Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doc Com

According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 61 percent of adults use the Internet to look up health care information and find providers.

Another study, by Manhattan Research, shows that 60 percent of physicians say they currently use or want to use social networking sites.

Health care providers today don't have the time to spend with patients like they did in past eras. And patients are feeling more and more disconnected from their doctors.

Some doctors are taking advantage of the opportunity social media provides to form more of a bond with their patients. They don't use these tools to diagnose or treat illnesses, but merely to connect with their patients in a more personal way. And to provide them with information that they know is reliable. 

The MacArthur OB/GYN group in Irving, Texas, has a Facebook page with almost 700 members. Its posts include educational articles about Iron-Deficiency Anemia, chiropractic care during pregnancy and new 4-D sonogram technology. But it also engages in chit chat, asking members what they "plan to get Dad for Father's Day." And invites them to beta test a new online appointment scheduling program. 

For women in the Irving area looking for a good OB/GYN, the camaraderie and happy, satisfied chatter of the women on its Facebook page certainly must make MacArthur an attractive practice to consider. 

Then there are the world-renown clinics that have more patients than they have beds. These are often affiliated with teaching hospitals at universities.

They don't need more patients. They need funding.

A lively, loyal and enthusiastic patient following demonstrates to potential benefactors that their money will be going to a worthy cause. A Facebook group page is an easy way to build such a community.

One of the main concerns many doctors have about dipping their toes in social media is the amount of time they themselves will have to dedicate to such an endeavor. The co-chair of a well-known treatment facility at a university asked me this very question last week.

My answer was that he could put as much or as little time into it as he wants. The agency could do the heavy lifting. And there are probably plenty of people – staff and students –who would actually find the work fun. 

It's not a return to the house calls of the old days. But social media does give doctors a way to drop into people's homes, nonetheless.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Who Wins Before They Even Take the Field?

Is red or orange the more extroverted color?

We looked at the home team uniforms of the two finalists in this Sunday’s soccer World Cup and noticed (how could we not?) that both of those colors are pretty darn loud.

Set either one against the deep green (“vert” in French, by the way) background of the soccer field (“football pitch” to the soccer-speaking world) and the contrast is stark.

Being the competitive (and Extrovertic) gang we are, we asked ourselves: which of the two uniforms is more extroverted?

Spain’s red? Or the Netherlands' orange?

Just so you know, the animal kingdom is equally torn. Paul the Octopus in Germany has picked Spain to win, but Singapore’s Mani the Parakeet tells us the Netherlands will rule the roost. (Frankly, we think Mani is just pulling Paul's legs.)

Let us know what you think.


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Monday, July 5, 2010

Twitter Synchronicity

Last month, I experienced a moment of what I call "Twitter Synchronicity" – one of those rare times when the uniqueness or sheer scale of an event can not fully be captured and appreciated were it not for the existence of Twitter. 

(The previous time I came close to such an experience was when my wife and I were awakened by an earthquake in Italy.)

This time it was on June 11, and as I was checking my Twitter feed, I came across a tweet from someone dining at an outdoor cafe on Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Just as he was about to put a spoonful of gazpacho in his mouth, a huge horde of naked bicyclists rode by, shouting, in unison, "More ass, less gas!"

The gazpacho-sipping gentleman reporting this occurrence seemed so caught off guard, I only hope that his dinner partner was not wearing white.

Amused by this scene, and curious to see if anyone else had witnessed the same thing, I entered "naked bikers" into the window on the Twitter Search page.

I seriously did not expect to find what I found:

Seems that day was World Naked Bike Ride Day, an annual event to protest car emissions that takes place all over the globe. This year's ride took on even more significance because of the BP oil leak in the gulf.

Similar tweets (with plenty of photographic evidence) were pouring in from everywhere: Sidney, London, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, Moscow, you name it. If a city had roads, it had naked bicyclists riding on them. 

This was my most recent experience with Twitter Synchronicity.

I'd love to hear yours.


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