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12 Predictions in Healthcare, Technology and Innovation for 2012

Last year, I published a list of my predictions for 2011 in the areas of healthcare, innovation and technology. Now after a year, I checked these items and actually many of them proved to be right (year of tablets, skyrocketing, Siri leading the way for voice controlled apps, etc.), but now it’s time to come up with the predictions for 2012. Here are my 12 predictions, please feel free to add yours in the comment section.

1) Digital only class in social media for medical professionals and e-patients. Well, that’s quite an easy prediction, as I will launch the global form of my social media in medicine university course this February.

2) Social media policy everywhere. Now that we have an open access social media guide for and about pharma; it’s time for the FDA to come up with their own detailed instructions; also universities, healthcare institutions and medical practices, everyone must have its own as almost everyone is using social media intensively.

3) Augmented reality in radiology. Augmented reality has been a major issue for some time, but seeing the video below made it clear for me, this is where we are going to head in 2012. Doctors can see through patients.

4) Health-fitness gadgets will rock 2012. Myself, I’ve been using Striiv as a fitness motivation tool which also logs my data and visualizes my exercises making it easier for me to make plans and see how I’m doing. Other examples include  Jawbone, but you can find even more if you follow the Quantified Self project.

5) Innovations in screen technologies. The form, material and functions of the screens we know now will change dramatically in 2012. Imagine paper screen, holographic screens or flexible screens on your wrist.

6) Internet TV and the operating room. The news sites are full of Apple TV and Google TV, so it’s obvious really innovative internet TVs will be launched in 2012 which brings up the idea of watching operations live on your TV at home. Just check

7) Pharma will be using social media more intensively. I’m not saying all the pharma companies will have properly designed and managed social media presence, but many brands will use social media more intensively as we should be over now the so-called learing phase and they are getting braver by time.

8) More and more tablet-specific apps. I know the number of medicine/health-related mobile apps is growing rapidly, but now it’s time to turn to tablet-specific clinical apps that could be used in radiology, clinical trials or just for grand rounds.

9) Tablets in healthcare institutions. Whenever I talked to professors and colleagues about how I use my tablet in medicine and healthcare, in a few weeks, many of them had their own tablets and started using those apps. This is contagious. In 2012, a lot of hospitals, clinics and departments will hand out iPad or Galaxy Tabs to their employees in order to facilitate teamwork and make the work processes more efficient.

10) Wikipedia will have more medical featured articles, less medical errors. We recently published a paper describing how Wikipedia can be used for global public health promotion. After years of focus on creating new medical entries in Wikipedia, now we the editors focus on including proper references into medical articles. It is going to lead to a huge improvement in quality.

11) More health bloggers turn to microblogging due to lack of time. Although I believe my blog is still my major platform online even if Twitter is the fastest channel and Facebook is the most interactive. But I understand those health bloggers who leave their blogs and turn to Posterious, Tumblr or Twitter exclusively. It takes less time to post a message or entry therefore they will use these with a bigger chance.

12) Google+ health pages on the rise. I like Google+ and I think it could be used in medical communication successfully. As Google+ has only been letting companies or institutions have G+ pages, we are going to see a rise in their number soon. Even Ed Bennett who maintains a list of hospital social media accounts will include these as well.

Let’s finish my list with a great presentation about the trends in healthcare for 2012.

Case Presentations on Google+ and Facebook?

Last week, I wrote an entry about how a French colleague organized case presentations on Google+. I said that based on the very simple privacy settings of Google+, it can be useful for such purposes. Then I received a comment from Aitor:

Hi, in Spain we’re using also Facebook for that kind of case-presentations. There’s a group called Med&Learn where several cases a day are uploaded. Since the group is closed I send you an screenshot but without names or avatars.

I’m also into an other group of medical students on Facebook where we talk about our preparation for the Spanish USMLE (called MIR) and we share cases we see in our daily medical practice or that we found on the Internet.

I just asked to be a part of this group and will publish more details later.

Facebook comments, Pharma and the hard days

The 15th of August was a special day as that day all pharma Facebook pages had to open the doors to comments which led to some interesting issues and consequences. I thought I would wait some days before writing my post so then it would be easier to see the reactions from the top pharma companies. Well, here are a few examples:

I believe there are solutions for many problems raised by these pharma companies regarding the usage of social media, although the lack of clear regulations block all innovations and transparency in communication. That is why we need and open access set of guidelines.

Pharma Facebook Moderation Case Study: Slideshow

Jay Byrant published this case study. It’s good to know people want to deal with the moderation problem pharma companies face these days on Facebook. It’s not a big deal if we set exact and clear rules and goals, but many companies just don’t start with that.

The Roast of Facebook: Video

This Facebook roast performed by Google, Twitter, MySpace, etc. made me laugh today.

Pfizer Facebook page: Hacked!

Just when I read Pfizer’s social media playbook, I heard about the news that Pfizer’s Facebook page was hacked and people posted anti-Pfizer information and also angry language. What did Pfizer do?

Pfizer quickly responded by taking down the page, but not before their 24,000 fans were potentially exposed to anti-Pfizer messages and some angry language. Ongoing online brand monitoring is important, as well as a crisis communication plan.

Some take home messages about that:

1) Did Pfizer have a good reaction to this?

I don’t think so. This is Facebook, you delete the inappropriate entries, sincerely apologize to your fans and keep on publishing quality content. And also change your password. But you don’t have to close everything for hours.

2) Is this something that can easily happen on Facebook?

Well, if you have a weak and easily identifiable password; or click on suspicious links, it could happen.

Facebook Tells Pharma Brands They Must Allow Comments

It was an important and clearly predictable step from Facebook to tell pharma brands that they must allow comments on their Facebook pages. Andrew Spong, Marc Monseau and Alex Butler had quite positive comments about that in a Facebook discussion. We will certainly include this in our open-access guide for pharma companies.

Pharma brand marketers that disable comments on their Facebook pages are in for a change. As predicted, Facebook will no longer allow pharma brands – which are typically highly risk averse when it comes to discussions about their drugs and products in social media environments – to turn off commenting on their pages.

In an effort to keep Facebook a forum for open dialogue, the company will not allow admins of new pages to disable commenting on their pages, according to a company spokesperson. In addition, brands with preexisting pages will be required to allow comments after August 15, according to an email sent by Facebook reps notifying clients of the changes. The email was posted yesterday to the Intouch Soul blog, associated with pharma marketing agency Intouch Solutions.

Facebook diagnosis by surgeon saves friend

It might only be a Facebook promo article, but I still think it’s interesting and it reflects the current situation between doctors and their patients when they can interact online. An excerpt from a recent BBC article:

Peter Ball had suffered from stomach ache for a while and at first thought he had pulled a muscle

A surgeon potentially saved the life of an old schoolfriend by diagnosing his symptoms for appendicitis on Facebook.

Rahul Velineni, from the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, saw Peter Ball’s status update on his stomach pains and his trouble walking.

He sent the 30-year-old from Cheshire a message telling him he should see a doctor immediately.

By the time surgeons operated, Mr Ball’s appendix was already perforated, which could have been fatal.

Health 2.0 News: From Mobile Search to Virtual Fluoroscopy

A ProPublica investigation found that more than a dozen of the school’s doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of its policy—two of them earning six figures since last year.

  • Word Lens instantly translates printed words from one language to another using the video camera on your iPhone.

Facebook stories and scandals: Mayo Clinic deals with them

We all know that Mayo Clinic is an example for all the healthcare institutions in the world regarding the inclusion of social media in their communication. Here are two stories that happened with Mayo Clinic and that they could handle properly.

1) A Latvian doctor at Mayo sent a controversial letter to a Latvian government official in 2009 in which he stated “as a physician, [he] cannot treat equally Russians and Latvians.” Now the letter was translated and caused serious troubles to Mayo as users left comments on the wall of the Mayo Facebook page. Mayo could deal with this properly by using fast, accurate communication with users, open comments and they tried to “flood” the stream of negative comments with positive news and announcements. Later, they asked users to comment on this issue on a different discussion tab leaving the main page for other news.

For a clinic having such open and social media centered communication, I think they cannot let this happen without consequences, they should have fired the particular doctor for 1) publishing racist comments and 2) for keeping the positive attention/reputation they have been building for a long time. Instead, they posted a message saying that they “have talked with Dr. Slucis regarding the nature, tone and perception of his comments. Regarding every other aspect, the way they handled the situation was perfect.

2) A patient posted a picture on the Mayo Facebook page about a wound/infection and asked for help. As I teach students about such situations in the Internet in Medicine course, they should let the patient know that they can’t diagnose online and provide them with real contact addresses. That’s exactly what Mayo Clinic did in this situation. Although other comments came with diagnostic ideas and miracle cures, but that’s not Mayo’s problem.

Mayo Clinic could deal with two serious issues and is still an example not only for healthcare institutions planning to use social media, but also for any kind of companies that try to promote and defend a brand online.


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