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World’s First Live-Tweeted Open-Heart Surgery

This piece has been all around the news for the last couple of days, even if the phenomenon is not new at all. The Henry Ford Hospital performed the first live tweeting (sending short updates about the procedures on Twitter) years ago during an awake craniotomy. Then it seemed more and more healthcare institutions started doing the same.

Now the  Houston’s Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital did that during an open-heart surgery.

On Tuesday, Dr. Michael Macris performed a double-coronary artery bypass on a 57-year-old patient. Dr. Macris’ colleague, Dr. Paresh Patel, provided 140-character updates throughout the procedure and answered questions submitted by followers of the hospital’s @houstonhospital Twitter account.

Dr. Macris also wore a camera attached to his head, according to Texas Monthly, and Dr. Patel snapped additional photos.

Videos were also posted. Preparations:

I believe patients undergoing the same procedures later like this educational Twitter stream, doctors performing the same would also like it (at least because of the generated discussions) and the hospital certainly likes it as it brings them many new followers.

Are Twitter’s people ready and related to healthcare enough that such streams could become common?

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hard to see value in this exercise. To what end is this worthwhile for either the public or the individual patient?

    February 28, 2012
    • Don’t you think a patient would like to see what happens during such an operation minute by minute if he/she will undergo the same operation later?

      March 3, 2012
      • Hi Berci,
        I think the doctors performing the procedure can be distracted by the Twitter, so the patient in the OR is at greater risk. For a patient contemplating surgery, a video or detailed description would be better than tweets IMO.

        March 16, 2012
      • I’m pretty sure there is a person in the OP just for this reason (so the OR team + 1).

        March 25, 2012
      • Exactly, so who’s paying that person’s salary? Seriously, here, at most hospitals where I’ve worked and been a patient there are not enough nurses, aides, clerks, transport workers, etc. Also, even if funds and staff were unlimited – the tweets could be distracting to the physicians and nurses scrubbed in.

        March 26, 2012
      • Same goes for our hospitals, Elaine!

        April 7, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. World’s first live-tweeted open-heart surgery « Things I grab, motley collection
  2. Eerste live getweette open-hart operatie | changinghealthcare.nl
  3. An MDigitalLife Recap – The Journey So Far | Common Sense
  4. Hospital uses Instagram to live stream a child’s open heart surgery « ScienceRoll
  5. Top Medical Social Media Stories of 2012: Month by Month « ScienceRoll

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