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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Since 1992, I have advocated for all of us to have the information, support and guidance we need to act to improve our health and get the most from our health care. I believe – and there is considerable evidence to back me up – that we do better when we participate in our care to the extent we are able. As someone who has been diagnosed with several different types ...

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In late fall of 2011, I was tired of medicine. While seeing patients was still enjoyable, I felt underappreciated in my employment and frustrated by the endless BS that I dealt with -- new laws undermining the trust my patients place in me, increasing requirements from insurance companies for ordering tests or medications, more forms to sign, less time with patients, a cumbersome EHR to learn, more non-CME education requirements ...

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It all started with my sending a tweet. Actually, that's not quite true. The way it really started was with my frail elderly patient calling me in mid-January, to tell me he thought he had a UTI. But that part of the story is not new and novel; I've often had patients contact me with similar concerns. I did what I usually do: ordered a urinalysis (UA)  and urine culture (UCx). (I ...

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Why doctors should use their real name on Twitter The General Medical Council (UK) published new guidelines that state, “If you identify yourself as a doctor in publicly accessible social media, you should also identify yourself by name. Any material written by authors who represent themselves as doctors is likely to be taken on trust and may reasonably be taken to represent the views of the profession more widely.”  This has ...

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Twitter makes me a better doctor: 4 reasons why I use Twitter Even as social media use among physicians gains popularity, I continue to hear doubts echoing from my fellow medical students, residents, and attendings, particularly about the use of Twitter. Many of them ask how using Twitter has benefited me, and my answer almost always makes them stop and think. My life has been enriched by the network of intelligent and forward-thinking people I have connected with ...

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