I am consistently bemused by those who recommend more rigorous or more pervasive standardized testing as the primary means for insuring physician quality. The vast majority of physicians have already passed through a complex gauntlet of multiple choice exams, extended credentialing and certification processes, and lengthy tests of knowledge and skill. And yet, some physicians (to put it bluntly, sorry friends) are very bad at what they do. Intellectual intelligence is ...

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I come across many people using the terms social and digital interchangeably. Some doctors are digitally savvy. Yet that does not mean that they are practiced communications experts, or that they have the skills to make the most of today’s digital social tools. I thought this might be a good opportunity to open up this discussion. As physicians, we were among the first professionals to adopt smartphones and iPads into our workflow ...

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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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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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Most social media guidelines for physicians, most recently from the American College of Physicians and Federation of State Medical Boards, suggest that doctors separate their personal and professional identity. Until physicians are better educated on how best to act professionally on social networks, keeping their online personal lives private is more likely to keep them out of trouble. But is it time for that recommendation to be revised? In a recent JAMA perspective ...

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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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