I’m simultaneously a behavioral researcher, an ethicist, and a hopeless Facebook addict, so I’ve been thinking a lot about a recent controversial study in which researchers manipulated the emotional content of 689,003 Facebook users’ news feeds. In summary, users who saw fewer of their friends’ posts expressing negative emotions went on to express more positive and fewer negative emotions in their own posts, while users who saw fewer posts expressing ...

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The impact of social media on cancer careI recently had the privilege of participating in a meeting hosted by the President's Cancer Panel on the role of social media in improving cancer control and treatment. The goal was to give advice to the Panel on a planned series of meetings they will be convening to discuss the topic. It was the range and quality of ...

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Is the phone in your pocket increasing your risk of being sued for medical malpractice? As more and more of our daily lives is being recorded and shared -- with or without our permission -- health care is no longer a fully safe harbor of privacy and consent. For reasons both clinical and social, in practices both ethical and ill-advised, individuals are sharing the intimacies of health care far beyond the ...

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Live tweeting from conferences has become very popular, but I'm not sure why. The biggest problem is this: Lucid communication of a point made by a speaker using more than 140 characters at a time is difficult to capture in a tweet. The tweets tend to be filled with obscure abbreviations and references to previous tweets that may seem quite clear to the tweeter but not the tweetee. Some also post ...

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A PubMed query of the phrase "social media" yields 8,747 unique peer-reviewed articles.  When the search is refined to "social media medical education" there are 578 articles.  When “professionalism” is also added to the search string, there are only 31 article results.  This suggests that very few authors are writing about the topic: Approximately 0.4% of the available peer-reviewed literature about social media pertains to how we doctors should use and ...

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Thousands of health care providers now utilize Twitter and other social media as a means of communicating and staying in touch. We follow conference hashtags from afar to keep up-to-date, and to e-meet new and interesting people who share a common goal. In this way, we are able to grow our networks, foster our relevance, improve our knowledge base, and reach out to assist others. Whether we are physicians, nurses, or physical ...

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When doctors tweet about oncology, they tweet about breast cancer. A lot. Last year, about 4,000 doctors tweeted about cancer generating somewhere in excess of 80,000 tweets. And more than one in four -- a whopping 26 percent -- mentioned breast cancer, according to an analysis of physician tweets that we conducted for the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. That doctors talk overwhelmingly about breast cancer is either a ho-hum ...

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Is it possible for a doctor to be a journalist? A journalist a doctor? A runner to be a journalist and a doctor? In trying to be all the above I walked (arguably crossed) a line which sparked disappointment amongst my co-workers, and criticism from the public. When I started residency we had a lecture on the do’s and don’ts of social media. Don’t talk about patients, don’t post pictures of ...

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The government dropped a gigantic dataset: details on nearly every single procedure performed by a U.S. doctor on a Medicare patient. The release was greeted with some serious gnashing of teeth, at least as far as doctors were concerned. The American Medical Association, which has always been staunchly opposed to the release of this sort of data, made sure it's objection was -- again -- on the record. MedPage Today leads ...

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I'm often asked why I use a pseudonym. When I first started blogging almost 4 years ago, I was still in practice. Some of my posts are a little edgy and my sense of humor is not for everyone. I didn't want patients to Google me and have my blog come up on the first page of hits. Now that I've been retired for over a year, I still have not ...

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