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Posts from the ‘Surgery’ Category

Social Media for a Surgeon: Interview

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, a GP and a pediatrician answered my questions, each of them is proficient in using social media). Now please welcome Howard J. Luks, MD, a social media star and also surgeon who uses social media with strategy and good skills. He told me what channels he uses daily and how he designs his online presence.

  • What social media channels do you use in your work and for what purposes?

Social Media has become very “cultural”. Certain platforms are found to be more useful by certain people. No one platforms suits everyones needs. Because my primary interest is in educating people around the globe I utilize Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest to reach out to my audience.

I use twitter as an “inbound” tool for personal learning, as well as an outbound tool for “teaching” and sharing relevant content.
I use Facebook to share content, pictures, and I also use it as a tool to humanize my practice. By sharing photos and videos, I am able to show patients who I am as an individual and assist them in not only learning about orthopedics, but about me – as a physician.
Patients like taking in content in short video segments. I have found Youtube very useful in that regard. Google+ and Pinterest interest me and I’m exploring how best to utilize them to reach a global healthcare audience.

I have enjoyed using Doximity to interact behind a HIPAA compliant firewall with my colleagues on more sensitive topics as the healthcare landscape in US continues to evolve and change rapidly.

  • What do your patients think about social media? Do they use it?

15% of patients who visit my office have seen my website, Facebook page or Twitter account. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t mention how comforting it is that I have that presence as it helps to build trust and initiate the relationship before we have even met. I share links and sites with patients when our interaction is over so that they may explore various sites to learn more about their orthopedic issue — and if they are comfortable with the idea, I encourage them to follow us on FB and Tw.

  • What social media sites do you think point towards the future of healthcare?

Hopefully the laws surrounding privacy change, and we develop platforms that are rooted in social media but enable us to better interact with our patients — which we really can not do today. Such sites would enable us to improve our ability to educate, answer specific questions, monitor adherence, predict who is at risk for a complication and hopefully they will enable us to assist patients to modify their unhealthy behavioral patterns.

  • What do you think about the curated Surgery and Social Media selection on For what reasons did you use it?

I think that you and your staff have done a wonderful job at curating some very useful feeds on Webicina. I refer patients here often. Many patients do not understand RSS feeds, etc so your platform enables them to benefit from the fact that the information is curated for them. As your platform matures, I would also like to see concentration on more keyword based searches and somehow provide a mechanism for the cream to rise to the top as determined by your readers and subscribers.

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?

Origami and Manicure with the Da Vinci Robot

Medgadget featured a video in which Dr. James Porter of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle folds a paper airplane with the da Vinci medical robot and attempts to make it fly.

Here is another video in which Dr. James Porter again gives his daughter a manicure with the da Vinci surgical robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.


Funny Surgery Stories: Launched

Last week I wrote about a new site, Funny Surgery Stories, where medical professionals and patients are encouraged to share stories, upload videos or music focusing on funny stories from the OR. The site is now live and features some real pearls as shown below.

Funny Surgery Stories

I’ve come across a new site that will feature funny surgery stories. You can upload stories through text or via Youtube. I contacted the admins for an interview. Details later.

DIY Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Kit on Amazon

I’m pretty sure that this is just a joke, but you can actually buy a DIY Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Kit on Amazon.

One of the comments there:

Unfortunately I managed to get this all screwed up. It should have been clearer that you don’t use all three kits. I ended up doing my stomach, liver and what I believe is a kidney although I don’t have enough medical experience to say for sure. It was very hard to use some of the tools while looking in the various mirrors I had set up. But, I got it done. At one point my wife came in, saw the mess and said I should have called a real doctor. Well, I showed her! I’m now happily eating, drinking and urinating much less. I look forward to trying the next release, the cardiac bypass kit.

Live Tweeting During Operations Again

You may remember when I mentioned that the Henry Ford Hospital streamed the first live surgery on Twitter (Twurgery). It seems it wasn’t an only example, as now more and more healthcare institutions start doing the same.

It seems as though Twitter is everywhere these days, but this is a new one: Thursday, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro is tweeting in the operating room.

MTMC tweeted updates and photos of a woman’s hysterectomy as it happened. The patient, Karen Alwell, said she was confident everything would go well.

It wasn’t the surgeon tapping away on his smart-phone; he had his hands full operating the daVinci Robotic Surgical System to complete the hysterectomy. An employee at the hospital posted the updates.

You can follow their Twitter account for more updates and they also posted images during the operation.



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