Friday, June 12, 2009

Yesterday's Tweets

A complete list of yesterday's tweets. Thanks for following. If you would like to follow, go to

  • UN Launches a pilot study using texts to fight AIDS (courtesy @Juan_Negro):
  • FUNNY! Weed, Booze, Heroin, Cocaine and Other "Old School" Medicine Ads (courtesy @InVivoBlogChris):
  • RT @pharmaguy: @skypen some "new" ads ( look similar 2 some "old-timey" ones (
buzz this

UN to use phones in Aids fight

The United Nations has started a health promotion initiative that will reach out to Ugandans via mobile phones.

The 10-day initiative will be piloted in Jinja where 10,000 people will be used as a sample to demonstrate the potential use of mobile phones in health promotion, according to Ms Olivia Nyakarungi, an official of the UN Communication Group. The initiative, Texting4Health, will see the targeted people participate in a short health quiz using text messages.

“These messages are free to the consumer and are designed to serve as a public health information campaign,” Ms Nyakarungi said in a statement. In Uganda, more than one million people are suspected to be infected with the virus that causes HIV/Aids.

The results of the Texting4Health demonstration will be shared with ministers from UN member states at the Annual Ministerial Review session of the UN Economic and Social Council in Geneva in July.

Ms Nyakarungi’s statement said Text to Change, a Dutch non-profit organisation, will provide its mobile telephony platform.
buzz this

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yesterday's Tweets

A complete list of yesterday's tweets. Thanks for following. If you would like to follow, go to

  • RT @bzipkin: Google Wave's potential for healthcare communications -
  • WHO: Swine flu pandemic has begun, 1st in 41 years:
  • Am grateful for the 1st time I am in Chicago, not Dallas -- as all flights to Dallas canceled. Mayhem at O'Hare.
  • NEW Pew Internet Report: "The Social Life of Health Information", Findings summary and link to PDF here:
  • SERIOUSLY BAD LUCK. Talk about fate... "Missed Air France Flight, Only to Die in Car Crash":
  • New York Times "Medicine in the Age of Twitter" (via @mashable):
  • RT @mashable: BREAKING: Twitter Launches Verified Accounts -
  • New YouTube feature with big implications for Tweeps:
buzz this

PEW INTERNET: The Social Life of Health Information

source: Pew Internet

Summary of Findings

Click here to download complete report PDF

61% of American adults look online for health information.

In 2000, 46% of American adults had access to the internet, 5% of U.S. households had broadband connections, and 25% of American adults looked online for health information. Now, 74% of American adults go online, 57% of American households have broadband connections, and 61% of adults look online for health information. We use the term "e-patient" to describe this group.

Further, "always present" mobile access draws people into conversations about health as much as online tools enable research.

American adults continue to turn to traditional sources of health information, even as many of them deepen their engagement with the online world.

When asked, "Now thinking about all the sources you turn to when you need information or assistance in dealing with health or medical issues, please tell me if you use any of the following sources..."

  • 86% of all adults ask a health professional, such as a doctor.
  • 68% of all adults ask a friend or family member.
  • 57% of all adults use the internet.
  • 54% use books or other printed reference material.
  • 33% contact their insurance provider.
  • 5% use another source not mentioned in the list.
The social life of health information is robust.

Half of all online health inquiries (52%) are on behalf of someone other than the person typing in the search terms. And two-thirds of e-patients talk with someone else about what they find online, most often a friend or spouse. The survey question did not specify whether these conversations take place face to face, over the phone, or online, but it is clear that the pursuit of health information does not happen in a social vacuum.

A majority of e-patients access user-generated health information.

Health consumers are often looking for tailored information, searching for a “just-in-time someone-like-me.” For example:
  • 41% of e-patients have read someone else's commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog.
  • 24% of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews online of doctors or other providers.
  • 24% of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews online of hospitals or other medical facilities.
  • 19% of e-patients have signed up to receive updates about health or medical issues.
  • 13% of e-patients have listened to a podcast about health or medical issues.
But few are actively writing or creating new health content:
  • 6% of e-patients have tagged or categorized online content about health or medical issues.
  • 6% of e-patients report that they have posted comments, queries, or information about health or medical matters in an online discussion, listserv, or other online group forum.
  • 5% of e-patients say they have posted comments about health on a blog.
  • 5% of e-patients have posted a review online of a doctor.
  • 4% of e-patients have posted a review online of a hospital.
  • 4% have shared photos, videos or audio files online about health or medical issues.
  • In sum, 37% of adults, or 60% of e-patients, have done at least one of the above activities.

Social networking sites are used only sparingly for health queries and updates.

Despite the increasing popularity of social network sites and status update services, few people are using them to gather and share health information.
  • 39% of e-patients use a social networking site like MySpace and Facebook and, of those, only a small portion have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates, posted their own health-related comments, gotten any health information, or joined a health-related group.
  • 12% of e-patients use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others, and of those, few have posted comments, queries, or information about health or medical matters.

Online health inquiries have an impact on decisions or actions and there are clearly more positive experiences than negative ones.

Among the six in ten e-patients who say their most recent search had an impact, mostly minor, on their own health or the way they care for someone else:
  • 60% say the information found online affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition.
  • 56% say it changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone they help take care of.
  • 53% say it lead them to ask a doctor new questions, or to get a second opinion from another doctor.
  • 49% say it changed the way they think about diet, exercise, or stress management.
  • 38% say it affected a decision about whether to see a doctor.
  • 38% say it changed the way they cope with a chronic condition or manage pain.
Fully 42% of all adults, or 60% of e-patients, say they or someone they know has been helped by following medical advice or health information found on the internet. This represents a significant increase since 2006 when 25% of all adults, or 31% of e-patients, said that.(1)

Just 3% of all adults, or 3% of e-patients, say they or someone they know has been harmed by following medical advice or health information found on the internet, a finding that has remained stable since 2006.

Internet users report a surge of interest in information about exercise and fitness.

The percentage of American adults getting exercise and fitness information online has jumped from 21% in 2002 to 38% now – an 88% growth, a more rapid increase than any other health topic covered in the survey.

In addition to fitness, six other health topics have been included in our surveys since 2002, all of which have gained audience share, including information about:
  • A specific disease or medical problem (49% of adults, up from 36%)
  • A medical treatment or procedure (41% of adults, up from 27%)
  • Prescription or over-the-counter drugs (33% of adults, up from 19%)
  • Alternative treatments or medicines (26% of adults, up from 16%)
  • Depression, anxiety, stress or mental health issues (21% of adults, up from 12%)
  • Experimental treatments or medicines (15% of adults, up from 10%)
Five specific health topics were added to the list, including information about:
  • Doctors or other health professionals (35% of adults)
  • Hospitals or other medical facilities (28% of adults)
  • Health insurance, including private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid (27% of adults)
  • How to lose weight or how to control your weight (24% of adults)
  • How to stay healthy on a trip overseas (9% of adults)
Change is coming, whether through the spread of wireless devices or generational shifts.

Wireless connections are associated with deeper engagement in social media and an accelerated pace of information exchange. Indeed, those with mobile access to the internet are more likely than those who have tethered access to contribute their comments and reviews to the online conversation about health and health care. And mobile access is on the rise.

Second, adults between the ages of 18 to 49 are more likely than older adults to participate in social technologies related to health. As younger adults face more health care questions and challenges, they may turn to the tools they have sharpened in other contexts of their lives to gather and share health advice.

But in the end, experts remain vital to the health-search and decision-making process. Americans’ longstanding practices of asking a health professional, a trusted friend, or a wise family member persist as patients pursue good health. These are practices which, in the words of John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid "will not budge" and therefore require designers of any new health care application "to look not ahead, but to look around" in order to see the way forward.2
buzz this

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 adds Pharmaceutical Company Reviews

Source: epharm5

Consumer watchdog site adds pharma section  A "big pharma" section has been added to the Web site, which rates companies based on environmental, human rights, labor, ethics and governance, and health and safety issues. Although none of the companies' ratings were very good--highest-ranked Novartis scored a grade of C in the environmental category--the site highlights a few positive actions from companies as well as criticisms. However, much of what the site has to say about big pharma is negative, listing more criticisms than praise.

Read more about the rankings:

buzz this

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Yesterday's Tweets

A complete list of yesterday's tweets. Thanks for following. If you would like to follow, go to

  • WOMMA Webinar 6/10/09: "Applying Current FDA Guidelines to Social Media Marketing":
  • "How 5 Different People See WebMD" -- funny stuff!
  • WHO on the verge of declaring first pandemic in 40 years. Is the world prepared to react? #swineflu
  • RT @almitra: FINALLY! RT @mashable Facebook to Launch Vanity URLs -
  • 10 Twitter Tools to Organize Your Tweeps (@mashable):
  • After 2.5 hrs sitting on runway in Newark (starting with technical issues) now all west-bound planes grounded due to severe weather. ARGH.
buzz this

How Five Different People See WebMD

Source: College Humor

An Actual Doctor

Man Without Health Insurance

Jewish Soon

Frat Boy


buzz this

Applying Current FDA Guidelines to Social Media Marketing

What: WOMMA Webinar

When: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:00am CDT


[Note: currently the link takes you to a page that says "Webinar over", I'm not sure if this is an error if they posted the wrong date originally]

Overview: Social media in healthcare is evolving at a rapid pace and changing the landscape forever for physician treatment practices and patient care. How will social media change in the coming years? What promise does social media hold for the betterment of our healthcare system? What role should pharmaceutical companies play in the patient and physician dialogue? These questions will be the focus of the first in a series of healthcare and pharma webinars brought to you by WOMMA.

buzz this