Regular registration for Medicine 2.0, an international conference on the use of web applications and social media in research and health care, ends in two weeks. This year’s event includes keynotes speeches by Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jennifer Aaker, PhD.
Larry Chu, MD, the organizing chair of Medicine 2.0 at Stanford, has been showcasing several abstracts being presented at the conference. From presentations on National Institutes of Health funding opportunities in mobile health technologies to computer-based applications to improve HIV patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatments, the program features an interdisciplinary mix of presenters from different countries and fields including health care, computer science, engineering and business.
In this short talk, Michael Halaas, chief technology officer at Stanford University School of Medicine, discusses some of his work in research networking and what interests him about Medicine 2.0. Halaas is an advisory board member for the conference.
Using aggregated and anonymized Google search data, these tools model and track seasonal disease outbreaks in near real-time and offer the potential to serve as early alert systems for health officials providing them with extra time to devise response strategies.
A 2009 paper published in Nature showed Google Flu Trends matched trend data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to within 95 percent but was less accurate at estimating actual rates of laboratory-confirmed flu. Still, the tool is cheap, fast and could help bridge the CDC’s typically tw0-week lag in reporting flu activity.
Launched this year, Google Dengue Trends was created with assistance from researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. The methodology behind the surveillance system is outlined in this recent article published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
During the Stanford Summit, Sahai will give a brief presentation on his work on Google’s disease surveillance tools and participate in a panel discussion moderated by Wired executive editor Thomas Goetz. To register for Medicine 2.0, please visit the conference website. Regular registration rates end Aug. 1.
More news about the Medicine 2.0 conference at Stanford is available in the Medicine 2.0 category.
I love television: My DVR is always working hard, I’ve got a lengthy list of “must-see” shows, and I always feel a little bummed when my favorites go on summer hiatus. But yet, I’m incredibly careful when it comes to my kids and TV. My husband and I don’t settle down with the remote until after our girls are asleep, my two-year-old’s exposure is limited to the occasional baseball or football game, and my four-year-old watches just one, 25-minute show (Bubble Guppies is her new favorite) before bed each night. I’m also adament that my girls will not have TVs in their bedroom until – well, perhaps we’ll allow it when they come home for the summer during college.
I was happy, though not surprised, to read that Seattle Mama Doc – i.e. pediatrician/blogger Wendy Sue Swanson, MD – and I are on the same page with this TV thing. In a blog entry she summarizes some of the latest research on TV’s not-so-great-effects on kids, and she emphatically states that she would never allow a TV in a child’s bedroom:
Plain and simple, I know it’s not good for them and ultimately will only detract from their life. When I talk to families in my practice, I say that TV in the bedroom is just never going to make their life better. It won’t enhance.
Swanson’s entry is worth a read, and an added bonus: She’s a speaker at the Medicine 2.0 conference being held here in September.
…Grama notes that while Facebook allowed NCI to engage the cancer community by disseminating cancer research information on an international scope, it also raised concerns about managing questions and comments from Facebook fans regarding their personal cancer situations. The NCI Facebook team developed a community management and comment response strategy that integrated with its toll-free cancer information service.
As a design engineer, project leader and business relationship leader for IDEO, Boyle has worked with such prestigious companies as Apple and Proctor & Gamble. Boyle’s personal innovations include TechBox, a collection of materials and products that functions as a resource for problem-solving and communication in and beyond IDEO, and GreenRoom, a similar resource designed to inspire designers in the area of sustainability. Boyle also teaches a diverse range of design-related classes at Stanford.
To register for Medicine 2.0, please visit the conference website.
More news about the Medicine 2.0 conference at Stanford is available in the Medicine 2.0 category.
Earlier this week, blogger and pediatric gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian, MD, posted an entry spotlighting what he considered unprofessional behavior by a physician on Twitter, and, in so doing, sparked a vigorous debate about what constitutes professional behavior by health-care providers when they’re using social media. The debate raised many interesting points about professional conduct on the social web, so I contacted Vartabedian to continue the conversation and get a little more of his perspective. His responses are below.
The conversation about whether a particular physician’s tweets were unprofessional involve someone who has opted to conceal her identity. Why do you advise doctors against remaining anonymous when engaging in social media?
Anonymity creates a false sense of security for physicians using social media. And with that false security comes the risk of behaving in ways that you wouldn’t normally behave. The fact that my name and picture sit to the right of every blog post makes me think about how my ideas are perceived. I try to keep in mind that everything I write will be seen by my department chair, wife, mother-in-law and patients. Dr. Wendy Swanson, blogger for Seattle Children’s Hospital put it best, “Simply put, remaining anonymous protects the person/physician tweeting, not the patients or profession.”
Physicians often use HIPAA as one of the guidelines to determine whether content comports with professional standards. While HIPPA is essential to consider when engaging in the social space, is there a need for physicians using these tools to aim above the legislation?
While HIPAA offers critical legal guidance in health care, it’s important to understand that physicians have an obligation to patients that extends well above the law. There are certainly instances, for example, on Twitter where we can appropriately de-identify information and still run the chance that a patient could recognize a scenario we discuss. And independent of protected health information, HIPAA has no bearing on how we conduct ourselves in public. Physicians have few established standards of good conduct and professionalism in social media.
A common defense among health-care bloggers, and others, facing criticism for comments published online is that their remarks were misunderstood and well intentioned. How can doctors take precautions to avoid such problems?
Understand that in the fast moving medium of short form, real-time dialog it’s easy to be misunderstood. So you have to be extremely careful with the way you handle sensitive subjects. Think of how your comments may be potentially perceived. When patients are watching, perception trumps reality. I operate under the belief that everything I write and say with be screen grabbed, reposted and placed on a billboard. If you’re concerned with that level of transparency you need to be more careful with what you say or not say anything at all. That’s okay too. Lots of doctors just watch.
Some physicians may view this exchange as yet another example of why they, and their colleagues, shouldn’t engage in social media. What’s your advice to them?
Clearly this sort of public dialog in the medical community runs the risk of keeping doctors silent. Understand, however, that this and other public events involving physicians in social media typically involve very isolated incidents. Professional misconduct on Twitter, for example, is statistically quite rare. Having been blogging since 2006 and on Twitter since 2008, I have seen lots of doctors adopt and thrive using social media. I can think of very few that have had any problems. Going forward we need to move from looking at social media from a risk perspective towards one that recognizes its opportunities.
Two pieces of information stood out most from Christopher’s talk. One was that Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital was one of the first to publish direct evidence of the reduction of all-hospital mortality after implementation of an EMR. The other was how insanely expensive it is to implement EMRs in an in-patient setting, and how he hopes and believes that these systems will become less expensive and more like commodities in the near future.
Daniel described how the most powerful analytics in health care will come from fully structuring a patient’s record. To this aim he spoke about and demonstrated an application called DocTalk that uses speech recognition to automatically translate a doctor’s dictation into structured clinical data. This allows physicians to avoid the painful process of categorizing and organizing every piece of information on patients by him- or herself.
Some choice quotes, featured on the Stanford School of Medicine’s live Twitter feed from the event:
“I see myself entirely as a physician. I don’t wear two hats, doctor and writer, like some people think.”
On life in India, Ethiopia, Tennessee, and Texas: “There [are] advantages to the writer to be an exile, to feel like you don’t belong.”
“I think an important ritual takes place when interacting with a patient – it can mark a departure, a transformation. One individual comes to another, says things they wouldn’t tell anyone, disrobes, and allows touch.”
“It is a great privilege to witness the compressed lives of the dying. They can’t postpone the search for the meaning to life. The dying ask ‘where does meaning reside?’ Most find relationships – love of parents, children, friends – most important.”
Verghese, who will be the Stanford Summit@Medicine2.0 opening keynote speaker in Sept., leaves on a book tour tomorrow. You can download a free recording of his How I Write talk through Stanford’s iTunesU offerings in a few weeks.
Quora announced a new feature today that allows physicians (and attorneys too) to place a disclaimer at the bottom of their answers on the social Q&A service. Marc Bodnick writes:
Attorneys and doctors have accumulated significant knowledge that is useful and fascinating. We want these professionals to feel comfortable sharing some of that knowledge in response to general questions about law and medicine.
So they crafted this disclaimer for physicians to include with their answers:
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Quora users who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Quora’s Terms of Service.
The service has also rolled out a new policy for medical questions and answers, as well as a new section of its terms of service geared toward physicians. For more information about the rollout, take a look at MG Siegler’s overview on TechCrunch.
Charlie Cheever, co-founder of Quora, will be speaking at the Stanford Summit @ Medicine 2.0 on September 16. I’m looking forward to the discussion, particularly given this new feature.