January 28, 2015

Kids: Picture Me Smoke-Free

BACKGROUND: Young adults have rates of tobacco use that a too high.

QUESION: is it feasible to engage young adults with smoking cessation messages via online social networking?

METHODS: 60 young adults participated in an online Facebook photo group.

RESULTS: Facebook appears to be an accessible, low-cost platform for engaging young adults with stop smoking messages. A mixed gender and gender neutral group appears to be best.

CONCLUSIONS: Tobacco interventions should be embedded within existing social networking platforms, rather than designing a stand-alone online prevention or intervention resource.

J Med Internet Res. 2015;17(1):e27

January 26, 2015

Sexual Health Information on Social Media

BACKGROUND: Social media likely will play a key role in promoting sexual health.

QUESTION: are young people aged 16 to 29 years old comfortable receiving sexual health information via social media?

METHODS: 620 people aged 16 to 29 years old were surveyed.

RESULTS: Median use of social network sites was 2 hours per day. Participants stated they were comfortable or very comfortable accessing sexual health info from websites (85%), a doctor (81%), school (73%), the mainstream media (67%), Facebook (52%), apps (51%), SMS (44%), and Twitter (36%).

CONCLUSION: most participants were much less comfortable receiving sexual health information from social media sites as compared to getting the information from a website or a doctor.

Int J STD AIDS. 2014 Mar 10;

January 25, 2015

Social Media and Hospital Quality Perception

Public hospital quality report awareness: evidence from National and Californian Internet searches and social media mentions, 2012.
BACKGROUND: many consumers judge hospital quality based upon online reports and social media comments.

QUESTIONS: how often do consumers search hospital quality information online? Do they mention this information in social media? How positively do they view this information?

METHODS: Google Trends and Google Adwords keyword analyses were evaluated for keywords related to 'top hospital', best hospital', and 'hospital quality', as well an additional six specific hospital quality reports. In addition, a social media monitoring tool was used to investigate social media mentions of, and sentiment towards, major public reports of hospital quality.

RESULTS: Google search volume for 75 national hospital quality-related terms averaged 610 700 searches per month. Healthgrades was more commonly searched for nationally on Google than the federal government's Hospital Compare, which otherwise dominated quality-related search terms.

Social media references in California to quality reports were generally few. Commercially produced hospital quality reports were more widely mentioned than state or non-profit reports.

  • Consumers have some awareness of hospital quality based on Google search and social media.
  • Quality dissemination initiatives may benefit by advertising on Google or Twitter and using social media interactively.

BMJ Open. 2014;4(3):e004417

January 12, 2015

How Health Departments Use Twitter

BACKGROUND: Little is known about how Twitter is used by local health departments (LHDs).

METHODS: The Twitter accounts for 210 LHDs were divided into 3 groups based upon the size of the population they served. Tweets were coded as: a) being about the organization itself, or b) addressing personal health topics. Tweets were subcategorized as including information only, follower engagement, and action.

RESULTS: Just over half of the tweets related to personal health information, and about 40% of the tweets were about the organization. Of the personal-health tweets, about 60% involved factual information and 40% encouraged reader action. About a third of the tweets about the organization tried to engage followers in conversation. Small LHDs were more likely to tweet about their organization, less likely to recognize other organizations, less likely to post personal health related information, and less likely to encourage readers take action on improving their lifestyle.

CONCLUSIONS: LHDs primarily use Twitter to post one-way communications, will less focus on engaging their audiences in conversation or encouraging health related actions.

J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e177

November 24, 2014

Telemedicine Organizations

Here is a partial list of organizations providing telemedicine services


Guidelines for the Practice of Telemedicine by Physicians

The  Federation of State Medical Boards has created a draft report titled "Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine - a Report of the State Medical Boards’ Appropriate Regulation of Telemedicine (SMART) Workgroup."

The key items listed in the draft report:
  • The identity of the provider and patient must be clearly established.
  • The provider must be appropriately licensed in the state where the patient is located.
  • A patient-doctor relationship must be established
  • Follow-up and emergency care must be arranged.
  • Appropriate informed consent.
  • Medical record keeping
  • Patient privacy needs to be maintained
This is a good place to start when looking into the utilization of telemedicine and is an important reference.

Read the draft report here


November 20, 2014

Facebook and Adolescent Dating Violence

A Formative Evaluation of Social Media Campaign to Reduce Adolescent Dating Violence.
Authors: Lambert DN, Bishop LE, Guetig S, Frew PM

QUESTION: can Facebook help reduce adolescent dating abuse among 11-14 year olds?

OBJECTIVE: to determine if an online media campaign utilizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and Pinterest would reach the intended audience.

METHODS: web analytics provided user information and traffic patterns.

RESULTS: Facebook was the highest rated social media platform, but the campaign reach was primarily outside of the target of 11- 14 year olds. The campaign primarily reached women (76.5% of viewership) who were outside of the range of 11-14 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS: this online media campaign targeting young adolescents primarily reached people outside the target group.

JMIR Res Protoc. 2014;3(4):e64