The Internet was recently atwitter (see what I did there) about the major health care story of Ebola in the United States. However, there was also a interesting rumor announced at the end of last week, to which people should really be paying attention. As reported by Reuters, Facebook is taking aim at health care, your health care: "The company is exploring creating online 'support communities' that would connect Facebook users ...

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As a physician who openly despises many aspects of current EMRs (see “How An EMR Gave My Patient Syphilis” or “The Medical Chart: Ground Zero For The Deterioration Of Patient Care” ) I recognize that they are here to stay. And so, since we’re all stuck with these digital middlemen, I have some suggestions (based on popular social media platform functionality) for making them better. 1. Likes. Health care ...

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I’m simultaneously a behavioral researcher, an ethicist, and a hopeless Facebook addict, so I’ve been thinking a lot about a recent controversial study in which researchers manipulated the emotional content of 689,003 Facebook users’ news feeds. In summary, users who saw fewer of their friends’ posts expressing negative emotions went on to express more positive and fewer negative emotions in their own posts, while users who saw fewer posts expressing ...

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The impact of social media on cancer careI recently had the privilege of participating in a meeting hosted by the President's Cancer Panel on the role of social media in improving cancer control and treatment. The goal was to give advice to the Panel on a planned series of meetings they will be convening to discuss the topic. It was the range and quality of ...

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Is the phone in your pocket increasing your risk of being sued for medical malpractice? As more and more of our daily lives is being recorded and shared -- with or without our permission -- health care is no longer a fully safe harbor of privacy and consent. For reasons both clinical and social, in practices both ethical and ill-advised, individuals are sharing the intimacies of health care far beyond the ...

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A PubMed query of the phrase "social media" yields 8,747 unique peer-reviewed articles.  When the search is refined to "social media medical education" there are 578 articles.  When “professionalism” is also added to the search string, there are only 31 article results.  This suggests that very few authors are writing about the topic: Approximately 0.4% of the available peer-reviewed literature about social media pertains to how we doctors should use and ...

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Thousands of health care providers now utilize Twitter and other social media as a means of communicating and staying in touch. We follow conference hashtags from afar to keep up-to-date, and to e-meet new and interesting people who share a common goal. In this way, we are able to grow our networks, foster our relevance, improve our knowledge base, and reach out to assist others. Whether we are physicians, nurses, or physical ...

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I like a lot of things about Facebook. It allows me to see pictures and video of my nephews and niece and of friends’ children, it quickly lets me know when something big (either happy or sad) is going on in people’s lives, it lets me know what people are thinking about, and it gives me the opportunity to share my own news, thoughts, pictures, or occasional videos with others. But as much as ...

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As a pediatrician, I encourage families to search online for health advice. Yet how you search and where you click matters. Tips for you and your time with “Dr. Google” or “Surgeon Bing.” The Pew Internet Project’s research finds that over 70% of Internet users in the United States say they have looked online for health information in the last year. Furthermore, most health information seekers (ie freaked out parents searching ...

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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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