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Next #hcsmca chat

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

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.

The Celebrity Effect – Who Wins and Who Loses?

August 18, 2015

Celebrities influence – whether we like or not. They have large followings on social media and when they endorse, make a plea or proclaim something, people listen. In health and social media, there are countless examples of celebrity influence doing good and doing harm.

Doing good

Take for example the Helene Campbell effect. Campbell, before receiving a double lung transplant, asked friends to help her raise awareness about organ and tissue donations through a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #beanorgandonor. Her ultimate goal was to reach celebrity Canadian Justin Bieber. When he tweeted about her website and story, organ donations skyrocketed. Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network had to scramble to accommodate the sudden increase in traffic to their website and donor pledges. A good problem to have and they set to work to keep the Helene effect going.

Clara Hughes, Canadian Olympic speedskater and cyclist, has lent her name, fame, energy and sweat to help reduce the stigma of mental health, partnering with Bell Canada on #BellLetsTalk Day. Bell launched the campaign in 2010 and over the 5 years has donated more than $73 million to Canadian mental health initiatives. Several other celebrities have become spokepersons. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness and ending stigma surrounding mental health issues. #hcsmca talked about the campaign in 2013 and asked What good did it do?

Doing harm

But there are 2 sides to every coin. In recent news, the US Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to the pharmaceutical company Duchesnay after Kim Kardashian touts morning-sickness drug.

And what about when celebrities take it upon themselves to proclaim health benefits of lifestyle choices based on pseudo-science? Author and health policy expert Timothy Caulfield debunks celebrity health trends, from gluten-free diets to colon cleanses.

When #hcsmca returns on Wednesday, August 17 at 1pm ET (time zone converter), we’ll examine the good, bad and ugly of celebrity influence on public health via social media.

  • T1: How have you been influenced (for better or worse) by celebrity in health decisions?
  • T2: How has celebrity influence helped or harmed your cause?
  • T3: Can physicians or medical experts play a role as health ‘celebrities’?

What questions would you like to explore during the chat? Tweet me at @colleen_young.

Unpacking Privacy

July 22, 2015

We are flipping our #Medx 2015 panel Privacy: preventing harm or innovation? This is the second blog in the series by Jodi Sperber (@jsperber), Pam Ressler (@pamressler) Colleen Young(@colleen_young), Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox), and Wendy Sue Swanson (@SeattleMamaDoc). 

This post was originally published on Pam Ressler, R.N. 

by Pamela Ressler @pamressler

Headshot Pam ResslerPrivacy is an ambiguous, powerful concept that, while meant to protect individuals, often shuts down useful conversations and innovations. As we continue to unpack our #MedX topic, Privacy: Preventing Harm or Innovation, by flipping the panel and actively engaging conversations I am struck by the notion that perhaps the word privacy does not fully address what we are examining in the context of social media and online communities.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines privacy as “the state of being alone: the state of being away from other people: the state of being away from public attention.” If we are engaging in online communities can or should we expect privacy?

Jodi (@jsperber) pondered in her initial #MedX panel post, What’s Your Relationship with Privacy…Um it’s Complicated, that when we use the term privacy in this context, are really responding to a lack of control of the dissemination of the information we are sharing? Perhaps this is rooted in the difference between privacy and confidentiality. Confidentiality refers to the ethical grounding of the patient-provider relationship. Information shared is not divulged without the express understanding of both parties. Are we uncomfortable with the perceived violation of this ethical concept  when we openly share health experiences in the public forum of social media? Do the benefits of connection outweigh the risks of information sharing? Is our digital footprint truly controllable?

In 2011, when my  Tufts University School of Medicine colleagues and I surveyed patient bloggers in Communicating the Experience of Chronic Pain and Illness through Blogging, we found the majority of bloggers chose to publish their blogs on public, openly searchable platforms (such as Blogger, WordPress). These blogs were frequently shared and read by friends and family, and potentially a broader audience of unknown readers. The issue of privacy/confidentiality did not seem to be as prominent as it is today. Did the controlled ability of blogging; being able to edit, revise and then share  lend a level of perceived privacy even though the information shared resided in a public space? Was there an unstated expectation of confidentiality between blogger and her/his audience? Has the increased prevalence of social media and online sharing changed our perception of the concepts of privacy or confidentiality?  It is interesting to consider whether participation in online communities and the rapid, real time conversations in spaces such as Twitter or Facebook feels more vulnerable and public than the more controlled method of blogging.  Do online communities and real time digital interaction with others support the benefit of group empathy but at the same time expose participants to increased fear and vulnerability?

PrivacyAs the ability to connect through social media evolves,  in health information sharing and creating more personalized medical systems,  let us begin to unpack privacy by examining and investigating broadly this elusive, ambiguous, powerful concept.

Do we have you hooked on this topic yet? We are thrilled to throw open our sandbox to those who want to think, discuss and create with us. This is the essence of a flipped panel. The conversation continues and evolves  through each interaction… please join us, Colleen Young (@colleen_young), Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox), Wendy Sue Swanson (@SeattleMamaDoc), Jodi Sperber (@jsperber) and me, Pam Ressler (@pamressler). We will be using the hashtag #MedX.

Chat Summary 228: What’s Your Relationship with Privacy

July 16, 2015

This week’s #hcsmca discussion focused on the hotly debated topic of privacy in the digital age as. Jodi Sperber set the stage with her blog post What’s your relationship with privacy? Um, it’s complicated.

This chat kick-started the 2015 #MedX flipped panel on the same topic. #MedX 2015 panelists Susannah Fox, Pamela Ressler, Jodi Sperber, Wendy Sue Swanson and Colleen Young are “flipping the panel” by sharing resources and starting the discussion early online.

Read this if you’re unfamiliar with flipped teaching.

Today’s #hcsmca participants supplied much fodder to reflect upon, resources to read and perspectives to bring to the #MedX stage and beyond.

Amy Snow (@ayms219) prepared this Storify summary of chat 228.

keyboard image of privacyRead the chat 228 transcript. Got something to add? Post a comment.

#hcsmca Open Mic – July 8

July 8, 2015

Today on #hcsmca it’s open mic. No theme, no guest host. Simply ask your questions, share what you’re working on, make summer reading recommendations or discuss topics of interest in the news.

Here are a couple of newsworthy stories that were shared on #hcsmca this week that might get the conversation started.

Ontario is inviting people across the province to share their ideas on what skills, experience and personality traits they would like to see in the province’s first Patient Ombudsman.

CMA provides a guide to give physicians basic information about how to assess a mobile health application to decide whether to recommend it to a patient in the management of that patient’s health, health care, and health care information.

While at a conference in Switzerland Deb Maskens shared this slide why social media matters to patient organizations.

And @Sermo announces that its community is now open to Canadian #doctors, but doesn’t use the #hcsmca hashtag to spread the word. @lenstarnes brought the story to us and provided commentary.

Join #hcsmca today July 8 at 1pm ET (time zone converter) to discuss these and your stories and questions.

  • T1: What do you think about Ontario’s call for a Patient Ombudsman? Sermo MD community announcing it’s open to Cdn docs?
  • T2: Are you taking a social media break for your summer holidays?
  • T3: Any summer recommended reads?

Chat 225 Summary: Infoway plans Digital Health Week with #hcsmca

June 23, 2015

On June 17, 2015, Canada Health Infoway (@infoway) asked #hcsmca-ers to help shape Digital Health Week 2015, which takes place November 16-22. We, along with co-host Pat Rich (@cmaer), talked about goals, calls to action and ways to encourage meaningful participation. Read transcript 225 to get all the details.

Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg (@HahnGoldberg) captured the chat in this infographic.

Infographic of #hcsmca chat 225

Graphic prepared by Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg