThis picture from 3G Doctor is remarkable.  It captures the flier of a Merck supported Mexican Medmobile initiative that apparently connects patients with their doctors via SMS (translation available on 3G Doctor Blog.)

But don’t expect fliers of this type in American offices anytime soon.  Risk of privacy violation and difficulty in documentation stifle this level of
doctor-patient connectivity.  The very laws created to protect patients may ultimately thwart the timely adoption of new communication channels.

And the slow march towards a single payer system will only make real connectivity a rare bird.

Look to the groundswell in mobile technology and social platforms will force change in our current privacy laws.  Until then look for innovation to come from the second and third world.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Twitter Recommendations For Doctors

Thanks to Medscape for including my take in their recent article, “Is Twitter a “must” for doctors?

I discuss some common sense tips doctors should follow while using Twitter:

1. Patient privacy is paramount. Do not discuss individual cases or provide patient advice via Twitter.
2. Use Twitter to point your patients to trustworthy online health information sources.
3. Use Twitter as a tool to promote your practice’s brand. More and more patients are using Twitter; those who do are likely to feel positive about their physicians using it as well. More than just a fad, Pho says that Twitter is here to stay and offers tremendous potential.
4. Remind your patients using Twitter: Be careful whom you follow. Anyone can sign up for Twitter claiming to be a physician. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Social Media 2.0: When Real Experts Broadcast Themselves


Tweety Bird
Image by sirwiseowl via Flickr

Disclosure: I’m fascinated with Technology in general and social software and communities in particular. I’m one of Twitter’s biggest fanboys (here’s proof). I blog and tweet often about these media because I believe it’s important that we understand our relationship with Technology (and for me, Technology is more than just gadgets – for instance: I consider Law, Democracy, Religion and Capitalism technologies – but that’s another post).

I also believe that we need better or more original conversations about the Web and its deepening influences on our lives, our businesses, our sciences and our health care. Social Media pundits (or however they refer to themselves: gurus, evangelists, mavens) for too long have held the dominant voice in these discussions.

One phenomenon which our Web has engendered is the ability for virtually anyone to express their opinions and experiences and perspectives in accordance with their mastery of media. And therein lies a pesky issue: one’s accumulation of social attention for a particular field doesn’t always correlate with their expertise.

Over the last decade, many brilliant contributors have offered important and refreshing perspectives on the promises of the web. But some of these ideas have yet to be vetted and validated by closer scrutiny and scientific inquiry. The truth is not always intuitive. It’s easy, therefore, for appealing ideas to have fundamental flaws. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at phil baumann online*

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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