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It is official: NOTHING is KNOWN about HIV/AIDS

It is official: NOTHING is KNOWN about HIV/AIDS | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

The mainstream literature reveals quite clearly that essentially nothing is known or understood about “HIV” or about “AIDS”; but to appreciate these revelations one must be prepared sometimes to read more or less between the lines.

A fine opportunity for that was provided by the recent 20th International AIDS Conference. The lack of knowledge is not admitted overtly but it clearly underlies what the HIV/AIDS protagonists regard as grist for further research funding.


When will there be a cure?


“‘We have plenty of data telling us we can make progress,’ said Françoise Barré-Sinoussi . . . . But she’s not foolish enough to give a timetable. She recalled predictions in the mid-1980s that a vaccine would be relatively simple to design. As of now, of course, there is still no vaccine even close to clinical availability.”


30 years of promises, announced breakthroughs later retracted, and other “progress” haven’t gotten anywhere.



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John Mark Bwanika's insight:

Not entirely true......

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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, July 27, 4:24 PM

AIDS is a manufactured disease. The (retro)virus that supposedly causes it can't hardly be found and it isn't active either. No mechanism of disease causation, and of course no cure. Just treatment ... with toxic medicine.

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Have the Danes cracked childhood obesity?

Have the Danes cracked childhood obesity? | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic, but it is not easy to treat. Now a scheme proven to help children shed pounds by asking them and their families to make numerous lifestyle changes has been adopted across Denmark.

 

A Danish paediatrician claims his pilot project has made a significant breakthrough in the battle against childhood obesity. 

 

The scheme, in the town of Holbaek, has treated 1,900 patients and helped 70% of them to maintain normal weight by adjusting about 20 elements of their lifestyles.


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Julianna Bonola's curator insight, November 10, 1:07 AM

If obese children make obese adults, then we need to teach our kids really good eating habits when they are young.  Have a read of this and let me know what you think.

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Amos Wekesa: The ex-smuggler turned safari king - CNN

Amos Wekesa: The ex-smuggler turned safari king - CNN | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
How did Amos Wekesa go from smuggler to self-made safari millionaire?

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Exercise in air quality research finds gyms are not a breath of fresh air

Exercise in air quality research finds gyms are not a breath of fresh air | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
A new study by researchers in Portugal and the Netherlands has found high levels of air pollutants in gyms.

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Foobot's curator insight, November 11, 9:40 AM

Indoor air is highly polluted. And it is a silent threat!

 

The main question is: Is there a device that could provide us a good air watch? Yes there is:

 

FOOBOT (http://foobot.io/)

 

 

Also: Go outside and practice near trees and in non traffic hours.

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What if your wearable could stop bad habits in their tracks?

What if your wearable could stop bad habits in their tracks? | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

Bonnie Spring is a professor of behavioral psychology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.


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Santé Digitale 's curator insight, November 8, 2:57 AM

"If you’re a trying-to-quit smoker or a dieter and think a gentle nudge of encouragement before you act on your next craving would help, there might soon be an app for that."

Richard Platt's curator insight, November 8, 2:59 AM

The idea is to use wearable sensors — think fitness bands — to track signals from the body before a relapse occurs, (for quitting smoking, dieting), then send “preventative interventions,” like a supportive text message or a call from a coach. 

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Dr. Eric Topol: Digital healthcare will put the patient in charge

Dr. Eric Topol: Digital healthcare will put the patient in charge | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

Dr. Eric Topol is a digital health pioneer and a visionary. In his presentations and in his book The Creative Destruction of Medicine, he challenges the medical establishment to adopt technologies that will improve efficiency, lower costs and make treatments more accessible and effective. In his upcoming book, The Patient Will See You Now, he describes what he calls medicine's "Gutenberg moment": The printing press liberated knowledge from the control of an elite class; now, digital health technology is poised to do the same for medicine, "democratizing" it in ways that were unimaginable until now.

On November 17, Dr. Topol will give a keynote address at the New York eHealth Collaborative's Digital Health Conference 2014 in New York City.

Recently, I interviewed Dr. Topol about his evolving vision for digital health, his forthcoming book and the topics he will touch upon in his keynote address. 

Eric Topol, MDEric J. Topol, MDDr. Eric Topol (@EricTopol) is a world-renowned cardiologist, geneticist, digital health pioneer, and medical innovator. He is Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Professor of Genomics at theScripps Research Institute, Chief Academic Officer of Scripps Health, and Editor-in-Chief of the online medical resource Medscape.

Voted the Most Influential Physician Executive in the United States in a 2012 poll conducted by Modern Healthcare and named one of GQ's"Rock Stars of Science" in 2009, his research earned him the title "Doctor of the Decade" from the Institute for Scientific Information. Dr. Topol is among the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine – an author or co-author of more than 1,100 peer-reviewed articles. His books include the classic Textbook of Interventional Cardiology, 6th Edition, published by Elsevier. Read more about him on the Elsevier Authors website.

What emerging trends do you see in the digital health arena?  

The big trend is the move towards truly democratizing medicine. Since 2600 BC, doctors ruled the roost. Now patients increasingly will be generating their own data — by doing the physical exam through smart phone sensors, for example — and driving their own care. They'll be able to video chat with a doctor at any moment, 24/7, for the same cost as a co-pay to see a doctor in person.

Today, if you have a skin lesion, you can take a picture of it, and a computer algorithm will tell you whether or not you need a biopsy. But imagine this broadly across all aspects of medicine. Think of capturing blood pressure readings with every beat of a watch, and learning immediately whether you have hypertension — or if you have it, whether it's being managed properly, and what causes and what helps it. People being treated for depression or other mood disorders will be able to see whether the lifestyle changes they made are improving their status; people with asthma will be alerted so they can prevent attacks before they happen.

Doctors will still provide treatment, but they won't be doing very much diagnosing or monitoring; that will be done by patients going forward. Algorithms will facilitate those processes or take them over completely, depending on the problem. For example, you might have a condition that normally would require hospitalization. But instead, you'll be able to stay at home because your vital signs can be continuously monitored remotely. If a particular reading causes concern, a notification will immediately be sent to your doctor, who can then intervene. So it's not so much that the doctor's role is less important — it's just different.

Will people still be making regular visits to the doctor's office?

We're going to see a striking decline in physical visits and a major shift to virtual visits. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, one out of six visits to the doctor in the US are projected to be virtual by the end of 2014. That number is likely to be much higher very soon, because we're seeing a proliferation of new companies doing tele-consults. Some are quite large, (for example, American Well and Telehealth) but even small ones are gaining a tremendous amount of traction because they enable you to have a consult immediately by videoconferencing on your phone.

What if people aren't aware something is wrong with them? Sometimes a test the doctor orders for one condition might identify a totally different problem.

That's an unusual situation. There's a lot to say for the wisdom of the body. Most people have the requisite alarm system that tells them if something isn't quite right. If anything, the real problem is that people think there's something wrong when there isn't. While it's true some people aren't seeking care when they ought to be, most people have a pretty low threshold before they seek care. Those who aren't are probably discouraged because getting access is such a painful process. In Boston, for example, you have to wait over six weeks to get a primary care appointment now. Then you might wait an hour after your appointment time, and when you finally see the doctor for seven minutes, he or she is typing on a keyboard and so you don't really see the doctor at all.

This has to change and it will change. The system is horribly broken, and we have new tools and new ways to render care via telemedicine that are remarkably palatable. When patients discover that they can easily connect and get the information they need, that they can generate their data at home and learn about their bodies like never before, that they can have access to the actual content of their lives — this creates a radical shift.

 Won't patients also need to take more responsibility for their health, rather than simply relying on the doctor?

Yes. We're rapidly approaching the end of the paternalistic concept that MD stands for "medical deity." Part of this is fueled by the fact that in the smart phone era, you can have just about anything you want on demand, simply by touching your phone. That is changing expectations for everything we do, and it's challenging the medical community.  In San Diego and several other cities, there are the Pager and Medicastapps that let you pick a doctor and how soon you want him/her to come to your house.

At Scripps, we asked, "Why do a sleep study in the hospital when you can have a person do their own sleep study in the comfort of their own bed for free?" So it's not like an on-off switch; it's a wave of different things that are in the process of changing right now.

Doesn't the health insurance industry need to change as well?

Definitely. That industry has been a real laggard. The change may be fueled by the fact that large employers who pay up to several billion dollars a year to cover healthcare for hundreds of thousands of employees  will demand that employees start using these new, more efficient tools. At that point, much of the responsibility and cost shift to the individual, and that could catalyze a seismic shift in the industry.

How will clinical research will be affected?

Much of the research that's now being done in ambulatory settings can be done so much more efficiently if the medical community would start to accept things like patient-generated data—that is, patients using sensors or doing their own labs through their smart phones, doing remote exams and transmitting them in real time. So many parts of clinical research can be conducted with the consumer in charge, and with social networking, like the model of Patients Like Me.

We've seen this done effectively in the testing of various drugs and at no cost, compared to large, expensive, prospective randomized trials. The use of lithium for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is one example. We've also had studies of drugs for depression that were done by having  patients self-report  in online health communities.

I'm not saying science and traditional research are obsolete or unnecessary; I'm saying we now have new complementary ways to gather important data. The amount of data generated per individual will expand markedly. Before, we couldn't capture continuous, real-time, granular data for each individual, but we can do it now. So clinical studies can have power with fewer people, because we have more data for each person.

You started out as a cardiologist and are now a guru of digital health. How did that happen?

As a child I was obsessed with mathematics. There really weren't any computers at that point. But I was an early adopter; as a fellow in cardiology at Johns Hopkins in 1982, I was the first person in my group to get one of the original IBM personal computers. So I've been a math and information geek and junkie for just about my entire life.

"I've been a math and information geek and junkie for just about my entire life."

I've also always tried to get involved with things that are really exciting, which is why I was drawn into biotech and was actually the first physician to give a patient tPA (tissue plasminogen activator, a treatment for embolic or thrombotic stroke) in 1984. But by the late '90s, with the Internet and the ability to capture digital medical data, I saw a whole new world of medicine coming. Then when I moved to San Diego, the wireless capital of the world, in 2006, I became convinced that this was going to be exponentially bigger than I even surmised in '99. So being in the right place at the right time really helped to catalyze cultivate my interest and passion.

 


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‘A mass sterilization exercise’? - Kenyan doctors find anti-fertility agent in UN tetanus vaccine

‘A mass sterilization exercise’? - Kenyan doctors find anti-fertility agent in UN tetanus vaccine | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

'This WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine.'

 

Kenya’s Catholic bishops are charging two United Nations organizations with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus inoculation program sponsored by the Kenyan government.

 

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

 

Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.


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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, November 9, 3:23 PM

The United Nations has a population control policy. Are vaccines used in an underhand way to forward a secret program of pharmaceutical sterilisation?

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The Perfect Wearable Device – How Far Are We?

The Perfect Wearable Device – How Far Are We? | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
The Perfect Wearable Device – How Far Are We?

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Letter to Desire Luzinda’s future husband

Letter to Desire Luzinda’s future husband | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Desire is a human being, not an object of desire. When you are with her, don’t imagine she is a sex tool to gratify yourself - men in her past have. You have to be different from them all, to stand out for her. Be a husband, not a “boyfie”.

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Clinicians weigh the pros and cons of social media

Clinicians weigh the pros and cons of social media | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

There is considerable debate in medical circles as to whether healthcare practitioners should embrace social media, but online aficionados say they welcome the opportunity to exchange information, educate, connect, and potentially attract more patients.

By P.K. Daniel

Type “orthopedic surgeons” in the Twitter search window and “Dr. David Geier” is featured at the top of the results page. He’s approaching 5000 followers and has tweeted more than 10,000 times. The Charleston, SC-based orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist has this branding and social media thing down.

Geier has company. Nearly three-quarters of the 275 million Americans online use a social networking site of some kind. And he has an audience. Of those online, 72% use the Web to find health and wellness information.1 The figure is even higher–82%–for adults aged 50 years and older seeking medical answers.2

However, as a healthcare practitioner Geier represents a small demographic. Less than a quarter of physicians use social media on a daily basis for professional purposes.3 Even fewer are tweeting. Just one in 20 physicians uses Twitter in a professional capacity, according to a June survey by MedData Group.4

A 2012 survey conducted by the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that 117 (or 24.1%) of the 485 physicians who responded used social media to scan or explore medical information on a daily or more than daily basis, whereas 69 (14.2%) contributed new information on a daily basis. On a weekly basis or more, 296 (61%) scanned social media sites and 223 (46%) contributed to them.5

According to the Journal of Medical Regulation, there were 850,085 active physicians in 2010 in the US.6 And yet, just over a thousand are registered with TwitterDoctors.net, a database of physicians who tweet. While only 5% of all US physicians use Twitter for professional purposes, nearly one-third, or 32%, use LinkedIn, 21% use Facebook, and 10% use Google+. Twitter ranked even below YouTube, which is used by 8% of US doctors.7

To tweet or not to tweet?

There is considerable debate in medical circles as to whether physicians and other healthcare practitioners should embrace social media as a platform to explore and exchange medical information. Patient privacy (and complying with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations) was the reason most cited by those physicians who are not using social media in the MedData Group survey.

Other reasons included concerns about time, liability, unfamiliarity with social media, and viewing it as having little value professionally.

“Unfortunately, not many of my colleagues are very active on Twitter,” said Sylvia L. Czuppon, PT, DPT, OCS, who is an assistant professor of physical therapy at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. “Part of this is fear of the unknown, fear of being misrepresented, and not understanding the power of social media for patient and community education.”

For confidentiality reasons, Czuppon tries to avoid direct contact with current or former patients, although admittedly she has a few Twitter followers of this type.

But with nearly 200 million Americans looking online for information about their doctors, their diagnoses, and their treatment options, online aficionados say it’s an opportunity for healthcare providers to exchange information, educate, connect, and, potentially, attract more patients.

“[Patients] are paying attention to our digital presence–or online reputation,” said orthopedic surgeon Howard J. Luks, MD. “Having a digital presence is far more important for a physician than having a social presence. Having a website that is full of timely, interesting, and actionable information is what our patients are seeking and what they deserve.”

Luks, who is associate professor of orthopedic surgery at New York Medical College and chief of sports medicine and arthroscopy at Westchester Medical Center in Westchester, NY, has been active in digital and social media for about seven years. His website, which includes his blog, gets nearly 140,000 unique visitors each month. He has more than 16,000 followers on Twitter and has tweeted almost 37,000 times. He also has a Facebook Fan Page and is on LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and Vimeo.

Educating consumers

A common theme among some proponents of utilizing social and digital media in healthcare is consumer education. A fringe benefit is added exposure for the practitioner.

Luks, who serves as an advisory board member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media in Rochester, MN, said serving the educational needs of the public through his digital and social media presence has had a significantly positive effect on his practice and his reputation. Notably, he was named one of the Top 10 Social Healthmakers for Osteoarthritis by Sharecare, an online health and wellness engagement platform.

“Our increasingly [digitally] interconnected society has chosen social media as the means of sharing relevant information about food, friends, news, illnesses, doctors, and hospitals,” Luks said. “Therefore, the role of social media and a digital presence is changing constantly.”

Julie Eibensteiner, DPT, owner of Laurus Athletic Rehab & Performance in Minneapolis, MN, has an affinity for Facebook because of its relative ease of posting educational information for patients in a user-friendly manner. However, she also has found a home on Twitter. She has tweeted 17,000 times since joining in 2010 and has more than 2500 followers.

“The education piece is huge on the rehab side of things, and the more often you can get [information] in front of patients that connects with them, it’s a good thing,” Eibensteiner said. “Your patients can get to know your personality a little bit better while still maintaining professionalism. That helps build good relationships and rapport with your patients, which is another big piece of a successful rehab.”

Czuppon also sees social media’s role in orthopedics as a tool with which to educate, communicate, and collaborate.

“I think there is a great opportunity to educate the public regarding topics such as the importance of exercise, injury prevention, and rehabilitation,” she said.

More than half—57.5%—of the Journal of Medical Internet Research study respondents perceived social media as beneficial, engaging, and a good way to get current, high-quality information.5 Also, 57.9% said social media enabled them to care for patients more effectively, and 60% said it improved the quality of patient care they delivered.

“I think social media and any form of communication is important,” said Geier. “In sports medicine, we are devoting more efforts to preventing sports injuries and not just treating them once they occur. If we can communicate these tips for athletes, parents, and coaches to prevent injuries in sports and exercise, we should. Social media helps us reach many more people than we can in our clinics.”

Geier also sees the importance of interacting with the public online, whether it is with colleagues in the same field or with potential patients. However, he is cautious about interacting with current patients, and instead refers them to traditional methods of communication through his practice.

“I do think providing the public with health information discussed in easy-to-understand language from a qualified medical professional is extremely valuable, as a huge percentage of adults go online looking for health information,” Geier said.

Although Geier doesn’t use social media for patient interaction, he says he has patients who have chosen him after reading his articles online or listening to his podcasts.

“They often tell me that they liked the way I explained injuries and surgeries, and chose to see me for that reason,” he said. “In that sense, it does help potential patients develop a relationship that can one day become an effective doctor-patient relationship.”

Geier attributes, indirectly, an increase in patient volume to his social media efforts.

“I don’t use my website or other social media accounts to promote my practice or to convince people to choose me as their orthopedic surgeon,” he said. “[However], the articles I write and post on my website help people learn how I discuss injuries, so they often become comfortable with me and choose to see me when they need a surgeon down the road.

“Plus, my efforts writing articles on my website and recording my podcast have led to other opportunities, such as my regular newspaper column for the newspaper here in Charleston and regular TV and radio interviews. I expect those opportunities have increased requests for appointments as well.”

Angela Smalley, MS, BOCPD, COF, who is in private practice in the Buffalo, NY, area, is the author of the “Walk well stay well” blog. She, however, is not too concerned about recruiting new patients from her social media endeavors.

“My current patients tell me that they appreciate the fact that my posts are not just commercials for my own business but are more general information that they can find useful,” Smalley said. “Prospective patients can reference my writing and tweeting as evidence that I am maintaining and constantly updating my knowledge. They can therefore feel confident that their treatment will reflect the newest and best techniques available.”

Networking opportunities

Besides the ability to impart such information to the public and potential patients, digital and social media is a networking and educational breeding ground for medical professionals.

“I have gotten a chance to interact, discuss, learn, and have my brain stretched from people I would never have otherwise met,” Eibensteiner said. “It’s been extremely positive.”

Czuppon sees the potential impact of social media on healthcare and views this new tool as a “great opportunity to connect with researchers, practitioners, and academics across the globe to spread ideas, encourage collaboration,” she said. “I think this facilitates how quickly we can progress in the field.”

While Czuppon originally joined Twitter to just see what all the hype was about, she quickly found that she could connect with people interested in similar areas of interest—anterior cruciate ligament injuries and other sports injuries, and particularly injury and reinjury prevention.

“And not just in the US, but across the world,” she said. “I think we often get trapped in our own ideas and practice bubbles, and Twitter was a fantastic way to break loose from this and consider other approaches to treatment.”

Eibensteiner also uses Twitter for information gathering and interaction with others.

“I learned very quickly if I followed credible accounts I would have instant access to current research and interactions with those in my field and complementary fields without having to go through lit searches,” she said. “Instead of having to cast a wide net to see what’s being said about your area of research, it is a lot easier when a lot of the most recent research shows up on your computer screen or phone simply by getting on Twitter and checking the newsfeed during the day. It is such a time saver and invaluable for a clinician seeing patients daily as well.”

Smalley values the interaction with other practitioners and the discovery of new research trends that social media has provided. She also said social media has the added benefit of being able to position a business, or the practitioner in private practice, as a subject-matter expert.

“This is achieved through sharing information with other professionals, creating accessible resources for patients, [and] carefully considering the impression that is created by each social media interaction,” she said. “This allows referral sources to understand your area of expertise.”

Luks’ echoed that sentiment. “[Social media] can bring you the attention you are seeking on a particular injury or topic,” said Luks.

Tricks and tips

To best position oneself in the spheres of Twitter, blogging, and the like, and reap the benefits, the key is knowing the tricks of the trade. The tip that gets the first nod is time. For the 51% who cited time limitations as a challenge, seasoned user Geier says to make time. He spends 10 to 20 hours per week writing articles, a newspaper column, and his blog (“Sports Medicine Simplified”), producing podcast episodes, tweeting, and posting to Facebook.

“In terms of time management, I would point out that we are all busy with patients in clinic and surgery and hectic personal lives,” said Geier, who also is the chair of the public relations committee for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. “We can all find time to write blog posts, interact in TweetChats or participate in Facebook discussions, but we have to make the time.”

Geier’s six tips for the online practitioner:

NetworkDiscuss interesting or difficult casesBe aware of what’s trendingPromote local health eventsParticipate in TweetChats, andShare health information with a larger audience.

Luks advised avoiding such topics as politics and protected health information. Luks said he tries to make sure his blog includes information relevant to both consumers and his colleagues. He recently chimed in on a hot-topic discussion about icing with a blog titled “To Ice or Not To Ice.” Earlier, he addressed a concern of many athletes: “Can I Return to Sports After My ACL Reconstruction?”

“Newsjacking,” which is injecting one’s ideas into a breaking news story to generate media coverage and social media engagement, can be a very useful tool when entering the social sphere or blogging.

In a good use of newsjacking, the Radiological Society of North America capitalized on the blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl with its Facebook posting that read: “Well, at least radiologists can work in the dark. #superbowl13.” It got people talking, as well as 700 likes and more than 400 shares.

“With Twitter, it’s simple to ‘schedule’ tweets, and because of the one-hundred and forty character limit, it’s pretty easy to quickly convey a message,” Czuppon said. “However, this simplicity also can lead to easy misinterpretation of statements.”

Because she works for an academic institution, Czuppon says she has to be careful that the statements she makes are not construed to be the beliefs of the university or her clinic, but are her own. And, like many individuals, she has both a personal and professional Twitter account.

Geier manages his accounts himself. However, he hired consultants to set up his website, and again to redesign it.

“I oversee all aspects of what I do on my website, podcast, and social media accounts,” he said. “I do have a virtual assistant that helps to post my blog posts on my site and schedule the tweets that I write, but I create all of the content. In my opinion, there is value in working with a marketing consultant to help physicians get started and set up the website and accounts, but they need to learn how to do it themselves and not completely delegate it to a consultant.”

Because Smalley uses each social media interaction as a learning experience, she doesn’t use a social media consultant.

“I am the one that needs to know what it going on,” Smalley said. “I have worked for a few organizations that chose to assign this task to a ‘marketing’ staff member. I felt that the content was often inferior because the staff member was not the expert in the subject matter. Online content is often much more permanent and pervasive than people realize. I feel that it is super important to represent myself, rather than passing along that responsibility.”

Smalley said she spends about an hour each day maintaining a presence on Twitter and answering comments on her blog.

“I link my blog posts and some tweets to my Facebook account to keep postings fresh there as well,” she said.

Robert J. Butler, PT, PhD, is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. While hesitant about the practice, he said the responsibility of managing social media in his department is a shared one.

“It is a slippery slope placing marketers in charge of topics associated with promoting evidence-based practice [EBP], since EBP is not as attractive as the recent story on the five best things you can do to cure pathology X,” said Butler. “We try to have a collaborative approach where we promote the areas that differentiate us in the marketplace along with the topics that provide a lot of activity on social media.”

Healthcare social media consulting company Symplur is working to make Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community through the creation of the Healthcare Hashtag Project. It is the first directory of healthcare-related Twitter hashtags and chats. It’s a streamlined resource for academics, healthcare practitioners, patients, and others. For example, entering “orthopedics” in the search window provides several Tweet hashtag suggestions, including
#socialortho, which happens to be an alert about a Tweet Chat called Social Media Saturday co-moderated by Geier.

For the medical professional who is apprehensive about “socializing” publicly, there are several physician-only online communities, such as orthomind.com and doximity.com. They tend to be viewed as safer while also providing a higher-quality source of medical information than the more public applications such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

There are thousands of members on orthomind.com, which was created by orthopedic surgeons and restricted to orthopedic surgeons. The platforms allow orthopedic surgeons to collaborate privately and share information, such as emerging trends.

Forty percent of US physicians use doximity.com, the largest medical network. The platform enables physicians to “connect with other healthcare professionals, securely collaborate on patient treatment, grow their practices and discover new career opportunities.”

There are also numerous specialty-specific online forums, as well as state medical society forums with restricted access requiring membership.

The amount of information available on social media exceeds the cognitive capacity of any one practitioner, but the benefits of social media can also feel very personal.

“By having a network of like-minded individuals or people who share a common goal, we may serendipitously encounter an article or discussion about an injury pattern that we find interesting,” Luks said. “Any time a patient gets a chance to learn that we are people, too—that we share common issues, goals, and events to celebrate—it closes the gap that exists in the patient-physician relationship. It can foster trust.”

Follow P.K. Daniel on Twitter at @pkdaniel.

 

REFERENCES- Hide

1. Pew Research Centers Internet & American Life Project (Health Fact Sheet). Pew Research Center Web site.   http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/health-fact-sheet/. 2014. Accessed 20 Sept. 2014.

2. Resources – 50+ Facts & Fiction. Immersion Active Web site. http://www.immersionactive.com/resources/50-plus-facts-and-fiction/index.cfm. 2014. Accessed 24 Sept. 2014.

3. McGowan BS, Wasko M, Vartabedian BS, et al. Understanding the factors that influence the adoption and meaningful use of social media by physicians to share medical information. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(5):e117.

4. Physician Adoption of Social Media. MedData Group Web site. http://www.meddatagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/MedDataGroup-Physician-Adoption-of-Social-Media-Q22014.pdf. 2014. Accessed 18 Sept. 2014.

5. McGowan BS, Wasko M, Vartabedian BS, et al. Understanding the factors that influence the adoption and meaningful use of social media by physicians to share medical information. J Med Internet Res 2012;14(5):e117.

6. Young A, Chaudhry HJ, Rhyne J, Dugan M. A census of actively licensed physicians in the United States, 2010. J Med Regulation 2011;96(4):10-20.

7. Physician Adoption of Social Media. MedData Group Web site. http://www.meddatagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/MedDataGroup-Physician-Adoption-of-Social-Media-Q22014.pdf. 2014. Accessed 18 Sept. 2014.


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Sitting All Day Can Make Everything Hurt, But There's A Way To Fix It

Sitting All Day Can Make Everything Hurt, But There's A Way To Fix It | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Typically, when we think about enduring an injury, we imagine we have to do something -- and usually do it wrong -- to bring on the pain.

But sometimes discomfort is due to doing nothing whatsoever. Case in point: Sitting at your sedentary desk jo...

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Regina Jessy's curator insight, November 6, 11:31 PM

getmeratol.blogspot.com

Donovan Baldwin's curator insight, November 7, 1:44 PM

As an expert points out in this article, we are designed for movement, and, denying our bodies the movement they need to function well can cause several problems. Years ago, hardly anybody had to exercise, because life was full of activity. In today's world, however, life is often about being inactive, thus creating a need for exercise to maintain the health and well-being of body and mind.

Barbara Letscher's curator insight, November 13, 4:33 AM

Quelques points d'attention utiles pour ne pas s'abîmer avant l'heure !... Pensez à vous un peu......

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Kyambogo staff refuse to set exams

Kyambogo staff refuse to set exams | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
END of semester exams at Kyambogo University are hanging in balance after staff refused to set exams

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The Internet of Things and a Warm Pair of Socks

The Internet of Things and a Warm Pair of Socks | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
It’s early in the market for smart wearables, but, to reach its potential, products need to be easy and mindless to wear…

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The benefits of setting yourself a fitness goal

The benefits of setting yourself a fitness goal | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Find an event or activity to train towards to reinvigorate your training regimen.

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Startup Builds Sensors That Will Analyze Sweat to Track Your Health | WIRED

Startup Builds Sensors That Will Analyze Sweat to Track Your Health | WIRED | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
A startup called Electrozyme makes skin-applied biosensor strips and a wellness tracking platform.

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Why Facebook Could Become the World’s Biggest Healthcare Network

Why Facebook Could Become the World’s Biggest Healthcare Network | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) could soon follow Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) ,Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) , and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) into the healthcare field. According to a recent Reuters report, the company is experimenting with online support communities for patients and mulling the development of personal health and fitness apps.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has expressed its interest in the healthcare field. In 2012, the company asked users to specify their organ donor status, which caused average daily online organ donor registrations in the U.S. to soar from 616 to 13,054, according to theAmerican Journal of Transplantation. When Facebook acquired virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion earlier this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited telehealth (virtual doctors’ appointments) as a possible use for the technology.

Although Facebook’s support groups and mobile apps are still in the early planning stages, it’s fascinating to consider how the company could redefine “social healthcare” with its 1.3 billion monthly active users.

The business of social healthcare
Facebook wouldn’t be the first company to create online social groups for patients and doctors.

Back in 2008, Google launched Google Health, an ambitious effort to connect fragmented electronic health records, or EHRs, into a single personal health record, or PHR. That effort was abandoned in 2011 after the service failed to achieve mass adoption among doctors and patients. Last November, Google launched Helpouts, an “expert marketplace” which can help connect patients to doctors via video connections.

Meanwhile, smaller companies like Doximity and Personiform are emulating Facebook andTwitter‘s (NYSE: TWTR  ) networking models to connect doctors and patients to one another. Doximity, which had nearly 300,000 members as of January 2014, allows physicians to connect to each other and share patient data in a HIPAA-compliant manner.

 

Doximity’s iOS app. Source: iTunes

Personiform’s Project Medyear connects patients and physicians by merging Twitter hashtags with Google+ circles. Patients can actively share their health problems and symptoms on the network with hashtags, which helps them connect with strangers with the same ailment. To protect their privacy, Medyear uses Google+ circles to form “CareRings”, which control exactly who sees their health information. Physicians can join also the network to connect with their patients.

WebMD (NASDAQ: WBMD  ) , which offers support groups via its online communities, lets physicians use its Medscape mobile app to send medical information to patients who use WebMD’s mobile app. Last October, the company acquired Avado, a developer of cloud-based patient relationship management tools, to enhance this system.

Considering all the activity that’s going on in this field, it makes a lot of sense for Facebook to experiment with using its sprawling social connections to link patients and physicians to each other.

The business of preventative care apps
Meanwhile, preventative care apps — like exercise, diet tracking, and calorie counting apps –are a big part of the booming mobile health (mHealth) market, which Grand View Research estimates will grow from $1.95 billion in 2012 to $49 billion by 2020.

Apple, Google, and Samsung are all getting ready to capitalize on that growth. Apple recently launched HealthKit, its unified dashboard for iOS health apps and wearables. Google will soon respond with Google Fit, a similar platform which notably lacks HealthKit’s integration with EHRs. Samsung has S Health, another similar dashboard for Samsung phones and Gear smart watches.

These platforms are all designed with the expectation that sales of smart watches will soar. Current forecasts mostly back that belief — for example, research firm ON World believes that smart-watch shipments will surge from less than 4 million in 2013 to 330 million by 2018.

With these unified healthcare platforms and devices taking over smartphones, it would be wise for Facebook to offer health-tracking features to its 1.07 billion mobile monthly mobile users, who generated 62% of the company’s advertising revenue last quarter.

The Foolish takeaway
Although the healthcare market is a lucrative one, it will also be a challenging one for Facebook to break into.

Facebook’s constant shifting privacy settings, its dependence on targeted advertising for revenue, and its controversial “emotional manipulation” experiment could all hurt Facebook’s chances at evolving into a trusted healthcare network or developer of health-tracking apps. Last year, Reason-Rupe’s survey of over 1,000 American adults revealed that 61% did “not trust Facebook at all” for protecting their personal information and privacy.

Becoming a private social network for patients and doctors is a smart next step for the social network, but we should remember that Facebook couldn’t compete against LinkedIn(NYSE:LNKD  ) for a simple reason — the former was a place for personal posts, while the latter hosted professional profiles. We could see the same problem with asking patients to share health information on Facebook — its reputation as a casual social network could prevent it from ever being taken seriously as a healthcare platform.

Leo Sun owns shares of Apple and Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), LinkedIn, and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), LinkedIn, and Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

 


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Laurent FLOURET's curator insight, November 10, 11:34 AM

Yes.. BUT "Becoming a private social network for patients and doctors is a smart next step for the social network, but we should remember that Facebook couldn’t compete against LinkedIn for a simple reason — the former was a place for personal posts, while the latter hosted professional profiles. We could see the same problem with asking patients to share health information on Facebook — its reputation as a casual social network could prevent it from ever being taken seriously as a healthcare platform."

Leo J. Bogee III's curator insight, November 10, 12:22 PM

With 1.3 billion monthly active users, Oculus VR acquisition and telehealth on the verizon this will be change how healthcare companies market online. 


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Is Facebook’s Ebola initiative the future of the company’s healthcare strategy?

Is Facebook’s Ebola initiative the future of the company’s healthcare strategy? | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

Well that didn’t take long. A few weeks after Reuters leaked news of Facebook’splans to take on healthcare, the company has launched one of its first initiatives.

To help manage the mounting Ebola crisis, Facebook is taking a three-pronged approach. It’s placing a donate button at the top of every newsfeed, where people are prompted to choose from three pre-selected charities to give money: International Medical Corps, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Save the Children.


Sample UNICEF message targeting Ebola-stricken areas on the Facebook newsfeed

It’s promoting health education posts from UNICEF at the top of newsfeeds in places affected by Ebola. You can see a sample post to the left. Lastly, it’s donating satellite terminals to remote parts of Africa that are fighting Ebola. That way, healthcare workers in those areas can use mobile phones to more easily communicate with those providing supplies and assistance.

A complete strategic departure

Michael Leis, a VP at wellness brand advertising agency DigitasHealth, told me the ebola initiative is a “complete strategic departure for Facebook.” Aside from its organ donation program, the company hasn’t intervened in the past to facilitate healthcare issues. Even when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was ripping through the application at the speed of light, Facebook didn’t build any product features, like a donation button, around it.

The ebola initiative was just announced today, so we’ll have to wait to see how it unfolds before we know the impact.

The campaign gives us insight into what future Facebook healthcare initiatives might look like. The Reuters report said that Facebook was considering a variety of strategies, from releasing standalone healthy lifestyle apps to promoting group communities where people can discuss illness and wellness issues.

Now it’s clear Facebook’s healthcare efforts might also include charitable assistance and social good. That’s not surprising given that the organ donation feature that made Facebook consider tackling the healthcare industry — according to Reuters sources — was a big success. It doubled the rate of new organ donor registration in the weeks afterwards.

A bulletin board for the world

Facebook stands in a unique position. With almost a third of the world’s population in its reach – if you include WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger — and a user base that has penetrated everywhere from Africa to Australia, it can harness the power of the global crowds to impact issues of health. Whether that means raising funds for the issue of the moment, convincing more people to register their organs, or sending targeted information to key areas during times of crisis, Facebook can act like a public bulletin board for the world, in essence.

It’s not entirely clear how Facebook benefits from putting resources into those efforts though. Perhaps it’s simply corporate goodwill – Mark Zuckerberg has become an avid charitable giver as he’s matured. But at the end of the day Facebook is a public company, so how do such charitable actions fit into the bigger plan?

Where there’s users, there’s money

It may have to do with shifting tides in healthcare tech. There’s been a steady stream of healthcare IPO’s, and companies like Apple are angling for their piece of the pie with products like HealthKit. That’s what DigitasHealth’s Leis suspects.

“Just like any features that Facebook rolls out, it’s because they see other players doing it at scale,” Leis said. “When they understand that there’s an opportunity or a scale movement behind anything, healthcare included, they look at that as an opportunity.”

Ben Munoz, the founder of a network of rare-illness support sites called Ben’s Friends, thinks the ebola initiative is about Facebook’s bigger healthcare strategy. The company needs to develop consumer and industry trust. After news broke that the social network was moving into this space, patients on his site discussed their concerns. “There’s a lot of anxiety about such a powerful corporation having control over something so personal and private,” Munoz told me.


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Killer Chairs: How Desk Jobs Ruin Your Health

Killer Chairs: How Desk Jobs Ruin Your Health | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Chairs: we sit in them, work in them, shop in them, eat in them and date in them. Americans sit for most of their waking hours, 13 hours every day on average. Yet chairs are lethal.

This grim conclusion may surprise you, but 18 studies reported during the past 16 years, covering 800,000 people overall, back it up. In 2010, for example, the journal Circulation published an investigation following 8,800 adults for seven years. Those who sat for more than four hours a day while watching television had a 46 percent increase in deaths from any cause when compared with people who sat in front of the tube for less than two hours. Other researchers have found that sitting for more than half the day, approximately, doubles the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Overall, when you combine all causes of death and compare any group of sitters with those who are more active, sitters have a 50 percent greater likelihood of dying.

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Today's Digital Patient (Infographic)

Today's Digital Patient (Infographic) | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Visit the post for more.

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Got back pain? These yoga poses are here for you

Got back pain? These yoga poses are here for you | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

"Yoga truly is a unique opportunity for strengthening, stretching, and yes, even healing for the entire body. The back is no exception. Multiple studies have shown a steady practice is a great treatment for back soreness. In fact, several studies have found that yoga can even trump usual care for back pain when it comes to improving back function. For example, people who took yoga or stretching classes are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications for their back aches as people who managed symptoms on their own, one University of Washington study found."


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Why Google's Cancer-Detecting Pill Is More Than Just Hype | WIRED

Why Google's Cancer-Detecting Pill Is More Than Just Hype | WIRED | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Before Google started work on a pill that could detect cancers and other diseases by sending magnetic nanoparticles into your bloodstream, it talked to Sam Gambhir.

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Kirsty Foster's curator insight, November 6, 11:22 AM

kirsty

SageRave's curator insight, November 6, 11:56 AM

Does Google's expansion make you nervous?

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10 things I learned from @kevinmd about why physicians should actively participate on social media

10 things I learned from @kevinmd about why physicians should actively participate on social media | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

While social media and its intersection with medicine may evoke both interest and anxiety among physicians, medical organizations are paying increasing attention to its potential. Therefore, I was not surprised to find that the American College of Chest Physicians, one such organization has been actively growing its social media presence recently, chose this topic for a plenary address at this year’s CHEST Conference. The keynote speaker was one of the most influential physicians on social media today, Dr Kevin Pho (left in picture). Pho was born in the United States, but grew up in Toronto, before returning to the U.S. to complete medical school and specialty training in Internal Medicine at Boston University, after which he set up practice in New Hampshire. His foray into social media began in 2004 when he created his medical blog, KevinMD.com, which subsequently has become one of the most prominent and popular examples of its type. He joined Twitter in 2007, where his presence has been equally strong, amassing 112,000 current followers.

Pho presented a compelling and entertaining case for why physicians need to participate actively on social media. Here are his reasons:

1. We’re way behind. Physicians in particular lag behind much of the rest of society in their adoption of social media. As Pho said, “A few years ago, the only people who had pagers were doctors and drug dealers. Today, it’s just doctors.”

2. Medical misinformation has become widespread as the public increasingly turns to the internet for answers. Pho summarized the problem aptly: “The internet allows people who took their last science course in high school to go toe to toe with experts”. He cites the pervasive myth of a link between vaccines and autism as a key example of dangerous misinformation that, despite having been completely debunked by physicians and scientists, continues to flourish online, where the voices of these experts are all too thin on the ground. The implications of Pho’s concerns are obvious: our key role as patient educators is being systematically undermined as technology has freed everyone to find information, reliable or not, much more easily elsewhere. Unless physicians begin to compete en masse on the same battleground, we risk being drowned out by myths, fears and vested interests.

3. People don’t remember evidence, they remember stories. Logical fallacies and erroneous conclusions about health can achieve public credibility because they are often wrapped up in a compelling story or anecdote. This creates an apparent dilemma for health professionals: having been trained in evidence-based practice, we know the biases inherent in anecdotes, yet it seems clear that we won’t win hearts and minds with facts and figures alone. Instead, recognizing that stories have more power for the public than evidence, we must share our own stories, with messages that are congruent with the evidence.

4. When physicians do engage online, we are powerful voices. Blogs, media articles and interviews by physicians tend to garner a lot of public attention and to be ranked highly by search engines like Google. And some physicians have become very creative at using popular forms of social media to make powerful health messages go viral. Pho cited the example of Dr Zubin Damania, a specialist in internal medicine based in Las Vegas who has become an internet celebrity by creating rap videos, under the name ZDoggMD, often with public health messages: a video about testicular self-examination, featuring Damania dressed as Michael Jackson (complete with sparkling exam glove!), has been especially popular. A less sensational homegrown example that comes to mind is the popular whiteboard videos produced by Toronto family physicianDr Mike Evans.

5. Social media can be a valuable and efficient tool for continuing medical education. Twitter, in particular, can be powerful in this way, as it allows the user to create curated lists specifically tailored to personal needs and interests. This allows physicians to follow key organizations, journals and thought leaders in medicine. My personal experience seems to confirm the value of this. I joined Twitter just over a year ago, rather reluctantly in fact, but motivated at that time by the intersection of my role as an editor with the expansion of CMAJ’s social media presence, and also by the creation of a Twitter spinoff of amonthly journal club for Respirology trainees that I have overseen for the last decade. Being a physician on Twitter has taught me several things. As I predicted, I have been unable to refrain from becoming an active contributor of Twitter content, which probably says more about me than about Twitter itself (many of my colleagues and trainees are content merely to follow). Twitter has enable me to make many pleasant (and a few unpleasant) and unexpected connections with people whom I otherwise would probably not have encountered. And I now get information faster than ever before on a whole variety of things that are important to me. I find this offsets the extra time spent every day checking Twitter: because it’s such a concise medium, you can learn all you need to know about many things quickly, but also flag those things you need to read about in detail. I find I actually keep up with the medical literature even better now than when I was limited to more primitive media like e-mail or (heaven forbid) print journals.

6. If physicians don’t join online media because they choose to, they will soon join because they have to. Pho argued that connecting with patients online is fast becoming a health care imperative. This rings true to me – it seems in the last few years more and more patients want to communicate with me by e-mail, requiring me to engage with the benefits and risks inherent in that.

7. Physicians must take control of establishing and protecting their online reputation. Pho advised: “Google yourself at least once a week and see what comes up. Because that’s what patients are seeing.” I took his advice. I was glad to see that my profile at CMAJ came up first, then my profile at the University of Toronto. Then a bunch of stuff I’ve published (I was a bit surprised that a 2009 piece on investing in health research came up highest among the editorials I’ve written – I learned something already). Then – wait a minute – a profile on me from an organization I’ve never signed up with, providing a fairly detailed description of my activities, all compiled from the web. All fairly positive and accurate, fortunately – except that it says I live in Maryland (huh?). A physician rating website comes up, but I have no ratings. Pho’s point is clear – we need to stay aware and take control of the face we present to the world, a world that is increasingly online and out of our direction, but not beyond our influence. He suggests that physicians start to shape their online presence by creating profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Google My Business.

8. Risks associated with online activity (i.e. that anything you post is public and persists indefinitely) can be managed with thoughtful use.Ensuring this is essential, however, and is congruent with our duties of professionalism and confidentiality. As Pho said, “We need to be as professional on the web as we are in the room in front of patients”. But he also argued that the biggest risk of social media is not using it at all, thereby failing to connect with and educate the public adequately.

9. Sharing stories online allows the public to see that doctors are human too. This may be an important way to recalibrate public perceptions of physicians and expectations of us by illustrating why we do what we do.

10. Using social media is a good introduction to learning to work with the media in general. Pho underscored the importance of this: “It is essential for physicians to develop media skills if we hope to have a say in health care.”

For physicians seeking further guidance about how social media affects them, Pho has published a book entitled “Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation”. A unique and reader-friendly handbook, its topics range from how physicians should create our digital footprint to how we can connect and be heard to make a difference in health care.

Pho is right – we need to embrace social media, whether we like or not. Once we do, we probably will like it. And both we and our patients will be better off for it.

 


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Does Pinterest Make Sense for Medical Practices

Does Pinterest Make Sense for Medical Practices | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

At first, the popular social media site, Pinterest, may seem better suited to companies that sell home decor, food or craft items. However, this social media phenomenon can be useful for medical practices, too, if you know how to use it wisely.

 


About Pinterest

Pinterest, which launched in 2010, is one of the fastest growing social media sites in history. The site works as a collection of virtual bulletin boards, allowing users to "pin" articles and images from around the Internet to boards they create and share. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are women and roughly two-thirds are age 35 and older. That's an interesting demographic for medical practices that focus on women's health issues and pediatrics.


How to use Pinterest for your medical practice

You don't have to be a home improvement or travel company to make good use of Pinterest. Below are a few ideas for using this site to communicate with existing and potential patients.

1. To educate readers. Pinterest is all about visual images. Promoting good breast or heart health with pictures of what to expect during a mammogram or a stress test can help to take some of the anxiety out of such tests and encourage women to make an appointment.

2. To promote special events. If your practice sponsors special events, such as awareness walks, health fairs or free screenings, posting pictures of past events with information about upcoming events can help to get the word out and encourage Pinterest users in your area to sign up.

3. To help mothers keep their kids healthy. Seventy-five percent of Pinterest users are moms. That's a group that's always looking for new ways to help keep their kids healthy. If you see pediatric patients, you could use Pinterest to post healthy, kid-friendly recipes, help mothers identify health concerns in their kids and offer suggestions for making living a healthy lifestyle fun.

While Pinterest may not be the first social media site you think of when you consider promoting your medical facility or practice, the site bears consideration, especially if your practice caters to a primarily female demographic.

 


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Microsoft Band Is a Welcome Surprise in the Wearable Market

Microsoft Band Is a Welcome Surprise in the Wearable Market | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it
Microsoft Band Is a Welcome Surprise in the Wearable Market

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7 Common Mistakes in Online Healthcare Marketing

7 Common Mistakes in Online Healthcare Marketing | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

“Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate."

  

Those are the words of Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of GE, who clearly has had her fair share of experience in marketing over the years. Healthcare marketing is all about staying ahead of the curve – being innovative. In recent years, that had undoubtedly meant shifting away from traditional methods in order to test the waters of digital marketing. These days, however, merely dipping your feet in to stay ahead of the curve are long gone – it’s time to dive head first into the world of online marketing. Simply throwing away your old school, Yellow-Books-and-brochures strategies and signing up for a few social media accounts is no longer sufficient. You need to know how to navigate the complexities of online marketing in order to separate your practice from your competitors and avoid making the same mistakes they are making.

 

While online medical marketing may seem relatively mainstream to some, it is still firmly in the beginning stages of its existence. The Internet’s elaborate marriage of constant developments and endless possibilities has caused many healthcare professionals to adapt slower to modern forms of marketing. These intricacies have lead to a number of common mistakes made in online healthcare marketing that have depleted the efforts of medical practices across the globe.

  

Here are the 7 most common mistakes made in online healthcare marketing that you want to avoid:

  

Failure to PLAN

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” The same goes for online healthcare marketing. Too often, medical practices blindly begin advertising without a cohesive strategy in mind. This method of proceeding without a strategy is rarely going to be effective. In order to implement and manage a successful marketing system, it is essential to clearly set your objectives and goals. Do not rush into marketing just for the sake of marketing – take time beforehand to define your target market, the resources and materials you want to use, a comprehensive content strategy, etc. Your online marketing strategy should be a reflection of your overall business strategy, and should be geared to improve your practice altogether. An unplanned, unorganized online medical marketing system will compromise the actual work you put into your advertising, often rendering it futile. Aimlessly pushing out content without an objective serves no purpose. Take the time to sit down and devise a cohesive marketing plan in the beginning in order to save time and money in the end.

  

Failure to be CONSISTENT

The inability for medical practices to stay consistent in their online marketing, especially within their social media channels, can be a major turnoff to current or prospective patients. Whether posting too frequently, too infrequently, or not at all, failing to stay consistent often results in losing followers. Finding the optimal frequency and timing is often determined by a number of elements ranging from your target market to the platform you’re using. For example, Facebook tends to be more of a low volume/high value network, while Twitter is more of a higher volume, lower value platform. In general, most studies recommend posting to Facebook 1-2 times a day, where as Twitter should be closer to 5 times a day. In an industry as influential as healthcare, it’s easy to find reasons to postpone your online marketing procedures, or delay them after you’ve started. Keep in mind that 80% of sales are made on the 4th to 12th contact, so failing to post can cause you to lose significant ground to your competitors as your patients turn to them in your absence. Stay consistent. Stay relevant.

  

Failure of OVERPITCHING

You can’t treat everything like a sales pitch. Yes, the overarching objective of marketing is to drive sales (whether by gaining patients, selling products, etc.), but your advertising strategies cannot solely focus driving sales. Flooding your audience with the same self-promotional content will only push them away. This is especially true for your social media networks. It’s ok to advocate your practice, but the majority of the content you share needs to be valuable, rather than promotional. The purpose of online healthcare marketing is not to directly generate sales, but to generate trust between your practice and your patients. Focus on providing patients with information they find truly valuable and it will improve your relationship, thus increasing the likelihood of achieving your overarching objective.

  

Failure to INTERACT

Again, this common healthcare marketing mistake is predominately geared towards the social media side of things, as many medical practices tend to undermine the word, “social.” Many people are hesitant to engage with current or prospective patients online for a number of reasons, including the fear of violating HIPAA regulations and the fear of opening the door to negative comments or reviews. Therefore, they refrain from interacting with others online, choosing to use their social media channels as nothing more than a tool to push out content. However, it’s not enough to only push out content and hope people eventually find and share it. That’s not what social media networks are meant for, and failing to take full advantage of them is leaving a number of potential patients on the table. A major component of online marketing is the interaction with others as a means to maintain a healthy relationship with your current patients, and to nurture new ones. Neglecting to socialize obstructs both existing and prospective relationships. Instead, take advantage of the opportunity. On social media platforms, don’t shy away from ‘liking’ a Facebook post or ‘retweeting’ a tweet. In additional to social media, begin building up a quality email list so that you can email valuable information to your audience. Don’t let the fear of a bad review keep you from allowing patients to reach you online; encourage your patients to leave a review, and begin building yourpositive online reputation.

  

Failure to OPTIMIZE

Optimization is a quintessential element of digital marketing. Several specific components play a role in your ability to fully optimize your online presence. A trendy buzzword lately has been SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Understanding the ins and outs of SEO can be an extensive process, and while this knowledge can give you a valuable edge, you can benefit from knowing a few basic concepts. On a fundamental level, good SEO strategies help in promoting your website in order to increase the amount of traffic driven to your site from search engines like Google and Bing. There are many techniques that will help SEO rank, including your website design, your ability to include optimal keywords targeted towards your ideal patient, and most importantly, your ability to push out unique, sharable content on a consistent basis. Google and other search engines are consistently increasing the levels of which they reward brands that are able to produce valuable content that readers share with others. Generating content on multiple platforms (social media, blog, images, videos, etc.) is a great way to create the quality of content that will dramatically improve your SEO strategies, which in turn will make your content more accessible. Website optimization has become an integral aspect of online healthcare marketing; do not take it lightly. If needed, there are several tools and companies for hire that will manage your website optimization. Don’t be embarrassed if you aren’t comfortable handling it yourself. Managing a fully functioning SEO and website optimization strategy is a full-time job; it’s not realistic to expect you to be a doctor and an SEO expert on the side. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! In the meantime, I would recommend starting off with Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO, or Quick Sprout’s Advanced Guide to SEO.

  

Failure to ANALYZE

Whatever methods you decide to apply to your marketing strategy, make sure you are tracking your results and analyzing the data. It is absolutely imperative to have this information at hand to monitor the successes or failures of your advertising campaigns. Luckily, doing so is easier than ever. There is an abundance of resources readily available to help you track your results. There is no better place to start than Google Analytics, a free tool provided by Google that will help you collect and examine a variety of valuable data on your website. Don’t mistake activity for results – establish a quantifiable system to truly collect and analyze your results.

  

Failure to ADAPT

Being able to adjust your online medical marketing strategies goes back to your ability to stay ahead of the curve. Marketing tactics don’t age like wine. It’s important to adjust your strategies as you go based on what has been working, what hasn’t been working, and any new opportunities made available through new resources. This does not mean you need to alter your overall goals or objectives; just the techniques you employ to reach them. This is why it is so crucial to track and monitor your results. You would think analyzing your past strategies and adapting your new ones accordingly would go hand in hand, but many marketers make the mistake of becoming fixated on running a particular campaign a certain way, regardless of its level of success. It’s irrational to continually do the same thing and expect different results, but it happens all the time – just make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Tracking your results is only the first part of the equation; you must be willing to evolve. Keep up with new trends, changes in SEO strategies, and updated policies in order to remain a leg up on the competition.

  

 

The immeasurable boundaries of online healthcare marketing may offer infinite potential, but it needs to be utilized in the right way. Embracing the Internet for marketing purposes is only the first step – maximize your efforts by exploiting supplementary methods that will enhance your digital marketing proficiency. And while you do, steer clear of these common mistakes.

 


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Rescooped by John Mark Bwanika from Social Media and Healthcare
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A Healthy Approach to Social Media

A Healthy Approach to Social Media | Healthcare updates | Scoop.it

In today’s fast-paced society, everyone and their mother is on some sort of social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, just to name a few. Social media has changed not only the way we communicate, but also the way that we get our information. More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social mediaaffects the way that they deal with their health: What’s the latest workout? What’s the best diet? Who’s doing CrossFit? With so many new fitness crazes popping up, most people can be found with at least one health-related app.

Popular health and fitness websites such as WebMD and MyFitnessPal have generated their own online forums for users to share messages and information. (I, too, am guilty of looking up a symptom or two on WebMD.) 

What’s the draw? Why do people choose to use social media as their go-to for medical questions and answers? Instant gratification. Nowadays we’ve become so conditioned to receiving answers in seconds that waiting a day for test results seems unreasonable. It’s so much easier to punch in your symptoms on Google rather than making an appointment at the doctor.

But it doesn’t need to be an either/or decision. Healthcare providers can use social media to their—and their patients’—advantage. Overworked nurses and pediatricians could save valuable hours teaching kids how to properly fit a bike helmet by uploading a single YouTube video. A doctor could discuss a complicated procedure with a nervous patient, provide more information, and greater peace of mind, by referring them to a video or an article—or better yet, having that video or article on hand in their office.

I’m not saying that every health facility should run out and create an app. However, every facility should, in fact, have a strong social media focus no matter their size. With all of the health-related discussions constantly filling newsfeeds, providing the right content where people are spending a majority of their time is part of modern medicine.

Social media is important for healthcare providers to stay in communication with past, present and future patients. Like it, tweet it, pin it. Get the real facts out there. The world is online and moving forward. The fact of the matter is: If you aren’t on social media, then you’re far behind the learning curve.

 


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