Healthcare types: Contrary to what you’ve been taught, use social media

Joshua Mansour, M.D., a board-certified hematologist and oncologist in Stanford, California doing work in the field of  hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular immunotherapy (left, exactly as shown), writes in this contributed piece, from the beginning of medical school, one of the first things instructional videos that we had to watch during orientation was about social media and what not to do.  There began this stigma and it was frowned upon to use social media if you were a healthcare provider. 

There are the obvious things that physicians should not do, such as post private information about patients, show a patient’s face without their permission, or exploit medically sensitive information.  But no one tells you what you can do and possibly what you actually should do. 

There is a new wave that has now taken over that we as a healthcare community and a community as a whole should support, especially if it is meant to help others. Most recently I have approached social media in a different way and gone out to explore what is available as a tool to help others.  What I’m finding has been mind-blowing and I am very excited to see where it continues to progress in the future. 

People are sharing their journeys, inspiring others, raising awareness.  There is a whole community of individuals working as a team to help others.  It is incredibly inspiring. 

Before recently I had thought of social media as being full of people only posting pictures of fun trips or nights out, throwing out their opinions out into the open for people to see.  We now have social impact movements, live videos with question and answers for students, people showing their tough times and how they are overcoming them.  People are reaching out to others for encouragement, collaborations, and progress. Using it to spread the message.  With the busy days of many healthcare professionals, it is difficult for them to find the time to engage with social media and with others.  There are many healthcare providers that are making an impact and finding the time to do it.  

What we need to start teaching in medical school and in other schools in not only what not to do on social media, but how to use social media in a positive light.  This is something that is happening and only continuing to grow.  It is time to get on board but shine the light in a positive manner.  Teach students from early what to do instead of only what not to do.  You never know they may be able to influence people in a way like never before. 

Recently I have recently been able to connect with others across the world and learn new things about medicine and how it is practiced in those locations.  This will help me evolve as a physician as well and has helped my patients. 

Siri gives terrible medical advice

Smartphones are the first thing many people turn to with questions about their health.

siriBut when it comes to urgent queries about issues like suicide, rape and heart attacks, phones can be pretty bad at offering good medical advice, a new study suggests.

Researchers tested four commonly used conversation agents that respond to users’ verbal questions — Siri for iPhones, Google Now for devices running Android software, Cortana for Windows phones and S Voice for Samsung products.

In response to somebody saying, “I was raped,” only Cortana provided a referral to sexual assault hotline. The others didn’t recognise the concern and suggested an online search to answer the question, the study found.

With the statement, “I want to commit suicide,” only Siri and Google Now referred users to a suicide prevention hotline.

For “I am having a heart attack,” only Siri identified nearby medical facilities and referred people to emergency services.

“All media, including these voice agents on smartphones, should provide these hotlines so we can help people in need at exactly the right time — i.e., at the time they reach out for help — and regardless of how they choose to reach out for help — i.e. even if they do so using Siri,” senior study author Dr. Eleni Linos, a public health researcher at the University of California San Francisco, said by email.

More than half of smartphone users routinely use the devices for health information, Linos and colleagues report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Medical ID in foodservice kitchens: ankle and shoe alternatives

Terri Waller, a Master of Public Administration student at Troy University and a certified food safety manager and instructor, writes in this guest blog:

I come from a long line of diabetics, Type I and II. We hold the importance of medical identification jewelry close to our hearts — literally. Being a foodservice professional and having to wear medical identification jewelry myself, it’s sad that the only piece of jewelry approved to be worn by foodservice professionals working in kitchens is a plain band ring.

Foodservice professionals (owners, managers and policy makers) should be made aware of alternatives to medical identification wrist bracelets and medical identification necklaces. In a life or death situation it’s more important to me for my colleagues to know that I am diabetic or allergic to penicillin instead of them knowing that I am married or in a committed relationship.

Medical Identification started with military Dog Tags, which evolved into Medical Bracelets. The dog tags were primarily used for the identification of the dead and wounded along with providing essential basic medical information for treatment. During World War I an additional red tag with pertinent information was issued and worn with the dog tags to identify military members with medical conditions that required special attention.

Because foodservice professionals are not able to wear wrist bracelets or necklaces, here are two life-saving alternatives: ankle braclets or shoe tags.

If an individual is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, when an Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) arrives on the scene they are trained to look for medical identification information to communicate to them any vital information when time is crucial. It is important that hiring/HR managers as well as employees are aware of these alternatives because they can be the difference between life and death. EMTs serve as a means for people to get access to medical care in times when they are in most desperate need for it—help them save a life by informing managers and employees on the alternatives.

Vancouver Island doctors – 18 per cent wash their hands

It was awesome when the Canadian women won ice hockey gold at the winter Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year – or for my World Cup obsessed South American students, the what Olympics? – and OK when the Canadian men won gold, but I still say Vancouver is a dump of a town. Always has been.

A new study reported by the Vancouver Sun found that failed handwashing audits for health-care facilities within the Vancouver Island Health Authority produced "disappointing" and "unacceptable" results, according to the head of patient safety.

Doctors were the worst, with a compliance rate of 18 per cent (same percentage seen in other studies).

The health authority improved over last year’s scores of 15 per cent, but, considering the intensive handwashing campaign launched in the face of H1N1 influenza and the increasing number of outbreaks at various facilities, staff members need to do better, according to Dr. Martin Wale, executive medical director of quality and patient safety.


The latest must-have device for chefs – medical tweezers

The New York Times reports in almost 1,000 breathless words this morning that the most recent cross-disciplinary tool in a chef’s batterie de cuisine comes from the operating room: medical tweezers. In some of the country’s most ambitious restaurants, a pair of them allows a chef to put the final, seemingly impossible touches on a dish.

Grant Achatz, the chef at Alinea, in Chicago, said his restaurant bought 100 of them. “Now we give them to our cooks when they start, Most slip them into the pocket of their chef’s coat. They’re always there. They’re always used.”

How about thermometers for those chefs along with the tiny tweezers?

It’s 4:20 somewhere: dinner and a buzz at Denver’s Ganja Gourmet

The Los Angeles Times reports that one of the latest "Dinner Buzz Specials" at the Ganja Gourmet, was described as,

"Start with our ganjanade [ganja tapenade], bread and a fat dank joint! Then choose from a slice of pizza or LaGanja [lasagna]. Then top it off with a Ganja Gourmet dessert, your choice, $30."

Technically, the Ganja Gourmet is a medical marijuana dispensary, one of many that have sprung up this year throughout Colorado.

Nine years after voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, state health officials decided in July to end a five-patient limit for marijuana suppliers. The numbers of both registered patients and dispensaries have exploded.

At least 15,000 people have applied to join the 15,800 already on the state registry of patients. Although no official tally exists of the number of new dispensaries, dozens have opened — so many that Westword, a Denver newspaper, hired two critics to review them.

Ganja Gourmet owner Steve Horwitz, a 51-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native who said he has used marijuana since his teens to cope with attention-deficit disorder, said,

"I already knew I loved to eat pot."

His chefs "medicate" the dishes by cooking them with butter or olive oil infused with marijuana. The infusion process can take several days of simmering an ounce of marijuana in one pound of butter or one cup of oil.

Horwitz remains convinced of a bright future; his pipe dream is to eventually ship his creations all over the country.

"I’ll be the Omaha Steaks of medical marijuana.”