I just came across an interesting article about how Japan considers using social networks in disaster situations.
Emergency services are embracing technology as new ways to investigate, send alerts and receivereports of crises. And now, the Japanese are looking at social networks to support communication in disaster scenarios, especially when traditional services fail. The local Fire and Disaster Management Agency put together a panel discussion on just that topic, with representatives attending from the likes of Twitter, Yahoo, Mixi and NHN Japan, as well as various government and emergency bodies.
How could it happen? I believe it happened because Japanese authorities accepted the fact that the majority of Japanese people are using social networking sites and other social media tools. I’m wondering when this acceptance would happen in the minds of health authorities dealing with the fact that a lot of patients use online services in their health management and many doctors are getting on the social media train as well as they understand how it can save them time and efforts.
By the time authorities realize the importance of adding social media to the arsenal of communication tools in medicine, we will have our own solutions and this is not going to facilitate the transition.
Solution? The sooner it happens, the better for the stakeholders of healthcare.
A German senior centre implemented the idea of using fake bus stops to prevent Alzheimer’s disease patients from wandering off (their short term memory is not intact, while the long term memory works fine, therefore they know what the signs mean). As it is a huge success, now they bring the idea to several clinics in Germany.
The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, which pitched an exact replica of a standard stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it.
The centre had been forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their often non-existent homes and families.
Then Benrath teamed up with a local care association called the “Old Lions”. They went to the Rheinbahn transport network which supplied the bus stop.
“It sounds funny but it helps,” said Franz-Josef Goebel, the chairman of the “Old Lions” association.
Fellow medical blogger, John Sharp, had a presentation about social media and healthcare in Bilbao, Spain and posted the audio online. Enjoy!
President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, John Noseworthy, a few days ago spoke at Karolinska Institute on how Mayo Clinic is transforming medicine.
A great initiative coming from Mayo Clinic again:
Being in the hospital after major surgery is no fun. On top of dealing with pain, patients have uncertainty. They also have to worry about getting all the information they need to support their recovery. That’s not always easy in the hospital; things happen quickly and doctors and hospital staff are often really busy. Doctors at Mayo Clinic may have a solution to this issue. They’re giving iPads to heart surgery patients to see if a new iPad app can make hospital stays easier and more satisfying.
In my new series I ask medical professionals and e-patients about how they use social media presented through practical examples and suggestions (so far: a rheumatologist, a diabetes blogger, and a pediatrician answered my questions, each of them is proficient in using social media). Now please welcome Dr. Mike Sevilla, the social media guru of primary care. He launched the Dr. Anonymous Show years ago, an online radio show in which he invited me to be the guest and I woke up at 3 AM and talked with him about social media for an hour. He is the real voice of the primary care community and he kindly told me how he uses social media day by day.
- What social media channels do you use in your work and for what purposes? How do you keep yourself up-to-date and connected?
For me, I use twitter and facebook the most (meaning daily) in my work. I use twitter to find the hot topics of the day. I also use it to share links. I use facebook to keep connected with friends and family (not for clinical work). I don’t blog or podcast much as I’d like, but I utilize blogs and podcasts to state opinions and to connect with my social media audience.
- What do your patients think about social media? Do they use it?
My patients use social media a lot. I get asked every day about information that they learn on the internet. My patients share with me facebook pages to like and sometimes I get links from twitter. As I have said in blog posts and presentations in the past, I really believe that our patients will drive physicians to utilize social media.
- What social media sites do you think point towards the future of healthcare?
Even though Google Health is now offline, I really think that it was a service before its time. People will have a more of a interest in the near future of having their personal health record available to them and the next generation of Google Health type sites are coming soon.
Another site that is very interesting to me is Wolfram Alpha. This site will grow in presence and popularity because of the iPhone Siri service. Since Wolfram Alpha searches are more driven by data (as opposed to questionably bias algorthms of Google & Bing), I predict that people will use this search engine more in healthcare related searches.
Webicina has done a great job of gathering the major Family Medicine social media resources out there including blogs, podcasts, news, and others. If someone wanted to quickly learn about what is out there for Family Medicine, I direct people to check out webicina’s curated selections first.
I admit that I should really use this resource more to review the feeds that are most important to me. It’s great that it is multi-lingual and it has the most popular RSS Family Medicine journals here. Great job with this!
Dr. Eric Topol visits Google to talk about his book: The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care:
Until very recently, if you were to ask most doctors, they would tell you there were only two kinds of medicine: the quack kind, and the evidence-based kind. The former is baseless, and the latter based on the best information human effort could buy, with carefully controlled double-blind trials, hundreds of patients, and clear indicators of success.
Social media is changing how medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered. Patients, doctors, communication or even time management, everything is changing, except one thing: medical education. We need a revolution!
When a UK physician wanted to visit Hungary every week just to attend my university course focusing on social media and medicine, I decided it’s time to make this course global.
Today, The Social MEDia Course goes live with 16 flash Prezis, exciting tests, badges and achievements. Enjoy and have fun while learning! Medical students, physicians and even patients, everyone is welcome to take the course which is, of course, for free.
Here is a video about the course (and also a Prezi).
Yesterday, I was invited to talk about social media and healthcare/medicine for a very diverse group of students (economics, marketing and political science) and they had great questions from different perspectives. Once they asked me how we could motivate doctors to be a bit more web-savvy.
First I told them I think doctors don’t have to become web-savvy, but they should know about internet-related issues as their patients will have more and more questions about this area.
Second, patients have a huge motivation behind using social media and internet itself. This motivation is the condition they have to cope with which means they need information and in many cases the easiest solution is to turn to the internet.
For doctors, the motivation is not that clear for everyone, but I’m pretty certain the growing number of e-patients will be the real motivation for them. When a GP has 40 patients a day and 30 of them have internet related questions, well, that will probably persuade them to at least know about this issues.
Then I just came across this article: Docs slow to engage patients with IT
A new study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions indicates physicians are not using IT broadly to engage patients. No more than 20 percent of doctors are providing online scheduling or test results for their patients and just 6 percent are using social media to communicate with them, according to Deloitte.
And also: Giving technology tips to older doctors should be done delicately
Andrew Ritcheson, PhD, is a senior program manager and consulting psychologist for Dynamic Research Corp., a business consulting group that has provided support to both the Defense Dept. and the Dept of Veterans Affairs in implementing a range of health care initiatives. He said that although many physicians are open to receiving help from younger colleagues, there is a fine line between helping and insulting. There are ways to keep everyone’s focus on a goal of improved care, rather than worrying about if someone crossed that line, Ritcheson said. Everyone must know they can reach that goal as a team, with each member contributing his or her own strengths and acknowledging that each has something to learn from the other.
E-patient Dave deBronkart has been the most important and amazing voice of the e-patient movement for years now after surviving a kidney cancer years ago. When I asked him to comment on how medical students should become doctors who are aware of the e-patient movement, he sent me and my students this message.
He announced a few days ago that he has skin cancer again.
An odd consequence of speaking at medical conferences is that sometimes my face is displayed, real big, on monitors at the front of a room. That happened in November at the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) annual meeting in Washington.
At the end, Lisa Letourneau MD, MPH of Maine Quality Countsraced up, pointed to my jaw, and said “You should have that checked. I think it’s a basal cell.” (That’s the least serious type of skin cancer – see Wikipedia: “Basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It rarely metastasizes or kills.”) A few days later I took the picture at left, and started watching.
And now here is the newest piece of the story, Dave approaches the issue from a different angle:
I’ve decided to explore my options by doing what companies do when they’re shopping for a solution: they write a Request for Proposals, and let vendors reply. But in this case what I published isn’t cast in stone – I invite discussion and suggestions. And, significantly, I start with the context: partnership; participatory medicine -
I cannot wait to see how the industry and the healthcare system respond to such innovative approach.