Nov 30, 2012

Social Media To Be The Commonest Source Of Continuing Medical Education

social-media-brings-changes-in-healthcareSocial Media is the commonest use of Internet. Everyone uses the internet to access their emails and Facebook accounts. A Google search engine is the gateway to all information for most of us. These platitudes of an everyday normal life also apply to physicians.
Communication technology has made things easy for doctors. Keeping up-to-date with medical advances has become an easy part of everyday life and not restricted to events like conferences or receiving prints of journal publications. Recent publications have highlighted the importance of social media in continuing medical education. In a recent large study, 70% of doctors were found to have accessed new medical content via social media every month.
Social media integrated medical content platforms like India Cardiology 2.0 and India Rheumatology 2.0 make it easier to read, share and discuss the latest studies and articles within the niche. Such platforms let readers (which in most cases are doctors) recommend and easily share the relevant study on their Facebook wall. Reader recommendations on the website are used to list the most visible studies. On such social media integrated medical content platforms, Readers can choose to stay updated via email (enewsletter) or via Facebook page or Twitter. So, for example, on liking India Cardiology 2.0 Facebook page the latest news and articles in Cardiology shall be visible to readers on their Facebook wall stream. Readers can also use common social media platforms including LinkedIn and Google plus to recommend the article to his/her own friend circle with pertinent comments.
FireShot Screen Capture #062 - 'Digoxin Increases Deaths In Patients With Atrial Fibrillation - India Cardiology 2_0' - cardiology_hcsm_in_2012_11_30_digoxin-increases-deaths-in-patients-with-atrial-fibrillation
Similarly, following @incardiology on Twitter will let a reader receive all new updates in his/her twitter stream/wall. Such platforms make finding and sharing relevant items so much simpler for medical professionals.
Social media and emails are well ingrained into our daily lives. Its time doctors make professional uses of such tools too.

Nov 29, 2012

Portable UV Disinfector To Control Hospital Acquired Infections

Technology provides hospitals with tools which can greatly improve their quality of care. This small portable disinfector is one such tool.

Hospital acquired infection is an age old problem which refuses to go away. Infections acquired during hospital stay still constitute one of the top 5 causes of mortality in patients. Antimicrobial solutions and fogging help in reducing the microbial burden but they have their limitations. Enter Xenex.


The futuristic looking Xenex room disinfection system uses pulses of high-intensity ultraviolet light to kill bacteria without contact or chemicals. The device can be moved from room to room, and can disinfect surfaces and the air in a matter of minutes. The system uses reflectors and movement to focus UV light toward “high-touch” surfaces. Motion detection system and door guard ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and staff. On-board database logs system activity for utilization tracking and analysis.

In hospital trials, Xenex was found to be 20 times more effective than standard cleaning methods, and a recent study proved it is more effective than bleach in reducing C-difficile.

Nov 17, 2012

What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe : Video

Medical Journalism and communication has become sensationalistic. Potentially beneficial results are overhyped and harmful possibilities simply brushed under the rug. Positive findings are around twice as likely to be published as negative findings.

When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

Freeing Medical Data: Video

Technology has enabled us to collect vast amounts of medical data from myriad sources. But most of this data is locked in silos and unavailable for use by researchers. Performing a medical or genomic experiment on a human requires informed consent and careful boundaries around privacy. But what if the data that results, once scrubbed of identifying marks, was released into the wild?

At, John Wilbanks thinks through the ethical and procedural steps to create an open, massive, mine-able database of data about health and genomics from many sources.

Nov 9, 2012

Benefits and Risks of Healthcare Social Media

healthcare-social-mediaSocial media includes all online tools and technologies which let people communicate and publish content easily. The most popular among them are Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Widely used for communications and marketing, these channels are considered as important (if not more important) as mainstream media channels like newspapers and television.

The use of social media in healthcare represents an increasingly effective tool in healthcare. It can be used to communicate with consumers, inform about new wellness schemes, market healthcare products, provide basic healthcare advice, inform about latest medical devices, get instant public feedback and much more. At the same time, Healthcare social media also presents challenges, including risks to information accuracy, organizational reputation, and individual privacy.

The primary focus for most organizations' social media programs is marketing and communications. Hospitals are using social media to target health consumers. As consumers are shifting to online searches before making important healthcare decisions, hospitals are looking at creating solid social media presence and fostering long term relationships with their consumers. Internationally, Mayo Clinic has taken the lead in healthcare social media. Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media has a stated mission to "lead the social media revolution in healthcare, contributing to health and well being for people everywhere." Indian hospitals are not far behind. The Apollo Hospitals twitter account has more than 2000 followers. Their Facebook page makes wonderful use of the timeline feature, has 91,000 likes and is fast growing. Their YouTube channel has been active for the past 4 years.

Many organizations have also formed online support groups for patients. Patients are encouraged to share their personal experiences and this consumer generated content is an invaluable source of information for other patients. Many doctors, too, have joined such support forums and provide information on various disorders. In a country like India where 70% of healthcare services are paid for ‘out-of-pocket’, Social Media becomes all the more important for healthcare marketing. Companies selling healthcare devices have found social media influences purchasing decisions. Internationally, many pharma companies too have realized the enormous potential of social media. Almost all major drug companies now have social media presence. Companies like Pfizer, Novartis, J & J and Sanofi-Aventis have launched many innovative social media campaigns. The HR departments in many healthcare organizations are using social media sites to spot and recruit talent.

These new tools of communications come with their own risks and dangers. Like a double edged sword, all points in favor of social media usage also contribute to the dangers associated with their use. The dangers social media exposes healthcare to are internal as well as external. Flippant remarks made by nurses or doctors online can be misconstrued by general public. Cases abound where protected health information was shared online inadvertently. The danger of violations of patient privacy cannot be overstated.

Conversations cannot be controlled and negative remarks made on social media by disgruntled employees or consumers cannot be erased. Such risks can be minimized by fostering positive comments by consumers and show casing achievements and consumer centeredness via these communication channels.

Organizations need to gear up to grab the opportunity and face the challenge that is social media. They need to monitor their ‘social presence’ and keep track of consumer sentiments. Use of social media for innovative marketing and communication campaigns should be encouraged. Organizations should educate both their employees and the public on their privacy practices to encourage responsible use of their social media sites. Guidelines and specific social media policies need to be in place to promote risk free use of social media by employees. Once policy is established, employees, volunteers, contracted employees, and medical staff members should receive training and education to ensure they are aware of the policies and procedures. With proper policy and training for employees, healthcare is slowly but surely taming the social media beast that technology has helped unleash on the markets.

Also See:

· Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki:

· Online Database of Healthcare Social Media Policies:

· Privacy Policies for Social Media:

Nov 6, 2012

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards For 2013

The evolution of healthcare information technology systems such as electronic health records (EHRs) has definitely helped improve quality and efficiency in healthcare. At the same time, there’s a growing level of complexity and opportunity for error. With increasing use of technology in healthcare, healthcare providers need to be wary of the associated risks with its use.

Now in its sixth year, ECRI Institute publishes an annual list of top hazards of technology in healthcare. The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list is updated each year based upon the prevalence and severity of incidents reported to ECRI Institute by healthcare facilities nationwide; information found in the Institute’s medical device problem reporting databases; and the judgment, analysis, and expertise of the organization’s multidisciplinary staff. Here are the group’s estimation of the most probable hazards which might crop up in 2013 because of use of technology in healthcare.

1.  Alarm hazards

2.  Medication administration errors using infusion pump

3.  Unnecessary radiation exposures and radiation burns during diagnostic radiology procedures

4.  Patient/data mismatches in EHRs and other health IT (HIT) systems

5.  Interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems

6. Air embolism hazards

7. Inattention to the needs of pediatric patients when using “adult” technologies

8. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopic devices and surgical instruments

9. Caregiver distractions from smartphones and other mobile devices

10. Surgical fires

You can download the original report by registering here.

Here are the lists of Top hazards for 2010. for 2011 and for 2012

Photo credit: @Jacobsons on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


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