CEO for Noble Enterprises Canada, Noble Enterprises Canada

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What is the future of social media in healthcare?

I am part of a planning panel for the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres and we are preparing for this years Annual Conference to be held in Ottawa. Specifically I am looking for ideas/trends that relate to social media in paediatric healthcare. This could be clinical management, records, patient engagement, research, support for families/youth or any other interesting, etc. Really hoping to hear about what makes social media in health care both exciting and important.

  • Apr 26 2011: I am a psychologist. Back in January I began using an SMS based mood monitoring tool with my patients/clients. This has been an amazing experience that transformed my clinical practice. Patients text a 1-10 mood rating, and an optional short message about their mood, which uploads to a web account that they give me consent to view. I can know how these patients are doing on a daily basis, quickly review functioning if they leave me a message indicating distress, and check it at the beginning of my clinical interactions to get a quick read on how they are doing. Patients overwhelmingly like this tool, have strong engagement with it, and over 90% maintain that engagement with the tool over time. It has improved my diagnostic insight, given my patients the sense that I am engaged with them between sessions, and allowed them to review their patterns of mood over time in insightful ways. Many patients have shown strong improvements after years of poor mood regulation. This has been especially useful with my patients that have Borderline Personality Disorder. It has been free, save me time, improved treatment compliance/adherence, contributed to my alliance with patients, and has been, above all, *cool*. If this is what can be done with a web service and a lower tech flip phone, imagine what can happen in the future as my poorest clients have access to even better technology...PS: I work at a rural community mental health center. If we can do this in rural Kansas, imagine the generalizability of these benefits.
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    Apr 22 2011: Here in Boston at Childrens Hospital preparations are underway to use a personal robot (vgo) to help patients stay connected.
    See their website at
  • Apr 22 2011: I come from the education side. Kids (hearing and Deaf) are using social media as their mode of communication. The development of this barrier free communication/ connection is powerful for children with hearing loss. The connections with hearing peers is now seamless and easy. The ability for children with hearing loss who feel isolated and alone as they may be the only child in their school/ town with hearing loss is also a reality!
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    Sky F

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    Apr 22 2011: I work in a pharmacy and I've always had the idea that there should be essentially a 'facebook-for-healthcare' type system out there that has a 'news feed' that talks about when they got what type of care, when they got a prescription written and what for, where and when they filled it, diagnoses, etc.

    Too much energy goes towards phone calling all over the place for data that could be easily shared with everyone who is a health care provider.

    At the VERY least, my system I run at my pharmacy looks like it was built in 1993. At the very least a software company should create a closed network facebook type system that graphically displays patients information and activity at MY LOCATION ONLY in our closed network. There would also be a page for drug information updating, easy emailing to patients/doctors, etc. It would clean up the disgusting user interface significantly.
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    Apr 21 2011: The real-time factor is going to be a huge one. There is a stigma around admitting health issues, particularly mental health issues; this is particularly true where youth are concerned.

    As we saw during the G20, social media tools like Twitter can be used to stay real-time current on events that are happening. This is an idea that would need to be explored, and the pros/cons weighed, but if youth had a Twitter/Facebook hotline that they could use to express concerns about a friend who is displaying health issues that aren't being openly acknowledged, then the operators of that hotline might be able to reach out to the person with the suspected issues and provide support.

    More directly, hotlines should be incorporated into New Media, where people, and kids in particular, are spending more of their time. This can also include an advertizing component, letting people know what services are available, what to look for in terms of symptoms, and who to reach for more information/support/etc.