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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Social media has opened a whole new world for patients.  Now, information about disease is readily accessible and available to everyone.  Certainly, there are issues with reliability and accuracy of internet sources and this can create uneasiness and misunderstanding for both physician and patient. However, the internet can also provide many new therapeutic possibilities.  In particular, online support groups, twitter chats and blogging can provide a positive outlet for patients suffering ...

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A few weeks ago I was following an online discussion conducted by a widely followed health site. During the discussion, they had a physician who was giving out wellness advice to users via Twitter. That physician had one tweet in particular that terrified me. Why you shouldnt give medical advice on Twitter Why you shouldnt give medical advice on Twitter As the above screenshot shows, one tweet mentioned that when in doubt regarding ...

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The position paper from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards, is a humbling reminder of the challenges that today's physicians face when entering the online space. Their recommendations for online medical professionalism, written by ethics committees for the two organizations, "provides recommendations about the influence of social media on the patient–physician relationship, the role of these media in public perception of physician behaviors, and strategies for physician–physician ...

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How should doctors behave online? This is a funny question, isn’t it? Medical establishment loves rules and hierarchy. Social media does not. Social media levels the playing field of who gets to talk; it gives real caregivers a voice. That’s very cool. This is just a guess, but I suspect there are many more acts left to play out in the healthcare social media play. The American College of Physicians and the Federation ...

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In addition to the possible legal pitfalls of advertising on Groupon-type websites, there are also ethical and practice management concerns to be weighed by healthcare practitioners before agreeing to such arrangements. Even with the recent announcement that companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial may be offering contracts to healthcare providers that take into consideration the prohibition against fee splitting, practitioners should nonetheless proceed with caution. The concerns about social coupons in the healthcare context extend ...

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How a blog was a potent weapon against a union’s corporate campaign An excerpt from How a Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America. The long-term decline in private sector unions in America has been well documented. From almost 25 percent of the workforce in 1973, the rate of unionization has fallen to under 8 percent in 2005. Some unions, though, have been able to buck this trend, most notably the 2.1 ...

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I love social media so much that I give seminars on how academics should use it to advance their careers and fields of study.  Today I’m writing about what I hate about it to answer a question often posed to me by social media skeptics: what are the downsides to participating in social media?  At the risk of completely undermining my mission to encourage greater academic presence on social media, ...

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This month I hit a milestone on my Sina Weibo microblog; I finally reached 10,000 fans. It took more than two years, and I suppose I could have sped it up by paying for fake zombie fans. However, I preferred to earn this honor with good old fashioned hard work. Ten thousand fans is a tiny amount compared to many Chinese microblogs, including several at my own hospital like our ...

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