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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It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. No where is this more apparent than working to get physicians to understand the potential of social media for their practice.  The adoption of social media by doctors -- even something as relatively simple as Twitter, is tough. Face it:  Thinking that a re-tweeting of how much we want more doctors on Twitter by next year is just preaching to the social ...

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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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Well, I’ve done it again. It seems that everytime I try to make the early registration deadline for a conference, something seems to come up. One of the kids gets sick, a transmission breaks, I have a crazy week at work ... you know, life. Unlike the past few years however, I’m very excited to say that I will be making it to the American College of Chest Physician’s annual scientific ...

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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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