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Health-Related Web Searches: Examining Quality

Health-Related Web Searches: Examining Quality

Most adults in the United States seek health information online, and many report that these searches influence their health-related decisions. About two-thirds of people who obtain health information online begin their inquiries through popular search engines. “The potential problem with this approach is that patients may receive inaccurate or misleading results from these queries,” says Christopher A. Harle, PhD, MS. “This could lead patients to ignore important symptoms, delay seeking care, or refuse particular treatments.” Low-quality results could also lead patients to seek unnecessary care or use unproven or potentially harmful treatments on their own. Are your patients self-diagnosing? Dr. Harle, Brent Kitchens, and Shengli Li conducted a study published in Decision Support Systems to investigate the quality of health information resulting from popular search engines. They queried Google’s general search engine using more than 2,000 different health-related terms. To assess quality on the first page of results, these sites were then checked to see if they were certified for accuracy by the Health On the Net Foundation or were referenced by Medline Plus, an NIH-run consumer website. Good News, Bad News According to the results, the majority of health information returned by popular search engines was of high quality, but quality levels varied across different health topic areas. Searches for terms relating to preventive health and social health issues tended to produce lower-quality results when compared with those relating to the diagnosis and treatment of physical diseases or injuries. “Patients can find some high-quality health information when using popular search engines but should be aware that some topics—such as nutrition or fitness—can yield information that is potentially lower...

Social Media Tips for Doctors

Recently, I was asked for personal advice on using Twitter. There are many articles out there that say we (physicians) don’t know how to properly use social media. Social media can be a very powerful tool in medicine. It can not only help us get medical information out there to our patients, but it can also help us connect with people, colleagues, and organizations to give us more visibility—whether for career advancement, media contacts, or just to get our voices heard. Social Media Basics: These are some of the tips I have come up with for doctors who want to take advantage of the many opportunities social media can offer: 1. Never communicate to patients through social media outlets. It is a set up for disaster and HIPAA violations. 2. Social media can be used for educating patients. Patients can follow you on these pages to get information about your practice and whatever medical information you wish to share. Twitter… 3.  Twitter is useful for growing your professional connections. It can be leveraged so you get known and also connect with other doctors, healthcare information technology people, media, etc. Patients can follow you on Twitter, but it generally is not a useful method of providing patient information because tweets are limited to 140 characters. 4. Choose your followers carefully. Block those who spam or troll you (“trolls” are people who negatively post with the deliberate intent of provoking a reaction). Many people will try to sell you things. Monitor your account because it is not uncommon for it to be hacked. 5. Grow your network. Have a group that...
IDWeek 2014

IDWeek 2014

New research was presented at IDWeek 2014, the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, from October 8 to 12 in Philadelphia. Meeting Highlights Antimicrobial Stewardship Through Social Media HIV Pharmacist Reconciliation & ART Prescription Errors Antibiotic Stewardship Benefits Children The Effect of Face-to-Face Networking on HIV Testing Reducing Rates of Antibiotic-Resistant Pneumonia   News From IDWeek 2014 Prevnar-13 Halts Pneumonia in Seniors MMR Vax Proves Safe Over Time in U.S. Adults Case Study: Fecal Transplant Clears K. Pneumoniae Antiviral Fails in Ebola, but Encouraging in Adenovirus Novel HSV-2 Vax Shows Promise Ebola: Skip Randomized Trials, Experts Urge Clinicians Explore EV-D68, Paralysis Link Ebola: Body Fluids Carry the Risk Specialist in Emergency Department Improves Antibiotic Use Adjuvant Boosts Supply of Avian Flu Vaccine Experts Closest to Ebola Outbreak Testify Ebola Outbreak and Enterovirus in the Limelight at IDWeek Ebola: Providers’ Risk Small in U.S. Hospitals Athletes at Higher Risk for MRSA   More From IDWeek 2014 Registration Housing & Travel & Discounts FAQs Interactive Program Breaking Presentations on the 2014 Ebola Outbreak Affiliated Events Schedule-at-a-Glance Mentorship Program Abstracts Pre-meeting Workshops CME/CPE...
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