In recent years many health care providers and managers have told me, time and again, that the health care world is accustomed to managing confidential patient information, and therefore doesn’t need much in the way of social media training and policy development. This week brings news that should make those folks sit up and take notice. A physician in Rhode Island, who was fired for a Facebook faux pas, has now been fined by the state medical board as well. The physician posted a little too much information on Facebook — information about a patient that, combined with other publicly available information, allowed third parties to identify the patient. The details of the story are available here and here.
The key takeaway from this story — and the Johnny-come-lately approach to health care social media taken by the Rhode Island hospital in question and the Boston teaching hospital that the Boston Globe turned to for comment — is that prevention is the best medicine.
Facebook and other social media are a fact of life, and cannot be ignored by health care providers and organizations. They can even be used as a force for good. As one example, take note of the recently-announced initiative by my colleague, Dr. Val, to start up a peer-reviewed tweetstream, @HealthyRT. At he very least, health care providers and organizations should be monitoring social media for mentions so that they can reach out, as may be necessary, to address health care and public relations issues.Continue reading…
My guess is you’ve probably never asked yourself this question. A quick preview:
Technical barriers aren’t the limiting factors to Facebook becoming a care coordination platform.
Facebook’s company DNA won’t play well in health care.
Could Facebook become the care coordination platform of the future? If not Facebook, then what?
1) Technical barriers aren’t the limiting factors to Facebook as a care coordination platform.
Can you imagine Facebook as a care coordination platform? I don’t think it’s much of a stretch. Facebook already has 650 million people on its network with a myriad of tools that allow for one-to-one or group interactions.
What would it take to make Facebook a viable care coordination platform?
More servers to handle the volume — not a problem
Specialized applications suited for health care conditions — not a problem
Privacy settings that made people comfortable — more on this later
A mechanism to identify and connect the members of YOUR care team — really tough, BUT this is NOT a technological problem, but a health system one
Suppose you are a 55–year-old woman who is a brittle diabetic. Your care team might include a family physician, an endocrinologist, a registered dietitian, a diabetic nurse, a ophthalmologist, a podiatrist, a psychologist, and others. Ideally you’d have one care plan that coordinates the care among members of the team, including you.Continue reading…
These two lines at the end of the album track ‘Kite’ earned U2 a place in a recent list of suspect popular song lyrics. Some Health 2.0 vendors are also struggling to get ‘social media’ to rhyme with ‘healthcare’ but will no doubt carrying on trying to do so. With Goldman Sachs throwing $1.5 billion in Facebook’s direction it makes sense for anyone in the online health business to position themselves as close to the social media company as possible, on the off chance that they will be able to pan a few nuggets out of the fast flowing stream of cash.
While no doubt some of the funds the bank is putting together will be used for healthcare related applications it is not immediately obvious what Facebook can do that Google and Microsoft have not already tried. Both these companies are trying to sell to healthcare providers whose business models if they do exist are confused and, in some cases failing. One way to gain a better understanding of the healthcare market is to view it as a mathematical equations that can be solved by eliminating one variable at a time.
So What If The UK’s National Health Service Did Not Exist?
You log on to NHS.uk and are greeted with a message saying “Sorry, this service has been discontinued. The UK government can no longer afford to provide you with healthcare.” And that is it, apart one last piece on advice. “Please take care.” This presumably aimed at Darwin Award candidates who were hoping to break the land speed record using fireworks and a skateboard and fully expect the local hospital to fix any resulting damage. Also perhaps directed at anyone with a grumbling appendix thinking of entering a baked bean-eating contest. (More about these people later.)
So what difference would it make if there were no healthcare provider? For a start everyone in the UK, apart from the 1.3-million ex-NHS workers, would be £1600 a year better off. A young person leaving school would have saved enough to pay for their university education. A young couple in their mid twenties would have saved enough to put a down payment on their first house. OK average life expectancy would fall and the last couple of years (or most likely months) of a person’s life would probably be more unpleasant, but the proceeding sixty five or so years would be a lot better. There, two of the government’s major economic headaches eliminated in a stroke – an unfortunate turn of phrase in this case. With an extra £100 billion per annum sloshing around in the economy most of the 1.3 million former NHS employees would be able to find new jobs.Continue reading…
What if one doctor could “friend” or “link in” with another for the purpose of patient exchange? Today when we hear people talk about clinical integration, they’re talking about financial integration…literally owning every stage of the treatment of a patient just so that the data created from that care can be integrated. That kind of thinking has fostered a proliferation of miniature Kaiser Permanente-like health organizations across the country–each with their own multi-hundred-million-dollar proprietary system to hold their data all in one place.
I think owning a lab is an expensive way to integrate the data from that lab into a common view of a patient—let alone “owning” a cardiologist! Furthermore, as the nexus of health care moves ever further away from the hospital ward and towards the home, owning every point of health care delivery will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. So what’s the alternative? It’s the same one that gives us integrated credit ratings and the ability to walk up to any ATM in the world and still get money from our own account. It’s a market for clinical information exchange enabled by social networking-type technology.
When you think of it, Facebook and LinkedIn present integrated pictures of all the people you’ve touched in your life or work as soon as you log in. And over time you see how that integrated picture of your life or work life improves.
Google recently announced that it was abandoning Wave, a multimedia social media collaboration tool. I’m sorry about this, as I thought it had great potential. That being said, I never used it, so perhaps I was typical. Pete Cashmere writes on CNN Tech:
Wave was perhaps the prototypical Google product: Technically advanced, incredibly ambitious and near-impossible to use.
Its demise is the canary in the coal mine for Google’s social networking plans: Facebook is destined to build the Web’s next wave, as Google continues to tread water.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at what is going on at Facebook and elsewhere, courtesy of EduDemic. I offer #6 (regarding Facebook) and #10 (regarding Twitter) especially for those hospitals and other companies who choose to block these media on their servers, in the hope they will consider how fruitless that is.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month.
Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application.
More than 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.
Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook.
There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
Over at Twitter:
Twitter’s web platform only accounts for a quarter of its users – 75% use third-party apps.
Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.
There are currently 110 million users of Twitter’s services.
Twitter receives 180 million unique visits each month.
There are more than 600 million searches on Twitter every day.
Twitter started as a simple SMS-text service.
Over 60% of Twitter use is outside the U.S.
There are more than 50,000 third-party apps for Twitter.
Twitter has donated access to all of its tweets to the Library of Congress for research and preservation.
More than a third of users access Twitter via their mobile phone.
Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center in Boston. Paul recently became the focus of much media attention when he decided to publish infection rates at his hospital, despite the fact that under Massachusetts law he is not yet required to do so. For the past three years he has blogged about his experiences in an online journal, Running a Hospital, one of the few blogs we know of maintained by a senior hospital executive.
One issue up for discussion in this evening’s free-form health care social media tweetchat was the fakeFacebook page of eSara Baker, posted as a form of marketing for a company providing online health-related services (which sound like typical patient portal stuff like scheduling appointments and accessing test results). The page prominently states: “If you haven’t uncovered our secret yet, here it is: Sara isn’t a real person.”
The identity of the company and the services provided are not at issue here. The issue discussed in the #hcsm tweetchat was whether using social media to market a health care service through the use of a fabricated profile was unethical and/or harmful to authentic uses of social media for health care.Continue reading…
I have written before about the incredible power of crowd sourcing, using the reach and scope of social networking on the Internet to solve a complex problem. Here’s a play-by-play about a difficult question. It demonstrates how the asynchronous participation of many participants inevitably converges on the right answer in less than 24 hours. You just have to be patient and let the truth emerge.
I posted the following problem on Facebook:
Query — what makes some Facebook status updates stay put on the top of your page until cleared, while others appear as one-time updates? (Yesterday at 12:22pm.)
I think it’s an algorithm that has to do with how often you comment on other people’s posts. Facebook tries to be smart about which people you actually care about seeing. I often find it wrong and look at both top stores and most recent to get a full picture of what is going on.
The strange plot of the national debate over health reform this took another twist over the weekend, after (now suddenly ex- Alaska governor) Sarah Palin posted a statement on her Facebook page on Friday denouncing the Obama administration’s plan to reshape the healthcare system as “downright evil.”
In a statement referencing Ronald Reagan and the economist Thomas Sowell, Palin warned of bureaucratic “death panels” that would decide “if my parents (or yours) or my baby with Down Syndrome” are “worthy of healthcare based on their level of productivity in society.”
The full text of the post:
“As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized
health care plan that the current administration is rushing through
Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no,
but hell no.
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce
the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed
out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply
refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration
care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I
know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down
Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his
bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level
of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care.
Such a system is downright evil.