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Patients Willing To Link EHRs To Social Media

Patients Willing To Link EHRs To Social Media | social health |

Utilizing social media could help drive healthcare quality improvement.

The rise of social media could provide an excellent source of data to help track healthcare consumer’s experiences, and apparently most patients would be ok with that according to the results of a study published by BMJ Quality and Safety.

Researchers asked adult ED patients if they would be willing to link their social media accounts to their EHR for medical research purposes, to which 71 percent of the patients agreed. The study examined Twitter as a potential source of data for capturing patient experience and patient-perceived quality of care in US hospitals.

More than 1,000 participants consented to share their social media and medical data over seven months. Analyzing content from as far back as 2009, the shared social media data consisted of nearly 1.4 million posts and tweets to Facebook and Twitter, comprising almost 12 million words.

The study was authored by Raina M. Merchant, MD, MSHP, director of the Social Media and Health Innovation Lab and an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn Medicine; Lyle Ungar, PhD, a professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania Kevin A. Padrez MD (also with the department of Emergency Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco); H. Andrew Schwartz PhD; Robert J Smith; Shawndra Hill PhD; Tadas Antanavicius; Dana M. Brown; Patrick Crutchley; and David A. Asch MD, MBA. It was funded through an Innovation Grant from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the findings, patients who shared their social media were younger, tended to post at least once a day, were more likely to take themselves to the emergency room, and were more likely to hold private insurance than those who declined to share their data.

“We don’t often think of our social media content as data, but the language we use and the information we post may offer valuable insights into the relationship between our everyday lives and our health,”said Merchant. “Finding ways to effectively harness and mine that data could prove to be a valuable source of information about how and why patients communicate about their health. There is a rich potential to identify health trends both in the general public and at the individual level, create education campaigns and interventions, and much more. One of the unique aspects of this data is the ability to link social media data with validated information from a health record.”

The study authors suggest a database that merges social media with EMR data has the potential to provide significant insights into patients’ health and health outcomes.

“These findings suggests that social media is a promising avenue for exploring how patients conceptualize and communicate about their specific health issues,” said Ungar. “We see this as just the first of many studies to come examining the relationship between health and social media.”


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'Arrogance' over need for sleep

'Arrogance' over need for sleep | social health |

Society has become "supremely arrogant" in ignoring the importance of sleep, leading researchers have told the BBC's Day of the Body Clock.


Scientists from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester and Surrey universities warn cutting sleep is leading to "serious health problems".


They say people and governments need to take the problem seriously.

Cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infections and obesity have all been linked to reduced sleep.

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Donovan Baldwin's curator insight, May 13, 2014 7:04 PM

I have been studying the health effects of sleep for several years and recommend this article to anyone interested in a healthier, longer life.

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How can physicians use social media to their benefit?

How can physicians use social media to their benefit?

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The Diagnosis Difference: Online and Offline

The Diagnosis Difference: Online and Offline | social health |

45% of U.S. adults report that they live with one or more chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, but also less common conditions like lupus and cancer. They are more likely than other adults to be older, to have faced a medical emergency in the past year, and, as other studies have shown, to contribute to the explosion of health care costs in the U.S.

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center, supported by the California HealthCare Foundation, explores how adults with chronic conditions gather, share, and create health information, both online and offline.

The Pew Research Center’s analysis indicates a “diagnosis difference” that is tied to several aspects of health care and technology use. For example, holding other variables constant (including age, income, education, ethnicity, and overall health status), the fact that someone has a chronic condition is independently associated with being offline.

The diagnosis difference cuts another way, too. This study provides evidence that many people with serious health concerns take their health decisions seriously—and are seriously social about gathering and sharing information, both online and offline.

Internet users living with one or more conditions are more likely than other online adults to:

Gather information online about medical problems, treatments, and drugs.Consult online reviews about drugs and other treatments.Read or watch something online about someone else’s personal health experience.

“Our research makes it clear that when the chips are down, people are most likely to get advice from a clinician, but online resources are a significant supplement,” says Susannah Fox, lead author of the study and an associate director at the Pew Research Center. “Just as significantly, once people begin learning from others online about how to cope with their illnesses, they join the conversation and also share what they know.”


The results reported here come from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (1,808) and cell phone (1,206, including 624 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from August 7 to September 6, 2012. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±2.4 percentage points. In this survey there are 1,498 respondents who are living with one or more chronic health conditions. Margin of error for results based on that group is ±3 percentage points.

Support for this study was provided by the California HealthCare Foundation, an independent philanthropy committed to improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California. Additional analysis and editorial guidance was provided by Kristen Purcell and Lee Rainie. An extensive appendix contains stand-alone analysis of each group included in the survey: the general population, adults living with high blood pressure, adults living with lung conditions, adults living with diabetes, adults living with heart conditions, adults living with cancer, and adults living with other chronic health conditions. Since one in five U.S. adults is living with two or more conditions, we cannot compare the groups.


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Top 10 Countries Where Doctors Go Digital

Top 10 Countries Where Doctors Go Digital | social health |

10. Switzerland

Switzerland ranked 10th with 41 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. Doctors in that country were not surveyed in 2009.


9. Canada
Canada ranked 9th with 56 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's up from 37 percent in 2009.


8. France
France ranked 8th with 67 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's down from 68 percent in 2009.


7. United States
The U.S. ranked 7th with 69 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's up from 46 percent in 2009.


6. Germany
Germany ranked 6th with 82 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's up from 72 percent in 2009.


5. Australia
Australia ranked 5th with 92 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's down from 95 percent in 2009.


3. New Zealand

New Zealand tied for 3rd with 97 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That matches the percentage in 2009.


3. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom tied for 3rd with 97 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's up from 96 percent in 2009.


1. The Netherlands
The Netherlands tied for 1st with 98 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's down from 99 percent in 2009.


1. Norway
Norway tied for 1st with 98 percent of physicians saying they used electronic medical records in 2012. That's up from 97 percent in 2009.


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Doctors Tweeting? It's healthy.

Doctors Tweeting? It's healthy. | social health |

Doctors and nurses say social media including Facebook and Twitter are among their new professional tools.


More than two-thirds of physicians told surveyors in 2011 that they were utilizing some form of social media "for professional purposes," and likely that number has grown.


Alan Neuhauser, who published a piece in U.S. News & World report recently on the subject, said social media is used in varying ways, and it's helped to save time, and perhaps even lives.

"(Social media) lets (doctors and nurses) share articles and videos with a number of patients at once, it lets them monitor Twitter during big events like big games," Neuhauser told WTOP. For example, Twitter was critical to trauma teams as they awaited victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to local hospitals in 2013.


In his article, Neuhauser also talks about doctors and nurses creating their own professional Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to invite patients to weigh in and communicate. Aside from sharing information to a wider group with videos and links, they are also able to monitor the well-being of their patients on a regular basis. This has helped particularly with veterans who might not be so comfortable coming forward and asking for help.


"They have come across (Facebook) posts that let them know, that maybe a guy is having a tough day because maybe it is an anniversary of a tough event," Neuhauser pointed out. Doctors and nurses can take a more proactive role in their care as a result. The nurses he spoke to for his story say they prevented at least 12 suicides by reaching out to vets after reading their cries for help online.


As with all such technology, there are privacy concerns. While hospitals are still wary with the professional use of Facebook and Twitter, medical schools are beginning to issue guidelines, rather than prohibitions, for their use.


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Fascinated about the proactive way of preventing suicide.

ChemaCepeda's curator insight, June 23, 2014 10:22 AM

Allí donde estén los pacientes tendremos que estar los profesionales, aprovechando las oportunidades que ofrecen estos canales para comunicarnos y aprender junto a ellos

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3 Insights on Social Media and Healthcare From E-Patient Dave

3 Insights on Social Media and Healthcare From E-Patient Dave | social health |

A couple of weeks ago, Dave deBronkart says a friend of his was having "such a bad time" in a hospital. "She had to go walking down the hall to find her nurse because a half hour earlier, her IV had fallen out, and she got no responses to her call button," he says.

Although she got help that time, she found herself in the same situation yet again. This time, though, her approach was different. "She tweeted [at] the hospital's Twitter account, and she got a response," Mr. deBronkart says, illustrating how social media has changed the dynamic between providers and patients.

Mr. deBronkart has extensive experience with the power of blogging and social networking as a patient. Also known as "e-Patient Dave," he became a blogger and an advocate for healthcare transformation through patient engagement following his experience being treated successfully for stage 4 kidney cancer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Today, Mr. deBronkart has considerable blogging and social media expertise. He has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter as @ePatientDave, and he was one of the social media thought leaders who contributed to the book, "Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care," published by the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. He was also one of the first people to receivePlatinum Fellow designation from the Mayo Clinic Social Media Fellows Program in 2013.

Before he became a well-known healthcare advocate, he worked in marketing, and he says social media presents a great opportunity for hospitals and health systems to connect with their patients. He shared the following three insights into how social media has influenced healthcare and how providers should approach social networks.

1. Listening and conversing are better than broadcasting. Picture a blaring megaphone. That's how not to use social networks, Mr. deBronkart says. "It's not for broadcasting," he says. "The absolute classic wrong way to use social media is to announce your latest press release."

By far, he says the most "underused value" of social media is listening to what other people are talking about. And the best way to gauge that is by actually scrolling through a Twitter feed rather than relying on analytics. "No matter how many tools you use, though there is no substitute for actually being out there crawling around in the tweets or the blog posts," he says.

Along with listening, effective social media users engage in conversations as a way to build connections with consumers. Mr. deBronkart says being part of a social network is like being at a cocktail party. "Be engaging," he says. "Be a good conversationalist."

2. Joining social networks can open up new avenues of communication with patients. As Mr. deBronkart's friend's experience demonstrates, social media gives providers a chance to establish more efficient and open communication with patients. For instance, Mark Bertolini, CEO and chairman of health insurer Aetna, maintains a Twitter account (@mtbert) "so patients can go around the clutter and talk to him directly," Mr. deBronkart says.

"Anyone can tweet to him, and he responds," he says. "What you can see there, what's happening is the evaporation of traditional obstacles between two people connecting. For somebody who likes stone walls, that's bad news. For somebody who really wants to capture the conversation, and participate in the conversation, it’s a radically different world."

3. Using social networks can help providers adapt to a shifting healthcare system. As the healthcare system transitions to value-based payments and policymakers crack down on wasteful spending, hospitals and health systems must fight to sustain themselves despite the challenges of the shifting system. Mr. deBronkart says healthcare providers looking to survive and thrive "when the waters get choppy" may want to invest in building strong connections with their communities and increasing patient satisfaction.

"A massive social media campaign costs a hell of a lot less than a proton beam machine," he says. "For somebody who wants to be known for being darn good at one thing or another, social media vastly reduces the barriers for getting that message heard."

More Articles on Social Media and Healthcare: 
Listening and Learning: 5 Best Twitter Practices for Hospital Executives 
10 Ways to Ensure HIPAA Compliance on Social Media  
Social Media Safeguards for Healthcare and Regulated Industries 


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Doctors Need to Be Where Their Patients Are: Online

Doctors Need to Be Where Their Patients Are: Online | social health |

If knowledge is power, then content (in proper context) is king. Why am I online blogging, pushing content through my website and even interacting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and many other sites?  Because my patients are there. Increasingly, they are utilizing the Internet to self-diagnose; to look for “second opinions” from peers and friends; to research a physician, recommended treatment, or hospital; or to find the latest information on their disease.

Studies suggests that patients forget more than 50 percent of what they are told in the doctor’s office. Add to that misremembering or misinterpretation, and the information holes grow even larger. What happens to the holes when these individuals get home? Research shows that consumers trust the recommendations of peers or friends far above those of any advertisement. And where are people interacting with those friends? Where are they searching? In many instances, online. They are sharing useful information, and this includes health concerns, treatment protocols, and medications. When patients feel they can’t turn to their doctor for answers, pulling information from the Internet is an easy, efficient, and logical choice.

Medicine and healthcare are undergoing massive changes; more and more regulations and obligations eat into physicians’ clinic time. Reimbursements have dropped, and as a result many doctors have felt they needed to increase their appointment load and decrease the time they spend on each. For patients, that translates to less time with their physician, less learning, more questions, more doubt, and sadly, more fear. Their antidote is Google.

The root word for doctor is “docere,” or “to teach,” and our patients are making decisions based on what they read online. We as physicians have a moral obligation to be sure that the information they are receiving is accurate. If we do not have the time to teach our patients while they are in the clinic, we need to be present where they are to address their residual questions, hesitancy, and fears (often due to lack of knowledge), and also to aid them through their medical decision-making process. In short, we need to be active in producing or curating online medical content to aid our patients. 

Doctors often believe that they need to spend hours upon hours coming up with content; they believe there is too much risk involved in “tweeting” or putting a post on Facebook. Yet most studies show that physician content and social media interactions are perfectly appropriate. You know the rules – follow them. You do not need to be an active writer; you already answer the same questions day in and day out. Why not just sit and dictate the answer to those questions and post them online? Don’t want to hire a professional? Don’t. Tumblr, Posterous, and other such sites make it simple to set up a site for content in minutes. Still don’t want to create content? Fine – then share links to accurate, actionable, and useful information on Twitter or Facebook.

We are physicians; our job is to lead patients toward health. We owe it to them to be sure that the information they are reading is of the same quality as we would give in our office, or want to get if (or, rather, when) we looked in the mirror and saw a patient staring back.


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Nuria Parra Macías's curator insight, February 10, 2014 2:19 AM

In short, we need to be active in producing or curating online medical content to aid our patients. 

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Can the Internet and Social Media Help the Development of Healthcare?

Can the Internet and Social Media Help the Development of Healthcare? | social health |

In a world frantically scrambling to adapt to the changing digital landscape, how has healthcare fared? Has the Internet and social media helped or hindered its development? Should the public turn to the Internet for medical advice? I enlisted the help of some leading voices in the field to unravel these questions and shed some much needed light on the topic.


Information technologies have already prompted a massive shift in the way medical information is accessed, with its capacity to transfer important knowledge from health professionals to the wider public. Social media, in particular, is a perfect vehicle for this.

As the tentacles of social media permeate into everyday life, doctors and healthcare organisations alike can leverage this power to circulate valuable information about health problems as well as self-care and prevention techniques.


As Lee Aase, Director at Mayo Clinic Social Media, confirms:

“By engaging in public, knowledgeable professionals can offer help and insights on a scale that was previously impossible. And by bringing their science-based perspective they can hopefully counter some of the bad information that has been so harmful to public health”

“The Journal of Internet Medical Research have suggested that 60% of adults used the internet to find health information”

It’s exactly this ‘bad information’ that makes searching online for medical advice fraught with dangers. For the more Internet savvy, this may not pose a problem, but, for the less educated, and the elderly, finding credible information on the web may be a troublesome task.

The reality is that anyone can publish on the internet, regardless of quality, which means that you could be confronted with information that is conflicting, confusing, or quite simply wrong.


From a runny nose to something more serious like a suspicious lump, people are heading to the web more and more; but, with more than 70,000 websites disseminating medical information, where should you visit?


According to Dr. Sarah Jarvis, clinical consultant at, your doctor can advise you on trusted sites to visit. Here in the UK, sites which have been awarded The Information Standard by the NHS, are particularly useful as medical resources:


" is fully accredited, and all the articles on the site are written by GPs, for GPs and their patients. They also provide full references to back up their content. Of the 11 million people who access the information onsite every month, almost a million are GPs and practice nurses – a ringing endorsement of the quality of the information."

However, can even the most reputable sites compare to the value of a face-to-face appointment with your GP? Dr. Leana Wen, physician and author of When Doctor’s Don’t Listen believes that the Internet should only be used to accompany a visit to the doctors:

"Don't use the Internet to make your diagnosis, but rather use it to formulate better questions to ask your doctor. Internet search engines can't replace seeing your doctor, because symptoms alone don't make your diagnosis--your history and physical exam do."


This is true; the benefits of a physical diagnosis cannot be completely replaced by a search online. However, the Internet and social media have other abilities that can improve healthcare, namely it’s capacity to bring patients with similar diseases together. Through Twitter chats and Facebook groups, like-minded patients can connect with one another for mutual support and knowledge sharing. Introducing trained medical professionals into these conversations will undoubtedly make these discussions more helpful.


“Doctors should always exercise caution when using Twitter as it can often lead to a conflict of interest, but as long as it’s used in responsible manner, Twitter can be the perfect platform to educate the public on a wide range of health issues.”Healthexpress Chief medical Advisor, Dr. Hilary Jones

Facebook is particularly good at grouping patients together.

In one simple click, you can become an active member of a community alongside others with similar interests.

These groups supply valuable opportunities to talk to one another while offering important information on breakthrough studies, news and advice for a specific condition, all of which will feature on a daily newsfeed.


A perfect example of a successful social media campaign can be observed with, a community website which has successfully built a global network to help people with diabetes worldwide. As well as promoting awareness for Diabetes, their social media platforms unite people with similar worries so they can share their stories and seek support.


In fact, the benefits of an extended support network on a persons health has been confirmed by several studies. Researchers from California carried out a large-scale study in 1979, which concluded that people with relatively low levels of social interaction died earlier than those with strong social networks.


By using social media, people are more likely to partake in social interaction and support. The possibilities have moved beyond the restraints of face-to-face contacts to an unlimited pool of people with shared interests and concerns.

As Medical Expert for NBC and regular on air guest for Fox News, Dr. Kevin Campbell testifies,

"Support groups are extremely valuable for patients--social media allows for patients from geographically diverse regions to interact in real time without even leaving their own homes."

“Social media connects. Social Media informs both patients and doctors. It enhances knowledge. It facilities communication. In healthcare, is there anything more powerful than knowledge and human connection?”Dr.John Mandrola, cardiologist

As well as improving doctor/patient relationships, Dr. Campbell believes that social media can develop relationships within doctors’ circles themselves. Doctors can now consult each other from anywhere in the world, meaning that ideas can be more easily disseminated, thus improving research and patient care.


However, many healthcare institutions are worried that the use of social media by their doctors may compromise patient privacy while threatening a doctor’s professional reputations. This has lead to many organisations devising their own guidelines for their doctors. Dr. John Mandrola, a cardiac electro physiologist and regular Twitter user, has created his own ‘Rules for Doctors on Social Media.’


There may be some risks to consider when integrating social media into a healthcare model, but the overwhelming power of social media as a tool to educate and distribute medical information cannot be ignored. If social media is to revolutionize healthcare and improve public health on a global level, health professionals must be actively involved in the process to guarantee that the information is completely reliable. With a community of doctors and specialists already discussing ethical problems and how to overcome these obstacles, the future of social media in healthcare is in good hands.

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Follow us: @healthexpress on Twitter

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Blanca Usoz's insight:

Redes sociales que conectan en salud

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, January 23, 2014 3:09 AM

Internet ,Social Media and  the Development of Healthcare

Anthony Carnesecca's curator insight, January 24, 2014 2:40 AM

This article brings up an interesting point about whether vital areas of our lives, such as medicine and health, should fully utilize social media platforms to advocate and push for consumers to act in certain ways.

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A Tweet a Day Keeps the Doctors Away: Patients and Healthcare Providers Using Social Media

A Tweet a Day Keeps the Doctors Away: Patients and Healthcare Providers Using Social Media | social health |

The influence of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media giants has spread across modern society faster than the Black Death swept across 14th century Europe. Speaking of pandemics, how does healthcare fit into the world of social media? Welcome to social health.

Social health is the mash-up of social media and healthcare, and it’s starting to gain traction. In fact, a third of all consumers use social media for matters regarding their health. Thanks to social networking sites and the increased availability of broadband and mobile technology, people are forming online patient support groups, becoming better educated on medical topics and diagnoses, and sharing doctor and product reviews – wherever and whenever they want.

However, people still tend to trust their doctors over peers and family when it comes to getting accurate medical advice, giving providers a great opportunity to jump into the social-health fray. And many have. In a 2012 study by the, 24 percent of doctors said they used social media at least once a day to look for medical information while almost two-thirds think social media enhances their ability to care for their patients.

There are many benefits for providers who take part in social health as well, such as giving doctors a way to connect with consumers in between visits and allowing healthcare organizations to receive immediate feedback on products and services.

Concerns about privacy and security have surfaced alongside the rising popularity of social health. Consumers are worried that their medical records will go public while health information technology specialists must try to protect patient privacy and act within the bounds of HIPAA and the FDA as they participate in the online social sphere.

This is just a peek into the vast realm of social health. Check out the infographic below for even more valuable insights about this incredible new online movement.

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