Friday Foolery #21 – Syphilis by Facebook

26 03 2010

The Daily Telegraph* had a shocking headline two days ago:

Facebook ‘linked to rise in syphilis’

Facebook has contributed to a resurgence in the sexually-transmitted disease syphilis, a health expert has claimed.

So the Internet is not only spreading viruses, but also bacteria? Facebook as a route of transmission of syphilis? These Facebook-users probably use Touch Screens, too.

All the commotion was based on two vague “findings”, one conclusion, and a personal observation:

  1. Syphilis cases have increased fourfold in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside
  2. These are the areas of Britain where Facebook* is most popular, well at least young people in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside are 25 per cent more likely to log onto social networking sites than those in the rest of Britain.
    (Hum, so not only Facebook?)
  3. Thus (?) Facebook is linked to rise in syphilis.
  4. Since Prof. Peter Kelly, director of pubic health in Teesside “saw that several of the people had met sexual partners “through” these sites”, he concludes that Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex.” (Note*: he didn’t say: Facebook, so this conflicts with 2 again) (emphasis mine)

Poor that the “research” may be, it was big news and started of a chain reaction. The Birmingham Mail, had added a local spin on the Syphilis story (login required) which according to the medical student of  The magic of medicine contained information of an outreach officer at Birmingham, Ms Hyland, who said that according to figures from the Heartlands Clinic a 2,000 per cent (!) increase in reports of syphilis had been logged in 2007 in Birmingham.” (!  and bold are mine)

But an email correspondence of this student with Ms Hyland pointed out that she wasn’t (a) a health care worker and (b) had nothing to do with the figures reported. “She was upset by it all, and said that “I never said I was an expert and the figures are nowhere near what have been published! Figures can be obtained from the Health Protection Agency, and the rise of syphilis is nowhere near that of say, herpes or warts.”

Drama. Comedy. Burlesque.

But where do the figures come from, then? At least “@unibirmingham, in contrast to NHS Tees and their DPH, r investigating & challenging the facebook/syphilis media dumbness attrib to them” according to Ben Goldacre at Twitter.

Indeed Goldacre is trying to gather more details from NHS Tees (NHS Hartlepool, NHS Middlesbrough, NHS Redcar and Cleveland and NHS Stockton-on-Tees), but according to his tweets “Nhs Tees are slowly giving me yearly figures on syphilis/STIs in their area, almost one at a time, and with inconsistent denominators” (and less then 2 hrs later)  “omg, NHS Tees are now actively refusing to give me these figures.”

Nick Harding found where the 2000% rise in the Birmingham-area came from: heartofengland.nhs.uk, but after reporting this, the information could no longer be accessed.

Below some of the figures Goldacre did obtain via Twitter (Blue= all syphilis; Red: primary/secondary infections, note Facebook is just 6 years old). And here is a beautiful UK sexual health atlas.

Well it was not my intention to report exhaustively on this incident, because whatever the precise figures that were fabricated, the conclusion is  bulshit not justified anyway, because the NHS-Tees and/or Prof. Peter Kelly mix up correlation with causation. Or as a facebook spokesman said: “The assertion that Facebook is responsible for the transmission of syphilis is ridiculous. Facebook is no more responsible for STD transmission than newspapers responsible for bad vision.”

Oh, and comments to the initial publications (i.e. in the Telegraph) were even whittier, like:

  • That must mean water is dangerous. You know 100% of people who drink it eventually die.
    Also, eating utensils can be linked to obesity. (ruddler)

  • Quick – where is Al Gore? I am sure he will find a way to somehow relate Facebook to Climate Change. (Conservative)

Webcomic from: http://xkcd.com/552/ hattip: @doctorblogs

*I read the news in the Telegraph, but it was reported in the Sun first. Juicy Detail: Rupert Murdoch owns the rival social networking site Myspace. This is one of the aspects discussed in this excellent, more serious  post by Dr. Petra Boynton here.

Note added (27/3 0:15): Ben Goldacre just wrote a post to be published in the Guardian that deals more in-depth with the subject.





#SillySaturday #17 – Social Media Stats per Second

13 02 2010
more about “Garys Social Media Count“, posted with vodpod

Some time ago I saw the above Real Time Social Media Stats Counter at Heidi Allen Online (see here), the blog of Heidi Allen. The live stats meter is actually from Gary Hayes at Personalize Media (see post: Garys Social Media Count).

You can find the embed code at Gary Hayes post. I used the above Vodpod video, because WordPress won’t allow flash.

Yesterday, I saw a similar stats counter (in Dutch) at the excellent Dutch Education Blog  Trendmatcher tussen ICT en Onderwijs (see here) of @trendmatcher (Willem Karrsenberg). Willem saw these real time stats presented in a powerpoint presentation by Toine Maes, director of  “Kennisnet” (~”Knowledge network”). Later he asked Toine how he managed to get these dynamic stats in his slide. Of course it is great to show such a slide in a class room, or at other occasions.

At his blog Willem explains what it takes to make a slide with real life counters yourself. You need the Cortona 3D viewer (download here), that can be embedded in a browser or in Powerpoint. And you need the definition file with the actual formulas.  He made an example of a presentation and has made all files public (download here).

For people (like me) who find this all too complicated he made a simple one minute Flickr-video (FF) you can use instead. I converted this again to a Vodpod video, which easily picks up the embed code (Add-on in FireFox) and can be directly imported into WordPress.

Willem  notes that he doesn’t know if the actual figures are correct. Bas Jonkers of Kennislink commented that the numbers are based on recent data, mostly from indirect sources. With the Cortona 3D viewer you can see the updated data here

Gary Hayes at Personalize Media shares his sources at his blog. The dates are less recent because his post dates from September 2009, but he will update the data from time to time.

For instance:

  • 20 hours of video uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog Aug 09)
  • Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per month, 700mill & 4 mill respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
  • Twitter 18 million new users per year & 4 million tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
  • 900 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
  • UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
  • Flickr has 73 million visitors a month who upload 700 million photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
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Health Tweeder. A Neat Visual Tool… But is it Useful?

9 02 2010

First seen on ScienceRoll (February 1st) and later throughout the Twitterverse & Blogosphere: Health Tweeder (http://www.pixelsandpills.com/tweeder/), a tool launched by Pixels and Pills.

Health Tweeder is a  neat visual tool meant to aggregate tweets (Twitter messages) on specific health areas.

The Landing page consist of petri dishes, each corresponding to a specific medical discipline or disease. The size of the petri dish, and the number of cells in it, reflect the number of captured tweets. The health categories are also shown at the left, ranked by number of tweets. For instance, the second-largest category Pediatrics (in Orange) corresponds to the orange petri-dish of 170 tweets (accessed February 9th).

In Pixels and Pills own words:

The underlying idea was to build a visual tool so that people could review the dialog in specific areas in an interesting way. Using petri dishes to culture cells of dialog, each cell in a petri dish represents a distinct tweet that has been gathered using a range of search terms, hashtags, and people we’ve identified to follow. The cells grow and shrink based on the volume of content at any one time. In totality, they provide a dynamic view of the healthcare dialog on Twitter.

If you click on the orange petri-dish you see individual “cells” or Tweets. Moving the mouse over a particular cell [1] will show the corresponding tweet at the right. You can also search by page [2].

Health Tweeder looks pretty kewl. I love visual tools. They have a user-friendly, intuitive interface and it is fun to play with.  The concept of Health Tweeder -“cells of dialog cultured in petri dishes”- is also original. Perhaps it would have even be more consistent with the petri-dishes concept if each spot didn’t represent a tweet (cell) but a twitter person (cell clone or colony). But then, few clones would be present: the number of sources is very limited. There are only a few per health category. It looks as if the search criteria consist of very specific hashtags used by a very select group of people.

In the Pediatrics petri-dish there were mainly tweets seeded of Autism_Today, TannersDad, PeterBrownPsy, ADHD_News and MDLinx. The tweets didn’t seem extraordinary useful to me. The emphasis is on topics related to autism and ADHD, and incidentally on allergy or H1N1. Pediatrics must cover more than this?!

The same is true for other topics. Furthermore I can’t see any dialogs, as the makers of Health Tweeder suggest. Just one-way-tweets.

That made me wonder as to the real value of this tool.

For me, as a reasonable experienced Twitter user, searches for hashtags (sort of keywords), Twitter directories and Twitter Lists seem much more useful.

Possibly, this tool is suitable for less experienced Twitter users who prefer a narrow choice of Tweets on his/her area of interest. Still it seems rather cumbersome to follow tweets this way. Suppose I want to stay up-to-date on a particular topic. How do I know which tweets are new and which aren’t (if I merely use the petri-dish)?

The petri-dish is nice for stumbling upon, not for quick browsing, and certainly not for keeping up-to-date.

I searched on the Internet for other reviews of this tool, and without exception they were very positive.

Only at Andrew Spong’s blog STewM I found a comment of Sally Chuch, expressing a similar contrarian view. She was rather disappointed after checking out ‘cancer’ (her expertise).

What criteria is the tool using to search on? Are only certain Twitter handles defined as ‘kosher’ and used to select from their tweets?

In ‘cancer’ it includes mainly a couple of news outlets and one of two physicians, for example. There’s a lot more out there! (…)

Also, searching on ‘cancer’ will give you mainly solid tumours and not hematologic malignancies such as leukemias, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndrome etc,

Andrew answered that he was more looking at the tool from the perspective of ‘what it could be’, not from the perspective of ‘what it actually is’. Andrew:

As we all head into the cloud and anticipate a time when much of the data we actually end up reviewing will be filtered according to our evolving preferences, it’s nice to begin to conceptualize a time when visualization tools will be added into the search mix.

So we will wait and see how this tool evolves…

The looks are great, the idea is original, but Love needs a little bit more.

video made by Andrew Spong
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De Ivoren Toren van Thomése

28 10 2009

By way of exception I write a Dutch blog post to respond to an article in a Dutch Newspaper ridiculing speakers, writers, chatting and twittering people in a long-winded (3 pages) pompous, “literary” way, saying that they are terrorizing dictators. Although the writer, Thomése, might be right in some respects (all people  want to express their opinion, want to be heard, but nobody listens), his critique just hits the topic superficially. By doing so, the article adds to the already existing misunderstandings regarding social media. I finish my review by expressing the wish that Thomése mastered the art of Tweeting: be social, clear and comprehensive in 140 characters.

AMSTERDAM

Image by PjotrP via Flickr

nl vlag NL flagBij uitzondering een Nederlands stukje op dit blog. Ik schrijf meestal alleen over medische-wetenschappelijke zaken -in het Engels-, maar in dit geval kon ik het niet laten. Ik kreeg namelijk een aanval van acute, persisterende jeuk toen ik het stuk van Thomése in Het NRC Handelsblad van afgelopen weekend las. Een blog bericht van Jeroen Mirck (“P.F. Thomése is een kleine dictator”) kon mijn jeuk slechts enigzins verlichten.

Het stuk van Thomése in de Opinie & Debat bijlage, heeft als kop: Sprekers, schrijvers, bellers, sms’ers, chatteraars, twitteraars: allemaal kleine dictators. Eerst vallen je ogen op chatteraars en twitteraars (oh het is weer zo’n trendy anti-Twitter story op zijn Volkskrants [1]), maar dan zie je ‘sprekers, schrijvers en bellers’ staan en je vraagt je af: “wie blijft er over”?

Het vervelende van dit stuk is dat het dermate ‘literair’ (en quasi-intelligent [1]) is dat je eerst twee-en-een-halve krantenpagina door proza heen moet worstelen voordat er uberhaupt iets over deze groep “Sprekers, schrijvers, bellers, sms’ers, chatteraars, twitteraars” gezegd wordt.

Thomése wijdt ettelijke kolommen aan de introductie, een klassiek verhaal van Sartre (Erostrate uit le Mur), wat kennelijk nodig is om later zijn “kritiek in beeldspraak” te vervatten. Dit -op zich prachtige verhaal [2]- komt erop neer dat de hoofdpersoon, Paul Hilbert, gewoon is van bovenaf (de zesde etage) “neer te kijken” op mensen als waren het mieren. Hierdoor abstraheert hij mensen, ze ontmenselijken. In gedachten doodt hij willekeurige mensen -ja iedereen zou wel eens bepaalde mensen neer willen knallen, inclusief Thomése-. Wanneer Hilbert dit daadwerkelijk doet daalt hij (ook letterlijk) af naar een lager niveau en verliest hij daarbij zijn uitzonderingpositie. Hij wordt mier onder de mieren en wordt vanwege zijn daad opgejaagd tot aan het nederige toilet.

Thomése ziet in elke hedendaagse multimediale burger een Paul Hilbert, die met een killersblik op zijn eigen zesde verdieping “de gebeurtenissen op de voet volgt, zappend en surfend, alles en iedereen verwijderend uit zijn bewustzijn.”

“Er zijn te veel sprekers, te veel schrijvers, te veel bellers, sms’ers, chatters, twitteraars, allemaal kleine dictators, en allemaal willen ze laten weten – wat eigenlijk? Dat ze bestaan, om te beginnen. Hallo met mij even en dan komt het. Te veel mensen laten ongevraagd weten wat ze doen, wat ze willen en zullen (….) Maar waar zijn de lezers, de kijkers, de luisteraars? Wie moet dat allemaal aanhoren, aanschouwen, ondergaan? Zonder luisteraars kan er ook geen onderscheid meer worden gemaakt, is alles even belangrijk geworden. Er is niemand die nog tegenspreekt.”

De voorbeelden die Thomése geeft lijken vooral quotes uit discussielijsten of tweets. Het is een lukrake verzameling van uitspraken als:

“Ik mag hem wel die Scheringa”.
“Ik vind het een glibber”
Einde discussie.

Nietzeggend, inderdaad. Maar om dit nou een terroristisch-dictatoriale uitspraak te noemen die -in het openbaar gangbaar is geworden… pfff.

Een mening over iets hebben en in het openbaar ventileren is iets van alle tijden. De kruidenier van weleer ventileerde ook ongevraagd zijn mening over de heren politici, de economie of anders wel het weer. En iedere klant had ook weer zijn mening. Dat veel mensen niet de kunst verstaan te luisteren is ook niet uniek voor deze tijd.

Aan de andere kant zijn tijden zijn inderdaad veranderd: het is jachtiger, vluchtiger, consumptiever en platter geworden. Maar dat komt niet persé dóór het gebruik van multimedia.

De vergelijking van het multimediale plebs met de terroristische dictator die van 6 hoog alles oplegt loopt eigenlijk mank. Dictator ben je alleen als je mensen tot luisteren kunt dwingen en als anderen daar dus niet aan kunnen ontkomen. Luidruchtige mobiele gesprekken in de tram en stalkende schrijvers zijn uitzonderingen die deze regel bevestigen. Al zijn bellen en praten toch tamelijk pre-21ste eeuw.

Reacties op krantenartikelen, berichten, lijsten en blogs zijn wellicht vaak ontzettend eenzijdig en van een hoog wat-ben-ik-toch-origineel-en-leuk gehalte, maar het mooie is dat je het niet hoeft te lezen. Als multimediale burger (zender en ontvanger) ben je geheel vrij hierin.

En dat geldt zeker voor een nieuwe tool als Twitter. Zoals ik in een recente workshop aangaf: “Twitter is wat je er zelf van maakt.”

Doorzoek je Twitter real life op “Scheringa” of “H1N1″ dan zie je een woud aan allemaal losstaande meningen en uitspraken, meestal erg flauw of gewoon onzin. Ik doorzoek Twitter vrijwel nooit op te algemene termen en zeker niet op “trending topics”.

Veel mensen komen, net als Thomese niet verder dan deze verrekijker-visie op Twitter. Sommigen dalen even af, twitteren wat en zijn dan enorm teleurgesteld: niemand reageert. Wat ze niet begrijpen is dat Twitter een SOCIAAL MEDIUM is. Je moet een netwerk opbouwen van twitteraars die jij  interessant vindt en je moet zelf ook interessant genoeg zijn voor anderen om je te volgen. Althans als je zelf ook gehoord wilt worden.

Twitter kent nauwelijks hierarchie, er zijn geen dictators, dat werkt niet. Om beurten is iedereen schrijver en iedereen publiek, maar zo dat er een wisselwerking is. Ideaal gesproken, niet iedereen verstaat die kunst. [3]

Degene die ik volg zijn mijn menselijk filter voor ruis. Twittert iemand van de mensen die ik volg over ‘Scheringa’ of ‘H1N1′, dan is dat in de meeste gevallen waar, interessant of grappig.

Ik ontken niet dat er niet-luisterende leuteraars zijn. De kunst is om mensen te vinden die je wel boeien. Op dezelfde wijze als dat je vrienden maakt: het moet klikken. Het is allemaal eigen keus, zeker in de nieuwe (sociale) media.

Wat ik mis in Thomése’s stuk is de nuance, het is typisch de blik van iemand op de Eiffeltoren die naar beneden kijkt en enkel mieren ontwaart. Van bovenaf lijkt dat een hopeloos gewirwar en is iedereen eender.

In zijn stuk haalt Thomése Herostratus aan, de provocateur uit de klassieke oudheid die dacht: “ik kan misschien geen tempel bouwen, maar ik kan er wel een in brand steken”. Ik kan niet nalaten een vergelijking te trekken met Thomése, die wel in een ivoren toren woont en uitkijkt over de massa, die sociale media als Twitter niet doorgondt noch beheerst, maar het wel weet af te branden. Helaas verstaat hij niet de kunst dat op zijn Twitters te doen. In 140 leestekens….

  1. Bron: http://www.jeroenmirck.nl/2009/10/pf-thomese-is-een-kleine-dictator/
  2. Begin jaren 70 behoorden Simone de Beauvoir en Sartre tot mijn favoriete schrijvers.
  3. Het is voor mij mogelijk wel wat makkelijker omdat mijn aanwezigheid op Twitter vooral werkgerelateerd is.
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MEDLIB’s ROUND 1.6

27 09 2009

shht-librarian-costume1Welcome to the sixth edition of MedLib’s Round, a blog carnival of “excellent blog posts in the field of medical librarianship”.

First I have to apologize for the postponement in publication. There were so few submissions (5, including one on this blog), that I needed more time to find some material myself. Time that I didn’t have at that moment.

After a flying start with many volunteering hosts and submissions the enthusiasm for the Medlib’s Round seems to have faded somewhat. There are far less submissions. Luckily there is a core of  enthusiastic people regularly submitting to the Medlib’s Round and I’m very grateful for that. However, there are many more bloggers out there, who also write very useful MedLib stuff. Why aren’t they contributing? Are they not aware of the round, do they lack time, don’t they like blog carnivals? Should the rounds be better promoted or differently organized? I know that postponement does the round no good, but it is a bit the chicken-and-egg problem. Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

But lets start…..

Social Media

A previous host and regular contributor to the round, Nikki Dettmar (@eagledagw) of the Eagle Dawg Blog makes a good point in  “Social Media & Emergency Preparedness: Can Your Family Text?”: “Does your family know to text when there is an emergency? Traditional phone lines may be down and traditional methods of communication may not be working.” Learn about an upcoming drill conducted by a national safety foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the next few months to use texting and social media channels for emergency communication. And don’t forget to instruct your mother. By the way, the use of Twitter is included in the advise.

Another regular contributor to the Medlib’s round is Ves Dimov (@DrVes). Dr. Dimov is an Allergy and Immunology Fellow at Creighton University and the author of the Clinical Cases and Images – Blog. Blogging for several years and with more than 7000 RSS readers we can trust him for some good advice on blogging In What makes a blogger go on in a field where so many others stop, fail and disappear?” Dr Ves shortly gives 4 reasons and several tips from his own experience.

Google Health

Alisha

Speaking about blogging, it is only a half year ago that Alisha Miles (@alisha764) started with her blog Alisha 764 saying: “I am no longer a mushroom, I am now a tree.” Which refers to @sandnsurf‘s post: Is Twitter the essential blogging nutrient and his comment on my blog: “the most important thing is that you are actually a tree in this ecosystem, you are out there experimenting, thinking and trying to drive the revolution further…Most of my colleagues are still mushrooms….
Alisha, who is a contributor to this round from the start, has definitely developed into a full blossoming tree, a top librarian blogger and tweeter,  She is featured, for instance, in Novoseek’s top 10 medical librarian list (as all current librarian submitters with a public blog).
Her submitted post is a classical post already. It is quite long (hear, hear who is saying) but offers good information. In “Google Health® Information: Surprising Facts” she describes the pros and cons of Google Health®, concluding:

“It is a good product; however, it should be used with caution. Remember Google Health® is not bound by HIPPA, resources should always be double or triple checked, the Google® Health Drug Interaction program is missing some key interactions, and the Google Health® Topics are missing the reference section, reviewer information, and date stamp.

Again, I applaud Google® for its efforts and for including links to MedlinePlus® as a trusted resource. As with any information source, even MedlinePlus®, all information should be checked against at least 1 other source.”

With regard to MedlinePlus and Google, Rachel Walden wrote a post: “Where is MedlinePlus in Google Drug Search Results?” where she notices that Google searches for drug information no longer seem to return results from MedlinePlus and FDA pages.

PubMed, MeSH and the like

Rachel

Rachel Walden (@rachel_w on Twitter) is the woman behind the successful blog Women’s Health News and writer for Our bodies ourselves. She not only knows a lot about women’s health and medical information, but she is always ready to reach a helping hand or join a discussion on Twitter, which is actually a quality of all MEDLIB round contributors.  In “Improving the Findability of Evidence & Literature on DoulasRachel describes  the lack of a specific MeSH for “Doula” in PubMed. A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. MeSH (or Medical Subject Headings) are controlled terms in MEDLINE, or as explained by Rachel:

MeSH are “right” terms to use to conduct a literature search in PubMed, it can really help to start with the MeSH term database, because you know those are the official subject terms being assigned to the articles. MeSH is a hierarchy, and it can help you focus a search, or expand it when needed, by moving up and down the list of subject words. It’s a nice tool to have, when it works.

As highlighted by Rachel, this gap in the MeSH makes searching less efficient and less precise: for instance, nursing and midwivery are too broad terms. But instead of whining, Rachel decided to do something about it. Via this form she send the National Library of Medicine a request to add the “doula” concept to the MeSH terms. I would recommend others to do the same when terms they search for are not (appropriately) covered by the MESH.

Librarian Mark Rabnett agrees hartfully with Rachel as he has encountered exactly the problems and yes, “there is no question that this is a satisfactorily distinct and widely accepted term, and its entry into the MeSH pantheon is long overdue.”
On his blog Gossypobima Mark had earlier posted the “Top 5 results to improve PubMedfrom the brainstorming suggestions during the Canadian Health Libraries Association conference. These include “Adding adjacency and real string searching” (YES!) and “Improval of the MeSH database”. His group found “The MeSH database stiff and laboured , and the visual display of the thesaurus and subheadings not intuitive, the ‘Add To’ feature for inserting MeSH terms to a search box kludgy, and the searching for MeSH headings difficult and unpredictable. [..] So he concludes with: “We need a MeSH mashup.”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful indeed? Rather than the current “enhancements”, why not introduce some web 2.0 tools in PubMed? As Patricia Anderson tweeted a long time ago:

“It would be so cool to do a # search, then display word cloud of top major MESH terms in results.”

Yes I would like a visual MeSH, but even better, one that would show up in the sidebar and that you would be able to “walk up and down (and sideways) and with “drag and drop to your search possibilities”. That would be cool. My imagination runs away with me when I think of it.

Grey Literature

cappadocia1_bigger shamshaNot having a public blog @shamsha has contributed to this round by writing a guest post on this blog. This interesting post is about grey literature: what is grey literature, why do you need it and why not have guidelines for searching grey literature? She gives many tips and a wealth of references, including links to her own delicious page and a wonderful resource from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

**********************************************************************************

This concludes the official part of this MEDLIB’s September round.

The next round is hosted by Alisha Miles on her blog Alisha 764.
Officially the deadline is next Saturday
. (But it may be postponed a little. If so I will post the new deadline here)
Anyway, Alisha is looking forward to your posts. So send them in as soon as possible HERE at the Blog Carnival form.
(registration required; see the medlibs-archive for more information.
)

And some good news about the round: We already have hosts for November and December, namely Walter Jessen of Highlight Health and Valentin Vivier of at the Novoseek Blog.

Would you like to host the Medlibs round in 2010? It is never to early! Please dm me at twitter, comment on this post or write an email to laika.spoetnik@gmail.com.

**********************************************************************************

Bonus

Here are some other posts I also found worth while to read.
(I didn’t include too recent ones, so they can be included in the next round)

Dr Mike Cadogan (@Sandnsurf) writes  frequently about medical information on his blog Life in the fast Lane (his blog has moved to http://lifeinthefastlane.com, so check out old links that you may have). One of the co-authors of the blog,  Chris Nickson (precordialthump) gives emergency physicians advise how to deal withinformation-overload”. Needless to say the tips are useful to all people dealing with medical information-overload.

Dr Shock also writes a lot about medical information and web 2.0 tools. Here a video he posted about iPhone and iPod Touch as a Medical Tool.

Another good source for info about i-phones, palms can be found on http://palmdoc.net/. Medical librarians frequently writing about this subject include the Krafty Librarian and David Rothman.

I don’t have a palm or sophisticated phone, nor does our library supports its use, so I choose some other posts from these excellent bloggers.

From the KraftyLibrarian Michelle: Rapid Research about Rapid Research Notes , a new resource developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to quickly disseminate the research results to the public in an open access archive. Michelle wonders why only PLOS-articles are included and not other quality information from for instance EBSCO and Cochrane.

From palmdoc : Evernote as your peripheral brain (Evernote is a note taking application)

Rapid Research Notes is also covered by Alison of Dragonfly, a previous host of the round. She also mentions the fact that Medlineplus is now on Twitter.

David Rothman ‘s paternity leave seems over since he posts several interesting posts per week on his blog Davidrothman.net. Typically he shortly refers to a new tool or a post he encountered, like:

Dean Giustini of the The Search Principle blog published part one of a Top Fifty Twitter Users List in Medicine and has written a post on Using Twitter to manage information.

Patricia Anderson of Emerging Technologies Librarian is been very active lately with posts on social media, like “Conversation and Context in Social Media (Cautionary Tales)“, with four scenarios, including the Clinical Reader fiasco. And as always she has a lot of tips on web 2.0 tools. There is for instance a post on Listening Tools to track what your community is saying about you or to you and about Social Media Metrics

Another techy librarian working at the National University of Singapore is Aaron Tay. Aaron Tay (@aarontay) is not working in the field of medicine, but his web 2.0 tips are useful for anyone, and his blog Musings about Librarianship is certainly a must for libraries that want to use web  2.0 tools to the benefit of their users. Personally, I found the tips onViewing research alerts – full text within Google reader very useful.

Phil Bradley highlights Google Fast Flip and Bing’s Visual Search.

Alan from The health Informaticist discusses in “NHS Evidence boo vs guidelinesfinder hurrah” that a simple search for backpain in NHS Evidence yielded 1320 hits (!) of which only a handful are useful guidelines, whereas the good old Guidelines Finder (now a ’specialist collection’), yields 47 mostly useful and relevant hits. He ends this discussion with a  request to NICE: please keep the specialist collections. And I agree.

On EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC this month an overview of current news, advisories and practical information about Pandemic Flu (H1N1) .

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his imagination had run away
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Hospitals on Twitter: Mayo Clinic and #Tweetcamp2

24 04 2009

twitterTwitter is only for people telling what they’re doing right now, like “what they eat for breakfast”. Right?
Twitter is a kind of web based Short Message Service, which is largely for ego-trippers sharing the -largely uninteresting- private parts of their life, isn’t it?
YouTube is mostly for teens and twenties enjoying music videos. And similarly Facebook and (in Holland Hyves) are just a hype. O.k.?
And blogging, ha, blogging…. Doctors shouldn’t blog, because of privacy issues and because it is a  waste of time. Doctors don’t even have time for it, nor should they have… Yes?!

Social media are useless and perhaps even “dangerous” (distracting staff, viruses, wrong info, privacy concerns) and hospitals should keep them behind their firewalls!!

Right?

Wrong!

Wrong. At least that is what many US hospitals are thinking. More and more they are embracing social media. Why? To connect, to interact, to disseminate new research, to share in-depth medical information and to gather communities of employees, patients and their families.

Examples: see this blogpost on hospitals and social media by Tony Chen.

And it seems that patients are influenced by it.

For instance, a recent announcement on marketingcharts, states that:

Social media has some type of influence on nearly 40% of recent hospital or urgent-care center patients, with more than half of 25-to-34 year olds reporting they are influenced by it. (hattip: @bart)

Of the US Hospitals Mayo Clinic gives a good example of how new social media technologies can be implemented. They use many different web 2.0 tools, like YouTube videos, Slideshare, Facebook. On Sharing Mayo Clinic. A blog with stories from families, friends, patients and Mayo Clinic Staff” they sum up 10 ways you can use Mayo clinics social media tools.

One tool they use is Twitter (@mayoclinic). First they protected their updates on Twitter, didn’t follow their followers back. Twitter was mainly used for “branding”, but later they realized that this didn’t work and that “they needed more than an audience”. By interacting with their followers they got more response. They also reached more people, because interesting tweets were retweeted by their followers. So even people that don’t follow @mayoclinic (but are followers of its followers) are alerted to the news. It is also an important virtual mouth-to-mouth-tool for new patients.

More than Facebook, Twitter enables you “to connect with people you don’t know but share the same interest with. It is for the friends you don’t know yet”

Mayo Clinic actively supports its staff and its patients to use the social media tools.

Last night Mayo Clinic organized a Tweetcamp (Tweetcamp II) for medical use on Twitter. According the announcement on their blog their aim was:

(…) to provide training for Mayo Clinic staff — and for others outside Mayo via Web cast, in how to use Twitter productively in health care. The course also will explore innovative applications for Twitter in health care, including upcoming examples such as Dr. Victor Montori’s April 27 Twitter discussion of his recent research paper on diabetes treatment, and Mayo Clinic’s National Symposium on Medical and Health Care Education Reform.

People from outside Mayo Clinic will be able to participated via the Web cast and Twitter, by following the #tweetcamp2 hashtag.

(#tweetcamp2 can still be followed to see what people following the webcast were  -and are- tweeting about #tweetcamp 2)

Other Tips on how doctors (should) use Twitter can for instance be found on this blogpost of Michael Lara MD.
Phil Baumann even made a list of 140 Health Care Uses for Twitter.

Below are the powerpoint presentation and one of the video’s they shared. It is really an useful beginners guide for everyone.

Want to know what has been said: see the first live video of the event:

More #Tweetcamp2 video’s can be found here.

All Mayoclinic You Tube videos can be found here

One question on Twitter was if one could see the Mayo Clinic guidelines of Twitter usage. They are for instance on the Blog of Ed Bennett (see this link).

And while you are visiting Ed Bennett’s blog you might as well go to his “Hospital Social Network List” which shows the U.S. Hospitals that use Social Networking tools. In summary:

  • 240 Hospitals total
  • 129 YouTube Channels
  • 88 Facebook pages
  • 155 Twitter Accounts
  • 23 Blogs

But what about the rest of the world. Europe for instance?

A list is in the making. Lucien Engelen of Zorg 2.0 took the initiative to make a similar list for Europe (see Dutch post here), starting with the Netherlands. For this he created the site: hospitalseu.

The first preliminary list of Dutch hospitals officially using social media has now been compiled by Lucien et al. It should be stressed that the list is based on what is known, but needs to be confirmed  the hospitals (a mailing is being send). See blogpost on Zorg 2.0 (Dutch) and this pdf with preliminary data.

There is reason to believe that the results will not be essentially different.

Indeed, I don’t know of any initiatives of our hospital to use social media (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam)

Thus looking at the enormous differences between the USA and the Netherlands one wonders:

Europe (the Netherlands) isn’t it about time that you join?
At least get acquainted with Social Media and Web 2.o!
Look what others are doing and see what is in it for you, your staff ànd your patients!
You may not (want to) do it, but your patient will do it anyway.

stats-graph-eu-en-vs001

Preliminary data From: http://hospitalseu.wordpress.com/ (Hyves is the Dutch Facebook)

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By the way, 5 days ago I personally experienced that Mayo Clinic is really interactive. I followed one of their links in their tweets to find that I could not access the news item they referred to, because it was password protected. I tweeted about it -just in general-. Mayoclinic immediately picked this message up (because they have a search for “mayoclinic” on Twitter). But more importantly they immediately responded in a pleasant way ànd immediately took care of it. This illustrates that they are not only “interactive” in words but also in deeds: they really “listen” and “respond” to their Twitter followers. Many individuals on Twitter don’t even bother.

(read the tweets from down up)

mayoclinic-laikas








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