Do you know how microblogging platforms such as Twitter can be used in medical communication? Do you know how such a community can filter news for you? Do you know how it can be used for crowdsourcing a diagnosis?
Posts from the ‘twitter’ Category
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).
Do you remember when more and more medical professionals started blogging 5-6 years ago and the Modern Language Association published a guide about citing a blog? Now here is the new format for citing a tweet in an academic paper.
Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.
Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:
Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.
The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader’s time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet.
Yesterday, I wrote about a self-edited directory of European healthcare professionals on Twitter which was launched by Andrew Spong after I tweeted that I’m the only European doctor in the top 25 of the global list of doctors on Twitter. Now here is the interactive map version. This project is getting more and more attention and hopefully this movement will result in a very useful list of European medical professionals being active on Twitter.
Yesterday, I tweeted that I’m the only European doctor in the top 25 of the global list of doctors on Twitter, but I know there are many European doctors using Twitter quite massively. Responding to my tweet, Andrew Spong launched a self-edited database or directory of European doctors (actually all healthcare professionals) on Twitter. Feel free to add yourself.
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?
I start a new series of interviews with medical professionals and e-patients about how they use social media presented through practical examples and suggestions. I think it’s time to talk about the details and exact habits in social media instead of wondering whether it can be useful in medicine or not. I tell you it can be, if used with strategy, in a nutshell.
The Irish Rheumatologist and social media user, Dr. Ronan Kavanagh (blog & Twitter) accepted my invitation and we talked about these real examples from his own practice. Here is how a rheumatologist uses social media with amazing sites and solutions.
- What social media channels do you use in your work and for what purposes?
I use Twitter as my primary source of medical and non-medical news and have one single identity there (as opposed to personal and professional). Twitter allows me instant access to streams of concise, relevant information from sources with similar interests to me that I can trust. It has also opened my eyes to exciting innovation taking place at the interface of medicine & technology and has allowed me to connect with other healthcare professionals, patient advocates researchers and talented innovative people. I also use Twitter to help spread information I glean from medical conferences. The act of distilling the essence of a paper into 140 characters knowing its going to be read by colleagues focuses the mind like nothing else!
I use Google reader to collate all of my rheumatology journals and interesting blogs, and have also used Google circles to present and discuss difficult cases with other medical colleagues. I use both Facebook (I have a personal account and a separate business page for my practice) and Youtube to share relevant rheumatology and health related information with my patients. I also use WordPress to publish a regular blog and use Twitter and Facebook Linkedin to distribute the blog. I use Slideshare to share presentations and am beginning to develop content content for medical student education using the online presentation tool, Prezi which you can share online. I also use Pinterest to share interesting stuff online but am uncertain how useful its going to be for me. Its hard to keep all of these portals running.
I also have a profile on Linkedin that has resulted in some interesting introductions (regarding writing and speaking invitations). On balance, and despite its rapid growth, I think it has relatively limited use for healthcare professionals in general.
I have also been experimenting with an exciting new service called Vsnap which allows users to send personalised short 1 minute video clips embedded within an email. I think it has some potential to communicate important information to patients and has significantly more impact than a text based email.
I am in the process of setting up a new Web2.0 website for my practice with a company called Symplur which will allow me to co-ordinate and harness the power of all all of these forms of social media together to educate my patients.
- What do your patients think about social media? Do they use it?
Having well educated and motivated patients in my practice makes my life (and their lives) a lot easier and I have been increasingly using social media channels to facilitate that process. I undertook a survey of my patients this year and they are very active online. Despite the slightly older age demographic of my practice (median age 57 yrs), 72% of my patients have internet access. 70% of those without direct internet access had a family member who would use it on their behalf and over 80% have looked for health related information on line. 41% of my patients are on Facebook but very few (5.3%) are on Twitter. When I ask them directly about their online experience of searching for healthcare related information, many feel overwhelmed by the volume of information online and can be a little nervous about its provenance. The feedback I’ve had about my attempts to act as a curator of content has been very positive. I think patients need a reliable guide online and I see that as my role.
- What social media sites do you think point towards the future of healthcare?
Howard Luks is an orthopaedic surgeon who is the leader and pathfinder for the best and most innovative ways for communicating to patients using social media. I really like Dr. Ves Dimov’s site especially his Allergy site. There’s a new doctors networking and collaboration site called Sermo which looks exciting (doctors can share clinical problems and get ‘curbside consults’ from other doctors). Unfortunately it is US only at present but there is another similar service called Medcrowd which has some promise. There’s a lot of talk about patient network community sites online (patientslikeme.com) but none of the patients surveyed in my practice have participated of joined any of them (its just a matter of time I think).
- What do you think about the curated Rheumatology and Social Media selection on Webicina.com? For what reasons did you use it?
It is great to really good up to date collection of rheumatology related links (to journals, blogs, news links, video’s and slidesets) online and there’s really nothing else like it online at the moment. It is an invaluable resource for rheumatologists trying to find their way online and make the best of whats available.
- Do you use the dynamic version (PeRSSonalized Rheumatology)?
I like the fully customizeable dynamic RSS page on Webcina a lot. I’m reasonably IT literate but still struggle a bit with RSS feeds and formatting them to look as I would like. This page allows you access to the live RSS feeds from all of the major rheumatology journals on one page and is fully customiseable so you can add or delete journals as you would like. Excellent idea.