A recent survey found that 60 percent of adults have gone online at least once in the past year to look up health information. Unfortunately, finding high-quality health websites is a challenge. Several years ago, a review of 79 studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that online health information for consumers is frequently flawed, inaccurate, or biased. Based on my experience, the situation isn't ...

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What does managing a loved one’s digital legacy really look like? With the recent Pew Report announcing that “caregivers are wired for support” and digital estate planning resources entering our mainstream consciousness, many of us have been inspired to think about the end of life and our online selves.  And we should.  Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users die each year, the average American believes that she has almost $55,000 worth of digital assets, though most of ...

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Medical conversations are happening on Twitter, not Facebook When Twitter initially launched I was largely skeptical on how it could be utilized in medicine.  Initially I thought Facebook was a better option due to the ability to use more than 140 characters. Over time though, it has become clear the medical conversations are happening on Twitter, not Facebook. An example of this is when we highlighted the #FOAMed movement — Free Open ...

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If your teens are on social media, you need to be there too Teens, smartphones, Facebook, Instagram, and a myriad of other social apps. What do they have in common? Well they simply go together these days. Just look around and if you spot a teen, he/she is likely virtually connected, phone firmly in hand. The social landscape has certainly changed since our own teen years and it’s up to us as parents to catch up. There ...

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If one searches for "online patient communities" over 19 million Internet sites are found.  Online patient communities (OPCs) may exist as subgroups of social media sites, non-profit organizations, and increasingly as part of websites of healthcare organizations and stand alone sites. Online communities are now becoming a rich source of information gleaned from their discussions.  This information will be increasingly used for both clinical and commercial purposes. I will touch on ...

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Hidden amongst all the intense media coverage surrounding Facebook’s IPO, there was a news item that was covered so briefly that if you blinked you may have missed it: Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, took a trip to Japan and during this visit told Japan’s Prime Minister that the terrible Tsunami that had struck the country in 2011 had inspired him to find ways that the social network could help people ...

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The General Medical Council in Britain released new guidelines on social media for medicine. Essentially, if you are a doctor in the United Kingdom the GMC does not believe that you should be able to tweet/blog/post anonymously if you self-identify as a physician. The exact wording is as follows: "If you identify yourself as a doctor in publicly accessible social media, you should also identify yourself by name. Any material ...

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How Edward Snowden and PRISM affect health care social media Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on the NSA’s PRISM program raises some interesting questions regarding social media in healthcare. I had a few physicians both inside and outside of the community I manage ask, “Is the government watching what I say about my clinical experiences?” The answer is of course “Not yet,” but the sentiment weighs heavier than the question, and the weeklong dip ...

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As some 30,000 doctors, patient advocates, healthcare companies and journalists descended on Chicago for ASCO, there was a great deal of anticipation about what new research would be presented, and what kind of conversation and controversy might arise as a result. That anticipation, it turns out, requires some patience, filtering, and a really big net.  In fact, the amount of clinical data available in oncology has increased exponentially over the last ...

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We've all been hearing about the cool app Snapchat, which allows people to send pictures and videos that only last a few seconds before disappearing. Because of the disappearing thing, the worry that I keep reading about is that teens will use it for sexting, figuring that it's no problem if they take sexy pictures or videos, because they won't last. Now I worry about sexting as much as anybody else ...

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