“It’s a disgrace to the human race.” The talented, high school senior physically cringed as she described the app, adding, “it’s just horrifying what people put on there.” Teens in my office have nearly universally agreed in the repulsive nature of one of the newest social networking apps called Yik Yak. The app is causing disruption within our local community; being described as a way to cyberbully, offend, and generally disgust anyone anonymously. App users, or ...

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Much has been written about how Web 2.0 tools can change the healthcare landscape.  It would appear a recent set of circumstances has upped the ante. This story begins with a recent study that attempted to tackle the problem of ICU infections. ICU infections are a challenging problem, patients who are admitted to the ICU are at risk of worsening illness and death from infections such as MRSA which can be ...

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We tweet about births, weddings, first days of school, anniversaries, illness, and mundane things like what we had for dinner last night. One area that seems to send shock waves and launches a thousand Mashable articles is tweeting about someone dying. Last summer, NPR's Scott Simon tweeted live from his mother's bedside. And the world watched and mourned right along side him. Right now, Laurie Kilmartin, a comic from the show, ...

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If knowledge is power, then content (in proper context) is king. Why am I online blogging, pushing content through my website and even interacting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and many other sites?  Because my patients are there. Increasingly, they are utilizing the Internet to self-diagnose; to look for “second opinions” from peers and friends; to research a physician, recommended treatment, or hospital; or to find the latest information on their ...

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Over the last decade, researchers, doctors and the life-sciences industry have made great strides in treating HIV. Medications once routinely delivered through complicated multidose cocktails are now, for some patients, available in a one-pill-a-day form. While adhering to even a once-daily regimen is still a challenge, significant progress on the treatment of HIV is undeniable. On the prevention front, however, there’s still work to be done. Despite a significant public-education campaign ...

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On December 4th, 2013, Katie Couric gave the HPV vaccine center stage during a segment on her talk show, Katie. The segment, entitled “The HPV Controversy,” was 20 minutes long, but ignited a digital firestorm between pro- and anti-vaccine voices that raged for days after the stage lights went dark. In partnership with Global Prairie, the entire online conversation surrounding this Katie segment was digitally captured using DataFarm. ...

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Use crowdsourcing to develop clinical trialsAt my hospital, we are committed to offering a lot of clinical trials in the community. But it’s hard -- nationally, only about 3% of patients with cancer participate in clinical trials. Even at some academic centers, it may be below 10%. With less research funding available, we need to find new ways to make it easier and cheaper ...

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Twitter -- its functions, benefits, risks and limitations -- has figured prominently in the heated discussion about Emma and Bill Keller's respective editorials in The Guardian (since deleted, though the archived version is still available) and the New York Times about the Twitter feed of Lisa Bonchek Adams. I have followed Lisa for a long time and greatly admire her thoughtful, highly personal tweets about the ups and downs ...

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Historically, we’ve often thought of the doctor-patient encounter as something of a silo. Patients come in with symptoms, and the doctor addresses them, perhaps ordering tests or referring the patients down the line of colleagues. That model inexorably changed with the Internet. Today, patients come to their appointments educated on symptoms, treatments, and even us. They are frequently prepared with research and granular questions. They are engaged with the process, and often ...

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Twitter and cancer patients: What to make of the outrage?On one afternoon last week, I sat at my desk working on a paper when my iPhone buzzed, telling me I had a new message. This message, forwarded from my Twitter account, alerted me to an editorial published in the Guardian (which has since been removed because it was “inconsistent with the Guardian editorial code). Entitled, “Forget funeral selfies. What are the ethics of tweeting ...

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