At the end of a long day at my medical practice, I am sitting at my computer catching up with friends via Facebook. Suddenly, a notification pops up: one of the patients I saw today has sent me a friend request. I know that the ACP, AMA and every other physician organization recommends strongly that doctors not connect with patients via social media, so I quickly click to decline the ...

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Well, I’ve done it again. It seems that everytime I try to make the early registration deadline for a conference, something seems to come up. One of the kids gets sick, a transmission breaks, I have a crazy week at work ... you know, life. Unlike the past few years however, I’m very excited to say that I will be making it to the American College of Chest Physician’s annual scientific ...

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Patients have gone online, digital natives are entering medical schools and regulatory bodies, like the General Medical Council in the UK, are scrambling to respond to the impact these changes are having on medical professionalism. The possibilities for enhanced learning, better communication and higher quality care are vast. Social media, which has been described as the greatest revolution since the Gutenberg printing press, can provide patients with faster and easier access to ...

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An anesthesiologist at a California hospital pasted stickers simulating a mustache and teardrops on the face of a hospital employee while she was having surgery on a finger. According to the Los Angeles Times, the doctor said, "I thought she would think this is funny and she would appreciate it." And if that wasn't bad enough, a "nursing attendant" took a photograph. The patient, who said she had to quit her job ...

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When a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant or any other professional graduated from university, or moved to a new town, he or she would most often locate a nice little office, prepare it for the big day and hang out a shingle to let the world know that new services are available. The world back then consisted of the immediate neighborhood in the big city or an entire small town ...

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A support group has many potential benefits, some of which include improving coping skills, reducing anxiety, depression, isolation, ignorance about the condition and others.  Online patient communities (OPCs) are a recent phenomenon.  Some are open (with respect to type of member or fee) and some are more focused and closed.  Irrespective of the type, OPCs have blossomed. It is a major indication of social media’s penetration into healthcare (or vice versa) and 
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Recently, there has been a great deal in the press surrounding organ transplantation.  Sarah Murnaghan, the courageous little girl with end stage cystic fibrosis, captured the nation’s attention as she waited for a life saving lung transplant.  The organ transplantation and procurement system in the US today is not without flaws.  Organs are at a premium and finding the best way to allocate them to matched patients who ...

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It happens about once a week. As I scroll through Facebook and peruse the latest happenings, I notice that someone (usually a mom of small children, like me) has posed a question to their Facebook friends about some type of health dilemma. “Little Sally is cutting teeth, and she’s miserable. What can I give her to make her feel better?” “Johnny has such a bad cough, and he can barely breathe. Anyone ...

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Recently, Dr. Mike Sevilla decided to hang up his podcasting mic, his blogging tools, his Twitter creds, and his Facebook presence, all in one fell swoop. Find out more about Mike the man, and why he decided to take this drastic action, at his website. Now, I have known Mike for some time on Twitter primarily, where we will sometimes comment back and forth about issues of the day ...

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Don’t ask me nothin’ about nothin’, I just might tell you the truth.  – Bob Dylan I just read an interesting post by Dr. Jennifer Gunter. Apparently, the entirety of what we are doing here at Dr. Whitecoat, and on internet communities and blogs like Student Doctor Network and Sermo, is unethical, according to the General Medical Council in Britain. How dare we not use our real names on social media as physicians and physicians-in-training? According to ...

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