Priming Healthcare for Twitter

I led a web conference today in which I gave an overview of Twitter and its uses in health care. It seems that Healthcare and Pharma are starting to express an earnest interest in using Twitter to help patients and otherwise be of value to their stakeholders. Of course Twitter has received a ton of hype (none of which will stop anytime soon), but the micro-sharing platform it has introduced to the world certainly has inherent value. Nothing would please more than to see the the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical device and other life sciences make the best of this medium safely and effectively.

Here is Priming Healthcare for Twitter: An Introduction to Leading on Twitter:

What are your thoughts? How would you like to see Twitter and other services like Yammer used in health care? What do you want from your provider? How can the pharmaceutical and medical device industries better serve you via Twitter?

Power Dynamics & Virtual Health: Protecting Professional Boundaries in an Unbounded Web

Virtual Health – however that’s defined – has become a hot topic lately, especially in light of the rapidly evolving two-way real-time Web. Power dynamics – the interplays between patient and provider – must be protected in order to safeguard patient rights and protect their dignity, privacy and well-being. There’s more to virtualized practice than may be apparent on the surface.

Here are some thoughts, including an explanation of what I am (half-humorously) calling the “intimacy-boundary membrane”. [Link to video]

Power Dynamics & Virtual Health: Protecting Professional Boundaries in an Unbounded Web from Phil Baumann on Vimeo.

Patients are increasingly demanding online ways of interacting with their providers. As social media evolve, improve and proliferate, the ePatient movement will continue to expand and the healthcare industry will have to develop ways to meet the demand.

This movement, however, will have to ensure that it does not overlook the important behaviors all health care providers must express. It will also have to mature so that we aren’t left with a virtual health care landscape that is little more than a circus of amateurs. Experience matters more than content.

But social media is also rapidly shortening the spaces of intimacy and boundaries between people. This means that as health care professionals interactively enter the Web, the tension between intimacy and boundaries will increase.

We could say that there exists a safety zone between intimacy and professional boundary. These zones have traditionally been worked out for in-person clinical relationships. Online, however, we have a long way until we establish a collective understanding of how these technologies affect our virtual health care experience.

Since the space is shrinking to a thin wall, I’ve decided to call this problem the intimacy-boundary membrane. How do we go about protecting that membrane? Is this metaphor useful? You tell me.


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How Candles & Tacks Can Help Us Re-Think Economics, Healthcare & Everything Else

Daniel Pink recently gave a TED talk about the insights into motivation gleaned from new research into the  Candle Problem (read up on it before continuing). Functional Fixedness is a common problem with the way our brains are wired. The Candle Problem, and the novel research Daniel Pink discusses, demonstrates how the fundamental assumptions that we make underpin our ways of thinking. Often, they undermine our efforts to make a better word.

When thinking about how we accomplish our mutual goals, what assumptions are we making? How many books and theories and political lines of thought rest on assumptions that were never vetted via scientific challenges?

How many fields could this new understanding of our motivations serve better?

  • Could we work towards a better economic system?
  • Could our provision of health care be vastly improved?
  • Could Marketing become more human and effective?
  • Could organizations develop more creative environments for their employees?

Ideas are incredibly influential – for good or ill. How many of the ideas we have in our heads are misleading us in almost everything we do? Counter-intuition is a difficult but important skill to develop.

Whether it’s Health Care or Social Media or the growth of our Finance Sector or Economic Theory, don’t we owe it to ourselves to vigilantly seek out and question the basic assumptions we make?

How can you use these observations about the Candle Problem to improve (or radically upturn) what you do with your business or your life?

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