The government dropped a gigantic dataset: details on nearly every single procedure performed by a U.S. doctor on a Medicare patient. The release was greeted with some serious gnashing of teeth, at least as far as doctors were concerned. The American Medical Association, which has always been staunchly opposed to the release of this sort of data, made sure it's objection was -- again -- on the record. MedPage Today leads ...

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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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We tweet about births, weddings, first days of school, anniversaries, illness, and mundane things like what we had for dinner last night. One area that seems to send shock waves and launches a thousand Mashable articles is tweeting about someone dying. Last summer, NPR's Scott Simon tweeted live from his mother's bedside. And the world watched and mourned right along side him. Right now, Laurie Kilmartin, a comic from the show, ...

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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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Are physicians ready for the e patient movement?I gave a talk recently to a group of my peers about addressing the needs of patients after a diagnosis of cancer, emphasizing points where transitions occur -- from treatment, to end of therapy, surveillance, recurrence, and extending all the way up to the end of life -- and how important it is to consider the entire journey of a person ...

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Over the last decade, researchers, doctors and the life-sciences industry have made great strides in treating HIV. Medications once routinely delivered through complicated multidose cocktails are now, for some patients, available in a one-pill-a-day form. While adhering to even a once-daily regimen is still a challenge, significant progress on the treatment of HIV is undeniable. On the prevention front, however, there’s still work to be done. Despite a significant public-education campaign ...

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On December 4th, 2013, Katie Couric gave the HPV vaccine center stage during a segment on her talk show, Katie. The segment, entitled “The HPV Controversy,” was 20 minutes long, but ignited a digital firestorm between pro- and anti-vaccine voices that raged for days after the stage lights went dark. In partnership with Global Prairie, the entire online conversation surrounding this Katie segment was digitally captured using DataFarm. ...

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Twitter -- its functions, benefits, risks and limitations -- has figured prominently in the heated discussion about Emma and Bill Keller's respective editorials in The Guardian (since deleted, though the archived version is still available) and the New York Times about the Twitter feed of Lisa Bonchek Adams. I have followed Lisa for a long time and greatly admire her thoughtful, highly personal tweets about the ups and downs ...

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Twitter and cancer patients: What to make of the outrage?On one afternoon last week, I sat at my desk working on a paper when my iPhone buzzed, telling me I had a new message. This message, forwarded from my Twitter account, alerted me to an editorial published in the Guardian (which has since been removed because it was “inconsistent with the Guardian editorial code). Entitled, “Forget funeral selfies. What are the ethics of tweeting ...

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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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