Why Academic Medical Centers Should Be on Twitter. Right Now.

Originally posted June 6, 2015

By Steve Christiansen, MD

socialized_medicineEver since I began residency I have been encouraging, prodding, and at times, persistently pestering department leadership of my belief that our ophthalmology department should have a dedicated Twitter feed. After months of persistence combined with good timing and supportive leadership, the Twitter feed was finally launched on June 1, 2015 for the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, with the Twitter handle, @UIowaEye.

Let me explain why academic centers and departments should join Twitter. Continue reading Why Academic Medical Centers Should Be on Twitter. Right Now.

Final Days, or Dawn of a New Age for Academic Medicine?



Originally posted June 9, 2015

By Kirsten Stewart

A dying beast? Fated for extinction? Dead on arrival? The recent musings of industry analysts about the future of academic medical centers (AMCs) inspire more panic than confidence these days. Long considered the showpiece for American health care, AMCs have also been an important financial anchor for universities. But times are changing. An April headline in The Wall Street Journal read “Once Cash Cows, Teaching Hospitals Now a Source of Worry for Schools.”

Contrary to the alarming headlines, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has a much brighter story to tell, in part because it’s forsaking tradition to forge a bold new path. The $3 billion medical center is separating from the 142-year-old university, a move that is already reaping dividends, said Vanderbilt’s deputy vice chancellor of medical affairs, C. Wright Pinson, M.B.A., M.D. “We needed more freedom and speed in our decision-making …than the old structure afforded.”  Continue reading Final Days, or Dawn of a New Age for Academic Medicine?

Second Annual #Hotspotting Mini-Grant Project Launches This Summer

Originally published June 16, 2015

By Sonya Collins

For the second year, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP), Primary Care Progress (PCP), and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) are collaborating on the Hotspotting Mini-Grant Project. The initiative gives interdisciplinary teams of health professions students an unparalleled hands-on opportunity to learn and practice an innovative model of health care coordination called hotspotting. Here, program partners weigh in on why hotspotting is important and the new elements participants can expect this year.

“The average health professions student is told that their job is to shadow and wait their turn. This project gets them off the sidelines and engaged in a meaningful way,” says Andrew Morris-Singer, a general internist and president of PCP. Continue reading Second Annual #Hotspotting Mini-Grant Project Launches This Summer

What Moves Us To Act?

Originally posted June 23, 2015

By Susan Brown

I usually start my day with a Starbucks, so I was standing in the long line-up waiting to place my order. I noticed a young resident, well ahead of me in the line, pull out of the line. He grabbed a fistful of serviettes from the sidebar where the milk and sugar, lids and serviettes are found. He walked over to a middle-aged woman who was on her cell–she was sobbing inconsolably and her face was red and puffy, she had big sad tears strolling down her face. This young resident walked over and bent down as if to kneel. He put the serviettes into her lap and paused his hand on hers when she went to grab the serviettes. He looked into her eyes, paused and provided a look of acknowledgement, empathy and kindness. Then he walked back to the end of the coffee line … Many of us had witnessed this spontaneous act of genuine compassion and kindness and made way for him to move to the front of the line.

What moved this young resident to act? Or perhaps more importantly, what was it about him that saw his distraught woman and respond in such a caring and compassionate way? It was beautiful to see the tension in her face ease when he gave her the serviettes and demonstrated empathy. It was beautiful to see how other staff members in the Starbucks line watched the interaction and then volleyed him back up to the front of the line on his return. And it was beautiful to see how moved each of us was by this simple act of grace. The importance of staff-to-patient and staff-to-staff relationships were underscored. I’d like to think each of us here would do this if the same situation presented … I suppose the question is whether each of us sees these things when they are in our midst; does our culture empower us to act? Are we safe to reach out to one another and to our patients?

“Healing Beyond Science”

By Robert Folberg, MD

The title of this post is framed within quotation marks because the words are not mine. They were delivered by Mary Fisher, an author, artist, and AIDS advocate on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree as part of the commencement of the Charter Class of 2015 from the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB). Wing of Zock invited me to provide a follow-up to my post published earlier this year, “Kindness Beyond Curriculum,” where I described the underlying innovations that OUWB brings to medical education as a new medical school. I invite you now to pause and listen to Fisher’s address. [Fast forward to the 4:40 mark to skip the conferral of the degree if you wish.] Continue reading “Healing Beyond Science”

Quick Hits: Innovation in Academic Medicine

Boston Children’s Hospital Uses Social Media Data for Health Research

Social media pervades the U.S. today. Take Twitter, for example. By the end of 2014, approximately one in five U.S. adults were active Twitter users. While the network remains most popular with adults under 50 years old, the last year saw a jump in tweeters 65 and older.

Despite growing privacy concerns, users of Twitter and other networks routinely talk about their health on social media. This has created a large and growing body of data and presented an opportunity to capture ‘digital phenotypes’ that provide tremendous insight into both individual and population health. These phenotypes let us:

  1. Identify individual patients suffering from acute or chronic disease and analyze their behavior over-time
  2. Monitor the health of a population by tracking the prevalence of infectious diseases (e.g., influenza)… MORE

Duke Practical Playbook to Provide Technical Assistance to BUILD Health Challenge Awardees

The BUILD Health Challenge announced today that it awarded grants to 18 groundbreaking projects that aim to improve health in low-income communities.

The projects were recognized on the strengths of their bold, upstream, integrated, local and data-driven approaches to address the social and environmental factors that have the greatest impact on health.

The BUILD Health Challenge was founded by The Advisory Board Company, the de Beaumont Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to encourage community partnerships among local non-profit organizations, hospitals and health systems, and health departments to improve the health and well-being of their residents… MORE

Stanford Medicine to Lead, Define Field of Precision Health

Precision health was the theme of the day at Stanford [two weeks ago], with Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, describing to a standing-room-only crowd at a Town Hall event how Stanford Medicine will continue to lead and excel in this area.

Minor, along with colleagues Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, and Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Stanford Children’s Health, offered faculty, staff and students a glimpse of the future of precision health here… MORE

Developing Apps to Improve the Health of Patients at Mount Sinai

The Sinai AppLab, a pioneering digital initiative between the departments of Medicine and Information Technology, is creating technology platforms to address the needs of patients, health care providers, and researchers within the Mount Sinai Health System. Under the direction of Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH, Chief Technology Innovation and Engagement Officer in the Department of Medicine, the lab has developed five apps and an app platform that connect to Mount Sinai’s Electronic Health Records (EHR)… MORE


Medicine in the Era of the Public Physician

By Jennifer J. Salopek

book-coverBryan Vartabedian, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist and clinical faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, is well-known in the world of health care social media. An early adopter, he has been blogging since he launched his first Typepad site in 2006. His current blog, 33 Charts, draws thousands of readers every month, and he has more than 24,000 followers on Twitter. In 2013, he penned the Socialized Medicine column for Wing of Zock. Vartabedian is strategic and intentional about his online presence. Yet, he asserts that even doctors with little or no social media involvement are, in the digital age, “public physicians.” To that end, he has authored a helpful guidebook, The Public Physician, available for free download on iTunes.

Continue reading Medicine in the Era of the Public Physician

Wing of Zock “Chart Review” Blog Carnival, June 2015 Edition

chart_review (2)Our roundup of May blog posts from the world of academic medicine contains, as you might expect, many congratulatory and advisory messages for this year’s medical school graduates. The wisdom conferred on them by various student, resident, and physician writers ranges from the practical to the pleading. Herewith, our selections:

On Dharmaraj Karthikesan’s eponymous blog, he recounts the recent experience of running into a former student who was clearly exhausted and disillusioned: “[H]e looked like a man who has totally given up on being a doctor.” Karthikesan uses the occasion of this encounter to urge, “Dear Doctors, Be Kind to Each Other,” noting especially that “bullying is not a necessary evil for training doctors.”

The folks at Academic Life in Emergency Medicine offer practical advice for new residents that was crowdsourced from more than 100 Chief Residents. In “Dear Residents: 10 Things Your New Chiefs Want You to Know,” the list includes items that underscore the importance of trust, teamwork, and professionalism.

The anonymous physician who blogs at Medicine from the Trenches suggests that the most valuable skill to develop and hone in the era of the electronic medical record is the accurate, comprehensive creation of a patient history—a great foundational skill for all new physicians to know. The writer recommends that the doctor think of him- or herself as a beat reporter, asking great questions, making keen observations, and taking mental notes. Journalistic skills such as making sure the spelling of the patient’s name is correct are important. Note that the technology can hamper the doctor-patient relationship:

“If your patient feels as if you are so rushed or that you are not interested in working with them, i.e., you are more focused on getting your note in the computer, then they have a propensity to stop trying to communicate well with you.”

Roheet Kakaday, a student at OHSU who blogs at The Biopsy, notes that a friend recently called him a “Renaissance man.” The Venn diagram Kakaday drew that shows himself at the intersection of engineering, medical, and creative interests is enlightening and, with the recent changes to the MCAT, likely to represent more similarly multifaceted medical students in future.

Writing at Transforming Medical School, USC School of Medicine Greenville student blogger Laura Simon likens her medical education to the distance swimming she did as a high school and undergraduate student. Her specialty, the mile race, was 66 laps and typically took about 16 minutes. When she feels tired or burned out in med school, Simon writes, she’s able to get in touch with the passion that keeps her going: “Medical school, like swimming… requires passion, work ethic, inspiration, commitment, excitement, humility, a little bit of talent, a little bit of crazy, with some fear, desire, and love for good measure.”

In “My Life As a Call Girl,” posted at Mothers in Medicine, practicing ob/gyn blogger RH offers some great advice for call nights. Noting that she spends approximately a quarter of her life on call, she offers such wise tips as “Don’t indulge in the 3 am donuts,” “Don’t schedule appointments” such as haircuts and other personal services, and “Do know your limits.”

Finally, the anonymous blogger at Medical State of Mind offers all manner of advice for prospective medical students in “Mailbag: Mid Year Edition.” Answering questions ranging from course selections in undergraduate school, to references for summer programs, to struggles with organic chemistry, the blogger deals deft answers. Our favorite, however, comes in response to a question about the necessary skills and characteristics for a future doctor. Read the post to find out what @MedicalState had to say.

Chart Review is a monthly roundup of posts from blogs about academic medicine, whether from the perspective of student, resident, faculty member, dean, or administrator. Medical schools and teaching hospitals provide fertile ground for innovative responses to health care challenges. We are pleased to highlight some of the best here, and hope you will send us your favorites as well. As always, we encourage cross-posting.