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E-Learning: Web 2.0 & Social Media examples and quotes for Health Informatics

This blog post is sponsored by Semantix Ltd.

I’ve recently been lucky enough to be involved and be exposed to many government related projects including some NHS cool e-learning stuff. Since then, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge and references that might be of interest to LGEO Research readers. This blog post highlights some of the useful and valuable social media and web 2.0 examples in e-learning for health informatics from around the world. Hope these examples will help inform the health community of interesting and effective e-learning practices out there.

Web 2.0-mediated Blended Learning: Separating Fact from Fiction

Kevin A. Clauson, a researcher at Nova Southeastern University, is investigating the potential of web 2.0 applications in medical student learning. Specifically, Clauson is attempting to bridge the knowledge gap of this issue between what we think we know and what we actually know.

In order to aid his investigation, his team has conducted a 37 item questionnaire to first year pharmacy students that attend school between three different campuses with the purpose of characterizing the knowledge, familiarity, and preferences towards web 2.0.

Some preliminary results:

· The survey had a 94% response rate

· The first or best language of respondents was 67% English, 24% Spanish, and the rest ‘Other’

· 75% of respondents read blogs, with about 10% actually authoring blogs

· Almost all respondents used wikis (with wikipedia being the most popular), with 12% actually contributing to wikis

· Only a small portion of respondents used Second Life (11.2%), many had never heard of it

· Many were unaware of microblogs; only 7% actually used them. Interestingly, males were more likely to be users of microblogs than females

· Most respondents used Facebook (83%). Myspace was still fairly popular (31%) with LinkedIn being the least popular (1.5%)

One of the limitations of this study was that it was conducted only at one university. Interestingly though, the chair of the session had conducted a similar analysis at Stanford with very similar results.

I recognize the power of having a community,” said Bryan Vartabedian, MD, (@Doctor_V) pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “I didn’t realize when I first went on Twitter that there is a lot of strength and a lot of power in having these sorts of connections.”

Jamey Shiels, social media director for Aurora (@Aurora_Health) who helped organize Dr. Wallskog’s twittered surgery in April, said traditional advertising does not result in a two-way conversation. It’s more of a push, he said. The hospital saw Twitter as “an opportunity to move to a one-to-many conversation.”

Peter Beck Kim, MD (@doccottle), a family physician in Costa Mesa, Calif., said he started twittering as a way of connecting with other physicians interested in health IT issues. He can see himself eventually using Twitter as another way of interacting with patients, but not enough people are on yet.

“I think there’s more out there [on Twitter] than not,” Dr. Kim said. “But overall, in terms of my patient base, I wouldn’t say it’s a tiny minority, but it’s a minority.”

As the number of users grow there will be a larger pool of local users to connect with, he said.

The ability to reach thousands in one place is the real power of Twitter, said Wesley Young, MD (@DrWesYoung), an emergency physician in Honolulu. He’s already seeing the benefits of getting your name onto as many platforms as possible, including blogs and Web sites, as well as Twitter.

Dr. Vartabedian said twitter has the ability to reach thousands of people with one message also can useful in times of public health scares. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations have turned to Twitter to help educate people about A(H1N1) flu, spread information and curb misinformation.

He saw a number of physicians stepping in during the flu scare to “provide some sound balance to what was really, on Twitter, an amazing amount of hysteria.” He sees local physicians, whom the local public knows and trusts, assuming that role more and more in the future.

“Most of the physicians I follow are not twittering as doctors, they are twittering as people who are doctors,” said Dr. Vartabedian. “They talk about medical things and they link to medical things, but they aren’t talking from a position of authority.”

Web 2.0 for Physicians – Dr. Subrahmanyam Karuturi

From my perspective, forums and message boards continue to be helpful vehicles tools for online discussion and can offer value as components of often more extensive social networking environments. In fact, many of today’s more robust “social networking” sites are really direct descendants of the forum genre.

Furthermore, while debates may continue as to whether certain physician-oriented sites, such as Sermo.com or StudentDoctor.net qualify as social networks, I believe it is more important to focus on the fact that more and more tools and “online communities” are being introduced for physicians. This is clearly in response to the increasingly challenging role physicians hold. As in any marketplace, more options and competition mean more value for the customer.

Quotes from online community – ReliefInsite.com (consumer health 2.0 web application)

“As a Health Care Worker, and currently disabled, this is an AMAZING tool for me to communicate with all of my Doctors, Therapists and Specialists! I can look back and see how I am progressing or regressing and it helps me to feel in control of my own health issues! Thanks for offering this great program!” H

“I enjoy that I can speak freely about my pain. It helps to know that others deal with what I’m going through on a daily basis. It feels good to let it out and I believe the diary is something great for all of us patients.” L

“Every time I make my entries, I find I like the new program more. I’ve really been able to fine tune my entries and my notes so that they will be very helpful for my physicians. Need to go in for check up soon and talk things over with my Primary care physician, I’m very happy with the program.” G

“This is an incredible resource that will revolutionize how patients communicate with their physicians. Those of us with chronic pain are usually medicated, and remembering a months worth of info is difficult to say the least. This tool will be invaluable to ALL of us. Thanks to all involved with its creation!”

The Hive in New Zealand – A collaborative network of health professionals using social media to aggregate its content

The use of social tools on the web in the workplace is still not fully adopted by the decision makers in organizations. Social media such as facebook and twitter are generally blocked. The presentation by Chris on the topic of Health IT knowledge base is a very interesting one which is aimed at “the push to build knowledge communities in a collaborative manner that suit the industry”. Although social websites such as facebook etc, exist and can be further leveraged to adapt to the business environment in some respect, it is my opinion that we should build websites that are customisable to the health industry; can be managed and streamlined from a professional stance that will give more creditability. Trust and confidentiality are of vital importance coupled with a sense of the need to contain activities to business environment (which can be better controlled).

In addition to this, we would want to look at how to aggregate data from other social media such as facebook and twitters to create topics of interest etc. to integrate with these “enterprise like” social media.

Chris has explained that one of the impetus for the this project is the Ministry of Health in New Zealand requirement of a system that would allow end-users/innovators and policy makers provide ideas, share information about projects and dissemination of innovation. (How to see other projects in progress and share information on different or similar fields and form collaboration.)

‘The hive is where cross-pollination can generate vital and sometimes unplanned outcomes,‘ suggests Research Fellow Dr. Chris Paton. ‘For example in the hive, a clinician might blog about their telemedicine project based in Otago, a technologist from Sydney could add their real world experience, then a GP in Hamilton might join the discussion. As the interest group grows, the collective wisdom contributes to a more effective outcome,’ he continues.

‘Think of it as a virtual laboratory; where anyone with a valid contribution to make, with an interest in what’s going on or an idea they want to develop can get together with others free of the tyrannies of time and distance,’ Malcolm Pollock adds. He believes the availability of this type of environment is critical to the future development of healthcare services in New Zealand.

Why patients start blogging about their illness?


Kerri Morrone Sparling – http://www.sixuntilme.com

I started Six Until Me in May of 2005 because I was tired of Googling “diabetes” and coming up with little more than a list of complications and frightening stories.  Where were all the people who were living with this disease, like I have been since I was a little girl?  Was I the only diabetic out there who felt alone?

Enter blogging.  Back when I first started, I was one of four or five diabetes bloggers.  Now I am a proud member of an enormous diabetes blogging community who prove every day that I’m not alone with this disease.

But there’s more to me than diabetes.

I am a blogger, freelance writer, and hopeful author.  I am also the Community Leader at dLife.  I have been featured in US News and World Report, contributed columns to dLifediaTribe, and have guest-blogged all over the damn place.  I love what I do.  It’s an honor to be a part of this community.

I keep an extensive collection of photos on my Flickr account, where you’ll find my Diabetes365 experience, a bunch of crap about my cats, and random photos from my random life moments.  I love my camera and bring it everywhere I go.  I’m also pretty addicted to Twitter and Facebook, but let’s be honest – sometimes that social networking crap gets a little out of hand.

iCrossing Research on social media for health

In the most bullish forecast yet on the adoption of social media in health, iCrossing has found that 34% of Americans turn to social media for health research. This report from iCrossing breaks new ground by offering some hard numbers about consumers’ use of social media in health.  Among the available social media types, consumers chose Wikipedia (chosen by 20% of online health searchers), online forums and message boards as the most favored in health and wellness. iCrossing found that these were particularly attractive to the youngest adult cohort of 18-to-34 year old health searchers. But note that the average age of the social media user for health is 37, compared with 44 years of age for the overall health search population.

Several findings are particularly notable and new:

Consumers going to social media sites tend to be in decision-making mode. They are in search of useful insights into health services, costs for specific procedures and devices, and reputations of providers. This is a role that will be played by sites like Blue Cross of Minnesota’s Health Care Scoop and the emergingAnthem/Zagat sites.

After the health professional — whether clinician, pharmacist, or nurse — “someone else with the same condition” is important to those consumers seeking advice about particular medications.  People with serious chronic conditions are looking to consumer-experts for sage advice on meds and care processes. The logic: who better to consult than another experienced patient to get the skinny on living with side effects and quality of life issues? Nearly 2/3 of people who go online for health information report this emerging “Consumer Opinion Leader” as “extremely important” or “very important.

The most compelling reason consumers are using social media in health is to ;connect with other consumers to exchange information or get support,” according to 75% of the online health searcher. The next most important reasons to use social media vs. other types of online sites is to find out more about the costs of a procedure or medical equipment (noted by 55%) and to access personal health records (noted by 56%).

Social media ‘could transform public services’ by the BBC

Social media could transform the NHS and other public services in the same way that file-sharing changed the music industry, a conference has heard.

Growing use of tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, offered an opportunity to reinvent services, delegates heard.

The MyPublicServices event debated ways to harness these conversations, many of which are critical, to make services better and more inclusive.

If this was not done, many services would be undermined, speakers said.

“It’s happened to the music and travel industries and it’s going to happen to public services,” said Dr Paul Hodgkin, founder of the Patient Opinion site that organised the MyPublicServices conference. Read more

Hope this was useful!

Liz xxx

About Liz Azyan

Liz is a CREATIVE digital professional dedicated to helping individuals, governments and businesses realize their digital goals. She offers digital consultancy services on her website LizAzyan.com Liz is also a Google Fellowship Recipient (individuals selected based on their work and initiative in the arenas of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship), an invited expert panel on the Guardian’s Public Leader Network and has spoken at many public events and conferences on the subject of digital engagement.

2 comments

  1. To some extent especiaily in regards to training and development, Social Media is already transforming the NHS , our specialisation in Health and Social Care E-learning has shown us that.

  2. While the web also remains a venue for brochures and general information
    about the world, it is now also a medium for tools and computer
    services. We are not sure what “Web 3.0″ will be, but until then, get used to seeing more and more online services in this age of Web 2.0. Machine Gun Trust

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