Why Your Twitter Disclaimer Doesn’t Make Sense

Vault combinationIt seems that I’m the only individual in the free world without a Twitter disclaimer that ‘my tweets are my own.’  You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Vague disclaimers invariably copied from someone else intended to create a fuzzy feeling of security.

Here’s why I believe token disclaimers don’t make sense:

You represent your organization. While you may not deliver carefully crafted corporate speak, there’s no escaping the fact that we’re brand ambassadors for our organizations. While you may want to believe that your tweets are your own, your public thinking is terminally linked to your work, family and other aspects of your life. Despite how hard we may try, no disclaimer language will ever detach us.

(and so…) Acting like a jackass will still get you fired. Despite who owns a tweet or who you claim to not represent, you’re still on the hook when you act like a frat boy in public. Perhaps more importantly, there’s no piece of language that will ever protect an organization from looking bad.

Public engagement wasn’t invented with social media. We served as representatives for our institutions long before public media were available. But we never used disclaimers. Cocktail parties, keynote presentations, and professional meetings all involve connection, engagement, sharing and speaking. But I’ve yet to hear a physician at a national meeting open with a slide disclosing that that their ideas are their own. We know that.

Ultimately this language is about fear. But I suspect that those interested in getting at us won’t be deterred by cut-and-paste disclaimers. Perhaps we should all just agree that none of us are the official, branded idea brokers of our organizations … unless otherwise declared in our bios.

You might also check out: Why 911 blog disclaimers may be the longest running gag in legal history

The Problem with Human Communication

15661551109_47c796b621_oHere Sherpaa founder Jay Parkinson riffs on why video may be an overrated health communication tool.  Traditional asynchronous text dialog, he argues, is perhaps our best option.  His discussion sparked dialog since it flies in the face of what seems to be an inevitable trajectory toward telehealth.

The problem with human communication is that it’s nuanced.  Engagement around disease is more complex.  And to suggest that patient comms is best conducted through asynchronous tools is to not understand the range and texture of human engagement between a patient/surrogate and a provider.

Take, for example, Luke, a school-aged child with moderate ulcerative colitis complicated by sclerosing cholangitis.  Consider the range of potential complaints and exchanges that I might encounter with Luke’s mom:

I need Lukes’ Asacol refilled.  Pretty simple.  A cue for an action.  No conversation necessary.  No doctor even necessary.

After decreasing Luke’s Asacol, we’ve noticed blood in the stool.  Pretty simple as well.  Needs some exchange with a couple of questions and reassurance.  Easily conducted asynchronously by secure text.

Luke woke in the middle of the night with sharp RUQ pain and fever.  Potentially serious.  Lots of questions to ask.  Probably needs a conversation, be it on video or telephone.  Too much immediate, time-sensitive hypothesis generation and testing for text exchange.

We’re in Quatar, Luke’s bloody diarrhea has returned, the local family doctor wants to use antibiotics and we need to know whether we should fly to Dubai.  A conversation for sure.  The visual value for a frightened family in a foreign land is hard to quantify.

I remember a couple of years back speaking in Tasmania I had an emergent Skype conversation with a family making the painful decision to withdraw care for their child.  As we connected on the screen a teary-eyed mom and dad strained and huddled to be in view.  ‘It’s good to see you,’ were the first words.  This kind of exchange is tricky by text, marginal by phone, priceless in plain view, and really expensive by phone whey you’re off the southern coast of Australia.

We need to remember that nursing the runny nose of a wealthy hipster is one thing; engagement over the complications of chronic disease is another.

But despite how simple the solutions may seem, human connection over health will never be constrained to one platform.  It’s just that simple.  Or complicated.

Image via Flickr

The Man Machine Dichotomy

businessman with gas mask watching TVCheck out Where does the Doctor Stop and the Computer Begin? by Jim Salwitz over on KevinMD. I adore Dr. Jim Salwitz. He represents one of the infosphere’s most insightful minds in oncology.

But I have a problem with the title.

It assumes a dichotomy between man and machine. An allocation of effort that’s on us or on them with a boundary separating where they stop and we begin. A kind of digital dualism.

Soon enough, man and machine in medicine will become terminally inseparable

The post-human era of medicine will bring a type of invisible background processing of data that will allow us to do more comfortably what we do best. If done right, where the machine leaves off and we take over will become irrelevant.

And as every physical object in the healthcare space begins recording data and as these objects connect, cooperate and process, the concept of ‘a computer’ or even machine will become something of a charming skeuomorph.

Watson’s model of augmented intelligence puts us on that trajectory.  Doctors and patients together supported by the type of information processing humans can’t even conceive of.  I suspect that this capacity for nearly invisible support will create a workflow that will leave us to more comfortably do what we do best

6 Digital Health Power Curators

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Increasingly, my life is about finding signal.  Noise grows by the day.  So who I listen to has become important.  Tuning for value has become a new preoccupation. So I thought I'd share a few of the people who do a brilliant job creating a clean, … [Continue reading]