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Using Social Media in Oncology

Using Social Media in Oncology

The increasing popularity and use of social media in medicine offers great opportunities for healthcare professionals and their institutions to interact with patients and colleagues at a pace that has never before been possible. For oncologists, the variety of web-based and mobile technologies that make up social media allow for patient education and authoritative health messaging. Professional development and knowledge sharing, as well as increased direct patient interaction, are other attributes of these technologies. However, while social media offers great potential in healthcare, oncologists must be aware of the possible legal and privacy issues that come along with its use. The Value of Social Media According to Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, the immediate past-chair and member of the Integrated Media and Technology Committee from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), social media lends itself specifically to oncology for the very reason that the field appears to be evolving quickly. “Determining the social media outlets that present the most benefit to oncologists depends on each practitioner’s needs,” he says (Table 1). Twitter appears to hold significant value for oncologists, explains Dr. Dizon, who was also the lead author of an article published in the Journal of Oncology Practice that provides clinicians with guidance on using social media in oncology. “This is primarily because users have the ability to preselect individuals to follow to suit their own specific needs,” he says. “Users can also create lists to further streamline tweeted content. I have separate lists for people who tweet about their experiences with cancer, cancer centers, news disseminators, and colleagues.” Dr. Dizon adds that one of the best uses...
Increasing Efficiency With Mobile Tablet Computers

Increasing Efficiency With Mobile Tablet Computers

The ever-growing use of electronic health records (EHRs) and information needs of patients have increased time away from the bedside and the need to use computer workstations whenever they become available. Some medical centers have adopted tablet computers because they can process information much quicker and are less cumbersome than when they first came on the market. With more hospitals adding wireless internet access, physicians can use these mobile devices to access an increasing number of utilities and functions, including EHR systems. Putting Tablets to the Test In a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, my colleagues and I sought to implement and evaluate the deployment of personal mobile tablet computers (Apple iPads) on resident workflow efficiency and patient care. Nine out of 10 residents reported using the mobile tablet for clinical responsibilities at work, and nearly 75% reported using it every day. The number of orders per admission didn’t change after tablet deployment, but the timing of orders with respect to time of patient admission did. During the post-deployment period, 5% more orders were placed prior to post-call attending rounds. Also, 8% more orders were placed prior to the time at which post-call teams were scheduled to leave the hospital. More orders were placed within the first 2 hours of patient admission following tablet deployment. The majority of residents (78%) reported being more efficient on the wards when using their tablets, stating that they saved about an hour per day. More than half (56%) reported being able to attend more conferences by using their tablet computers. Of all house staff, 66% reported that patient care delays were...
Mobile Devices Up Patient Data-Breach Risk

Mobile Devices Up Patient Data-Breach Risk

Data theft and compromise in healthcare are on the rise, and the mobile landscape is further complicating security. A new 2012 HIMSS Analytics Report: Security of Patient Data reassesses the state of patient data security in the wake of recent technological developments. The 2012 HIMSS report has found that the rapidly rising use of devices not tethered to a workstation brings an increased risk of data loss and/or compromise that many organizations are not properly prepared to address.  For example, the use of electronic health records (EHR) makes patient data more mobile and accessible. It may also introduce third parties who are entrusted with patient data, extending patient data security beyond hospital walls. According to the report, 27% of respondents indicated that their organization had experienced at least one security breach that required notification in the past 12 months. This was up from 19% in 2010 and 13% in 2008. The main sources of security breaches in 2012 were: 56% unauthorized access by employee 34% unauthorized access to paper records 22% laptop/handheld device 10% data housed by a third-party vendor 9% improper destruction of paper records 3% network breach by outsider 2% data accessed from second-hand computer As the use of mobile devices becomes more common in exam rooms and administrative areas, so do the risks of security breaches due to employee negligence and outdated organizational policies. The report stresses that as healthcare moves toward more digital frontiers with an aggressive transition to EHR and mobile-based devices, privacy and security no longer should be treated as separate issues. Physician’s Weekly wants to know…do you feel that patient data is...
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