From Patients on Facebook to WiFi Enabled Asthma Inhalers

In the USA, birthplace of most of these technological advances, various associations of health-care professionals are starting to issue codes of conduct when dealing with new digital media. Other countries, such as the UK, Canada, and Australia, are also debating what rules should be set. But some doctors believe such codes will have to evolve and adapt as younger generations, used to living an online life from an early age, start to dominate health care and to teach subsequent waves of professionals.

  • TEDxPugetSound – Stephen Friend, MD, PhD – True Crowd Sourcing of Medicine: Activating All of Us

But I find the element of human support to be important.  For example, recently the FDA issued a black box warning for the concomitant use of Remicade and 6-MP.  My representative visited to be sure that I was aware of the changes in the product insert.  Sure the information was in my mailbox – along with 6 inches of pulp spam.  It’s basic attenionomics: I’m more likely to hear a person than a letter.

If your asthma is acting up, you’re probably not the only one. But unless you’re standing next to someone who is also huffing his or her inhaler, you wouldn’t know it. That’s a problem for epidemiologists who do their best work when they’re buried in data, and it’s exactly the problem a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researcher aims to solve with a GPS- and WiFi-enabled inhaler.

For the past nine years, this column has presented medical mysteries that doctors eventually solve. Recently, we tried something different: posting a tough-to-diagnose case on and challenging readers to try to figure out what was wrong with the patient. More than 1,300 people responded with a lively combination of questions and answers. Now, you can try to crack the case and follow the crowd-sourced medical conversation.

  • NeoTake: A great e-book search engine for medical books as well