It’s been a tough week for the anti-vaccine movement but an important week for pediatric health. Yesterday the UK’s General Medical Council announced that Andrew Wakefield, who’s fraudulent manipulation of data spawned the vaccine-autism cottage industry, would be ‘struck’ from the medical register. This action by the GMC is one more nail in the coffin of the man who has singlehandedly turned back the clock on two generations of pediatric public health. Check out Respectful Insolence for some pithy commentary and a pointed, must see interview with Matt Lauer. This issue finally seems to be circling the drain.
Speaking of vaccines and blog-driven children’s health advocacy you should keep one eye on Liz Ditz. She’s a relentless advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves: specifically children and their immunizations. See Be Hepatitis B Free, a nice post detailing efforts and promote Hep B awareness. You’ll find her beating the drum on
anti-vaccine propaganda on Twitter. She’s my litmus for key issues in this area
Another hot-button topic has been the personal genomics kerfuffle brewing over the FDA’s decision to investigate manufacturers of personal genomics testing kits. You can hear Tom Goetz (author of The Decision Tree) argue the
pro-position on his blog during a nice interview with KQED. Opposing is Marcy Darnovsky from the Center for Genetics and Society. I recommend everyone peek at The Decision Tree for a taste of medicine to come but as I’ve said, I’m not hot on Goetz’s push for personal genomics. For another alternate view, see our friend Berci. Nuts for Healthcare also has a nicely linked comprehensive overview of the issue.
If you’re fed up with the echoes of the reverbosphere blogosphere and want original stuff to make you think, check out Dr. Charles and his original thinking on The Examining Room of Dr. Charles. See White Silken Ribbons for thoughts on his medial school cadaver brought on by the appearance of a young patient’s skin.
And Wes reminds me of Dr. Charles … except with an RFA catheter.
Interestingly, I was paged this past weekend from the ER with a frighteningly similar situation to that of Dr. Wes in Hauntings. Non-physicians will never understand these feelings but this post is a start. While you’re there, read Damn Doctors. In an increasingly patient-centered world, this post with its literary flare and open-ended conclusion made me think.
Musings of a Distractible Mind strikes a similar note in Healthy Exchange. Rob tackles some of the broader questions surrounding why we socialize as physicians and how social media influences health care. His stream-of-consciousness format makes up for some heady subject matter. And if you’re prone to audio, check out his podcast.
And no discussion of original physician voices would be complete without mention of Bongi. This story of how esophageal varices due to bilharzia lead one lucky patient to learn Afrikaans. (Tip for those on this side of the pond: A theatre is where surgeons operate)
While you wouldn’t believe it after reading Bongi, I’m hot on the idea that technology is progressively marginalizing the role of the physician. Kevin MD pulls together an interesting discussion surrounding the Da Vinci robot in Are da Vinci Surgical Complications the Fault of the Robot? My initial impulse was, ‘of course a robot can’t operate as effectively as a human.’ But it seems robots or their operators haven’t been properly trained. This is a fascinating topic and fully loaded. Look for me to chime in on this soon.
Facetime with patients may be soon out of vogue according to Alan Dappan. But not really in a bad way. Alan Dappan has a nice post at Better Health on the power of telehealth that’s worth a look. Remind me to dive into telemedicine when I have the time.
Patients and things
While many doctors sit watch, the patient community is busy shaping the future of health care. Ted Eytan MD, not one to sit around, has an interesting guest post on the different levels of engagement by e-patients. Admittedly I’ve always argued that all my patients are e-patients but the pyramid presented in the post reminds me that not all e-patients are created equal. I wonder if there’s a pyramid for physician involvement in shaping the future of health care? If you find one, let me know.
Patients revealing their personal health information has become something of an art form these days. While I’ve always suggested that this may come with a cost, the e-patient movement is beginning to raise questions. Susannah Fox’s post on e-Patients.net, A New Conversation About Health Privacy: Who’s In? raises some interesting issues concerning health privacy in light of the Facebook mess. Every physician should read e-patient.net to understand how health care and patients are changing. And it seems that the patients may be getting ahead of us.
Along the lines of e-patients I was pointed to Stephen Wilkins’ 12 Questions Empowered Patients Should Ask When Looking for a New Physician. All great questions that 21st century patients should consider but I’m guessing this is a one-hour discussion – and when should that happen? Maybe it should be part of every physicians site/blog? Perhaps this is an inside-the-bubble question reflecting the e-patient/doctor disconnect. You tell me.
And do you know the difference between and e-patient and an i-patient? If not, read Laika’s MedLibLog.
In the category of patient driven data comes a really interesting post from Diabetes Mine. Amy tells us about Manny Hernandez and his diabetes monitoring application TuAnalyze. In partnership with Children’s Hospital Boston TuDiabetes.org has developed an innovative new A1C mapping tool called TuAnalyze with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It works this way: members to submit their Hemoglobin A1C data. The information submitted gets displayed in a community map on TuDiabetes, with states lighting up according to the aggregate A1C data once a threshold of participants in each state is reached. Patients can track their own A1C and compare it with others. Over time it will be interesting to see if participation in social networks correlates with diabetes management on a large scale.
And speaking of behavior management, check out Jay Parkinson’s post on SnuzNLuz just for fun.
Now around the web in 60 seconds
And now for something completely different. From the category of creepy imagery harkening back to a time when doctors smoked, there’s Morbid Anatomy. Check it out.
If we can believe Dr. Shock this week I score pretty high in the empathy department but I think I’ll let my parents be the judge.
See Becca Camp’s blog, Sent From My Teleportation Device, for the premedical student’s stream of consciousness. She’s got some good ideas and interesting links. What would you be doing in social if you were a premed student?
For a taste of medical disruption be sure to check out Dr. Rich’s suggestions for Black Market Healthcare. Talk about disruption.
Ed Bennett birthed a new list of hospitals using social media on Found in Cache. Always fascinating and makes great fodder for social media presentations. Full disclosure: I’m Ed’s number 1 pitchman when it comes to his hospital list.
While I thought anonymous physician bloggers went out of style with Flea, actually there’s a blog from a mystery author at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital. I found some of the posts a bit long for my taste but the voice is genuine. I can be critical because he/she/its anonymous.
Check out Scope, Stanford School of Medicine’s blog which has seen remarkable growth over the past few months. And for good reason. John Stafford’s team of writers are pumping out some sharp, to-the-point content that keeps me in the know on critical issues of medical science. Scope has become a key piece of my digital signal.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Medical Grand Rounds. Be sure to look for me on the Doctor Anonymous Show on June 24, 2010 at 9E/8CT.