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Next #hcsmca chat

Wednesday October 7, 2015 at 1pm ET (2pm AT, noon CT, 11am MT, 10am PT)
hcsmca = Health Care Social Media Canada more info >>

Presenting at Stanford Medicine X

September 21, 2015

I’m excited to be returning to Stanford Medicine X (Sept. 25-27) this year to speak on a panel with Susannah Fox, Pam ResslerWendy Sue Swanson and Jodi Sperber. In our session Privacy: Preventing Harm or Innovation we will examine the nuances of privacy and hopefully inspire people to rethink and reframe privacy wit respect to online communities.

All mainstage talks will be livestreamed. We’ll be on air Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1pm ET (10am PT).

Medx poster

Here are some of the points I hope to cover. But you know how it is. One never knows exactly how the conversation will unfold.

  • For many people, sharing about their health online trumps conventional concerns about privacy. Each person weighs the benefits and risks arriving at their own “privacy calculus”.[1]
  • We need to ask what motivates people to share about their health online. Usually it is because they do not have people who understand how they feel or who share their experience within a reasonable geographic proximity, they cannot access their medical team, and/or they need to tap into a wider collective knowledge – faster.
  • Patients and caregivers who share about their health in online communities told me that they agree with Westin’s concept of privacy: The right to privacy is the individual’s ability to determine when, how, and to what extent information can be shared.[2]
  • How might we re-imagine privacy in terms of confidentiality, security, anonymity, vulnerability, norms of interaction and respect?
  • Discovering that they are not alone and that they are helping others are the prime motivations that drive people to share about their health in online communities. As members feel they matter within the community – that they can be influenced and influence – they satisfy their own needs as well as meet the community’s needs.[3]
  • Self disclosure conversations are the precious threads that weave the fabric of a successful online community. As people reveal more about themselves, they make meaningful connections and build circles of trust that help them better self-manage, hack health and forge radical quality improvement pathways.
  • How might we reward the brave people who share online? Community managers can tell stories about the community and its members – what they have learned, contributed to and advanced in health care and help validate the risks members take when they share the tough stuff online.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in #hcsmca and #hcldr to help shape my thoughts and #FlipThePanel. Here’s a small sample of tweets that helped calibrate my ponderings as I prepare for #medx.

Please join the conversation online using the hashtag #medx.

Related posts


Telehealth and Virtual Care: The Next Wave!

September 17, 2015

By Mark Casselman (@markcasselman)
CEO, COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association

headshot Mark Casselman

Mark Casselman

Telehealth adoption and use is surging across Canada and in many countries around the world. A form of virtual care delivery, telehealth is bridging gaps between health professionals, improving health service delivery, empowering patients and families, and increasing access to care, particularly in remote and rural communities. Exponential growth seems slow in the early stages, and then seems to explode at a tipping point. Today, there are more people using more virtual care technologies within more innovative care delivery models than ever before. Telehealth and virtual care options are rapidly evolving across Canada – more broadly available and more technologically diverse. Increasingly, mobile health technology is replacing institution-based and desktop-based telehealth endpoints. Virtual care interactions provide greater access to specialized care options from local community and home settings.

2015 TeleHealth-Public-Cover-V3-Big

COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association recently released the 2015 Canadian Telehealth Report (spearheaded by CTF: Canada’s Telehealth Forum) with data demonstrating the strong growth in telehealth across Canada since 2012. For example, clinical sessions jumped by almost 46% to total 411,778 and close to 42% more endpoint delivery locations, 10,351 in total, were documented. Telehealth continues to augment healthcare resources and address the growing gap between demand and capacity. As demonstrated by the report, telehealth and virtual care options are taking on a critical role within health system plans, policies and care processes as an essential method of care delivery.

As we look ahead, the future looks bright – with many opportunities and challenges. Advances in technology hold rich potential for improving access to care, empowering patients and improving outcomes. The report shows significantly more digital devices are being used to deliver care remotely via mobile health (mHealth). However, this constant evolution also means health informatics professionals face a challenging ongoing learning curve. The digital health revolution is bringing many new mHealth and virtual care solutions to the table like never before and we need to look at how to integrate this with telehealth and other elements of healthcare to achieve better health for Canadians.

As the voice of health informatics in Canada, COACH wants to hear your perspectives on addressing the opportunities and challenges related to the future of care delivery. Join the #hcsmca tweet chat on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, from 1–2 pm ET (time zone converter), to discuss questions like:

  • T1: From your perspective (pls identify), what are the top priorities in telehealth & virtual care today? Why?
  • T2: Where should we be focusing the telehealth & virtual care discussion for the future? What is your vision?
  • T3: What is one step that organizations can take to begin the journey to provide more virtual care options? Where do you start?
 2015 Canadian Telehealth Report (Download complimentary copy from this link.)
COACH Webinar: An Insider Look at the 2015 Canadian Telehealth Report

Federal Election 2015: A Vote for Health?

September 13, 2015

Almost simultaneously, yet separately, Joelle and Aurelia asked if I thought #hcsmca would be interested in talking about health and the upcoming federal election. They had never met, but agreed to collaborate on this blog post to set the stage for the chat on Sept 16 at 1pm ET. Joelle drafted the post and Aurelia gathered relevant resources. Let’s together bring many voices to the chat and get health on the election agenda.

Read the transcript of #hcsmca chat 233.

By Joelle Walker (@JoAWalker) and Aurelia Cotta (@AureliaCotta)

Joelle Walker

Joelle Walker

Aurelia Cotta

Aurelia Cotta

It’s E-35. Or more plainly put, Canada’s federal election is in 35 days. Thirty five days may not feel like very far away, but it’s actually the mid-point in the longest Canadian election campaign in modern history. This unusually long election has also changed the nature of the how campaigns are run.

Every day, parties come out with bits and pieces of their platforms, and announce new-ish commitments. So far, we haven’t seen much in the way of fully costed platforms, with the exception of the Green Party and some information on party websites which is constantly being updated. When it comes to health, information is even harder to find. It’s up to media outlets, bloggers and commentators to dig out relevant information from various sources (candidate outreach, announcements, etc). This style of campaign also means that we don’t really know what might be coming next.

For 40+ long days, the health community has been holding its breath, hoping for some (read: any) commitments related to health. They’ve been few and far between. This is puzzling because poll after poll show that health is a top issue for Canadians. In fact, a recent Ipsos poll showed that 73% of Canadian voters feel that ‘fixing healthcare’ is an absolutely crucial policy plank for parties to address in order to win their vote.

Health groups across the country have been calling for parties to make health a priority in this election since before the writ was dropped. But until now, their messages have fallen mostly on deaf ears.Sep16-15Election

Professional groups such as the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Pharmacists Association, as well as patient groups such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Diabetes Association, have all put out party platforms outlining specific priority areas.

This is a long election.

Finally, September 13 Mulcair makes the first health announcement.

We may hear from the Conservatives and the Liberals in the days to come about their vision for the health care system. But we need to engage Canadians and the health community. We all have a stake in how our healthcare system evolves.

When #hcsmca meets on Wednesday September 16th at 1pm ET (time zone converter), we’ll look at how we can mobilize Canadians to make health a priority in this upcoming federal election.

  • T1: How might we use social media to engage/mobilize the general public to make health an election issue?
  • T2: How can health groups get their issues on the political agenda, during and after an election?
  • T3: Is it appropriate for health professionals to raise political advocacy issues with patients or to encourage them to advocate for changes to the health care system?
  • T4 What health issues would you like federal parties to address in #elxn42?
  • T5: If there were one question on health asked in Thursday’s #GlobeDebate, what should it be?

What question would you add for the chat?


Related articles


Privacy: Preventing Harm or Innovation

September 7, 2015

Colleen Young:

On August 25, my fellow panelists and I were invited to flip our #MedX panel with #HCLDR. This is the blog post we wrote to set the stage for the chat. The resulting HCLDR transcript is a treasure trove of knowledge, opinion and thought leadership.

Originally posted on hcldr:

Key - nikcnameBlog post by Pam Ressler, Jodi Sperber, Wendy Sue Swanson and Colleen Young

In health, do our assumptions and experience regarding privacy prevent harm or impede innovation? This is what we will address at Stanford Medicine X in September during our panel discussion with Susannah Fox, Pam Ressler, Wendy Sue Swanson, Jodi Sperber and Colleen Young. But first, we’re flipping the panel to jump start the conversation, collecting and sharing resources (such as this Flipboard collection), and most importantly gathering knowledge from our communities like #hcsmca and #hcldr.

In July, we asked #hcsmca-ers how they define privacy, in particular on social media and the information we choose to share. Using the term “privacy calculus,” we queried how people calculate the benefit vs. risk when sharing health information online. As anticipated, the #hcsmca community had a lot of wisdom to share. (See the #hcsmca chat summary.)

View original 537 more words

That’s off Topic

September 6, 2015

By Pat Rich (@cmaer)

headshot Pat Rich

Pat Rich

Periodically, #hcsmca’s stream is swamped with tweets by members of an advocacy group supporting a certain position in health, e.g., merits of medical marijuana or petitions for a special interest group. These tweets cannot be characterized as spam or as trolling because they often voice a legitimate perspective on important issues.

However, the tweets are often not relevant to the hashtag’s purpose or particular to the chat topic under discussion at the time.

The situation also arises with medical conference and health meeting hashtags. The hashtag stream is overtaken by promotional materials or invitations to retweet a corporate name to enter a contest. Is this sage marketing to a targeted and captive audience? Or do such tweets turn away potential clients? They certainly detract from the educational intent of the hashtag.

And it’s not just hashtags. Medical and health care twitter accounts are regularly besieged by advocacy groups who feel the particular organization and its members or followers need to know ‘the truth’ about health topics such the health hazards of vaccination or the benefits of vaping.

Sept9-15 That's off Topic

While advocacy groups may be tempted to use established healthcare hashtag communities and twitter accounts to amplify their message, is it a smart way to reach people who care about health care? To regular users of the hashtag, such postings can be annoying and distracting.

On Wednesday, September 9th at 1pm ET (time zone converter), let’s discuss:

  • T1:  Is it legitimate to use an established health hashtag to advocate for an issue unrelated to the hashtag?
  • T2: How should regular users to the hashtag respond to off topic batch messages?
  • T3: If you get aggressive rebuttals from the advocates, how should you act?
  • T4: Let’s model good behaviour. What types of posts do you share or want to see on #hcsmca during the week?

Photo credit:

Does Social Media Influence Rx Habits and Choices?

August 31, 2015

September 2015, #hcsmca turns 5 year old. Hosting over 230 chats, we’ve covered a myriad of topics (#hcsmca archive). So many in fact, I often wonder if we are running out of things to discuss. Getting topic ideas from #hcsmca community members and visitors helps. #hcsmca members, people and organizations bring me ideas, we polish them, write a blog post and host the chat.

But what happens when there are no topics on deck? Well, this week I turned to #hcsm, the chat hosted by Dana Lewis since 2009. I’ve pulled a few themes from past #hcsm chat that bear revisiting. This week, we’ll talk about social media and medication and devices.

pills on computer keyboard

On Wednesday, Sept 2 at 1pm ET (time zone converter), let’s explore the influence social media may have on prescribing habits and patient treatment choices.

  • T1: Has increased info online & social media improved patient’s ability to ask or select cost effective therapies/devices? Why/not?
  • T2: Does social media have any impact on HCP’s prescription habits? For medication, devices, etc.? Why/not? Discuss.
  • T3: Do you think use of social media encourages off label use of drugs and devices? Is this bad? Why/not?

PS: Have you got a topic that we should talk about on #hcsmca? Tweet me @colleen_young.

See all the past topics and transcripts.

#hcsmca to Host a National Symposium – Come with us to #QF16

August 25, 2015

Mark your calendar! On February 24, 2016 #hcsmca will host its first National Symposium in Vancouver. At this all-day event we’ll go beyond the Twitter conversations. We’ll tackle specific issues, as determined by the #hcsmca community, and work together to put forward tangible solutions.

The #hcsmca National Symposium is part of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council’s 5th annual Quality Forum (#QF16), which takes place February 25 & 26. Over 900 people will attend the Quality Forum this year. So this is your chance to showcase your work at the Quality Forum and on Feb 24th advance healthcare solutions at the #hcsmca pre-forum Symposium.

#hcsmca and QF16

Submit an Abstract to the Quality Forum

If you are interested in attending the Symposium, we encourage you to submit a presentation abstract for the #QF16 by September 9.

You can submit as many abstracts as you like, and each abstract is limited to 300 words. Deliver a rapid fire presentation and/or display a storyboard on any topic related to providing better care for patients. To provide more opportunities to spread improvement initiatives that are just starting to break ground, you can submit abstracts into one of two categories: Seeds and sprouts.


Seeds are ideas that have just been planted. They are promising practices and emerging ways of ‘how to improve care’ that are too young to have results. The Forum is your opportunity to seek input, inspire collaboration and motivate action at an early stage.


Your initiative is a sprout if it is underway or complete with results, “how-to” tips and lessons that you can share with Forum participants. Your initiative does not have to be considered a success; failures provide valuable learning opportunities, too!

Learn more about the event at

#hcsmca Solutions Symposium

For this week’s #hcsmca chat on August 26 at 9pm ET (time zone converter), let’s get the ball rolling on ideas for the #hcsmca Symposium.

  • T1: If you had a magic wand, what issue would you like solved in health care through the social web and digital technologies?

  • T2: What would be the worst possible characteristics of a national #hcsmca symposium and lead to its failure? Have fun with this.

  • T3: What essential ingredient would make you really want to attend a national #hcsmca symposium?

PS: Scholarships and Sponsorships

We would like to provide travel and accommodation scholarships. So we need sponsors. Please ask around and/or spread the word!

  • Platinum Sponsor $2,500
  • Gold Sponsor $2,000
  • Silver Sponsor $1,500
  • Bronze Sponsor $1,000

Apply online or contact Colleen Young to find out more.