What if Sir William Osler had Tweeted?

(ED: For the lead in Social Media in Medicine, look to the hospitals  of the Mayo Brothers, the Mayo Clinic)

Please watch this inspiring Youth@Manchester talk entitled “If Mandela Had Tweeted” by Jonathan MacDonald in which he opens up by talking about how an online rally with a blog, facebook group and twitter campaign managed to raised £300k within just 8 weeks for his son’s school friend Robyn Higgins to be treated in the USA for a Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

From his experience helping with this effort Jonathan posed the question of how communication technologies are making the seemingly impossible possible and asked the audience to consider what might have happened if some of our political leaders from the past had access to these powerful tools. Of course it got me thinking – you’d have to be bereft of humanity if it didn’t! – what if the people who changed the world of medicine actually had the communicative tools and technologies that we have in our hands today? What else could have taken place?

Well for Sir William Osler who taught the world of medicine about the importance of taking a good history (amongst many other things) I think it would be a patient tool that gathered and immortalised the knowledge and experiences of the worlds best Doctors and gave patients access to history taking tools that would help best prepare them for consultations, ensure the Doctors they consult with are fully informed and that the whole process is documented so that it’s efficient and we can learn from these interactions.

Every time I look at an implementation of Instant Medical History on a mobile device I think we’re looking at the answer to this particular “what would have happened?” …the only question that remains is why you’re not yet using it with your Doctor or your Patients?

Click here to watch John Bachman MD, Professor of Family Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, explaining how he’s using interactive patient history taking questionnaires to improve care and effectively engage with patients online.


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