Occupy Healthcare – Social media do have the potential to revolutionize medicine

May 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Can you smell revolution in the air? Social media like Twitter and Facebook helped catalyze the Arab Spring, and the Occupy movement’s global protests. Social media are often beyond the control of government, and allow citizen groups to form, share information and respond more quickly and with greater reach than ever before. With so much disaffection with modern healthcare, will healthcare too soon have its own Arab spring? Will old power structures be taken apart, and the compact between clinician, patient, industry and government reassembled into something new?

This is a theme I explore in a Croakey Health Blog:


It is a companion to my BMJ paper Social networks, social media and social disease.

There is  a BMJ podcast to accompany the paper, and you can listen in on my commentary  which starts at 9.54 minutes into the audio recording.  The ABC Radio National Health Report also ran an interview on the topic and has both audio as well as a transcript.

Interesting times for healthcare I think ….

Help us write the 3rd Edition of the Guide to Health Informatics

May 28, 2013 § 23 Comments

The Guide to Health Informatics 2nd Edition was published in 2003, and has endured surprisingly well over the following decade. One of the guiding principles for selecting material in that text was to focus on core ideas that had a long half-life. In other words, the was focus less on the ever changing “bleeding edge” of technology and its application, and more on foundational principles and topics.

Well, we are now beavering away at the third edition, and hope for the totally revised text to be completed by the end of 2013.

We would very much welcome feedback from the community about what you would like to see in the third edition. What new topics would you like to see covered (remembering that we are going to focus on long-half life ideas and topics). What new features would you like to see in the chapters? We currently have questions at the end of each chapter and further reading. We will use this web site as a place for online teaching materials (such as a PowerPoint deck with the figures used  in the text for teachers to download).

The table of contents for the 2nd edition is here if you want to look at it again. Some of the old topics will be substantially revised (for example all the material on the internet in health). All existing chapters are being updated with the latest material.

New chapters or topic sections are being prepared for:

  • The safety of e-health (what can go wrong, how do you minimize risks)
  • Nation-scale health IT systems – their designs, functions, risks and benefits (including HIEs).
  • Consumer Informatics
  • Social networks and media
  • Modeling and analyzing large scale data sets (big data).
  • Computational discovery systems

What else do you want? Now is your chance to help shape the text!

We will use this blog keep you up to date with progress on the new edition, and continue ask for feedback on the edition as it progresses.

How to get a PhD in Twenty Tweets

May 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

After two and a bit decades of working at the craft of innovation in technology, I was pulled up one day when one of my brilliant doctoral students asked me “How do you get a good idea?”. As I started to answer, I realised that innovative thinking is something I had learned, slowly and that in truth it could (and should) be taught explicitly.

My first attempt at writing down what I thought the ‘rules’ for innovation resulted in a series of twenty tweets – 10 do’s and 10 don’ts. It seemed like a fun way of keeping to the point, sharing, and seeing what others thought.

My bigger surprise as I embarked on the tweeting was the disdain my senior colleagues had for the social medium. I put my experiences down in a blog at the BMJ, as well as the twenty tweets.

I may return to these and expand, but for now, here is the original blog:


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