Pharmacy students’ perceptions of Web 2.0 tools in education

A new journal, Future Learning, launched this year aims to provide “the current best thinking, research, and innovation for the effective utilization of technology for educators in higher education, professional education, workplace learning, continuing education, and life-long learning”. The inaugural special issue was on Social Media and Learning, and I am happy to have been able to help contribute an article to it.  That issue (and hence our article, “Thematic analysis of pharmacy students’ perceptions of Web 2.0 tools and preferences for integration in educational delivery”) can be accessed for free via the journal’s download form here. Alternately, all abstracts from the issue can be read here. The journal arena is a crowded one, but I have high hopes for this effort by editor Dr. Lisa Gulatieri (@LisaGulatieri) and their Board.

@kevinclauson

 

Social Media & the Role of the Patient

Our College of Pharmacy recently held its annual student seminar night. A semester’s worth of P3 student work culminated in over 100 podium and poster presentations. There were a number of outstanding student efforts; however, I am featuring this one is it fits the theme of the blog and the student group made it available on Slideshare. The work represents their preliminary analysis and has some interesting findings. Congrats to them and to all of our students. I look forward to seeing a final version of this and several others at the FSHP Annual Meeting.

@kevinclauson

Intersection of social media and research

There are a number of initiatives, sites, and platforms trying to capitalize on the power of social media and social networking to enhance research efforts. A few of them are ResearchGate, Health InnoVation Exchange (HIVE), and VIVO.  Each offers something a bit different; for a full list of ‘biomedical communities’ check out this excellent resource by @Berci Mesko.

Aside from those ‘communities’, can social media enhance research?  For me, the answer is a resounding yes.  I have both observed and directly benefitted via plenty of resources.  Here is a random sample: a source of support for grad students that hosts data sets, actual datasets made freely available for conducting research, a how-to for using Facebook to recruit survey participants,  and a prelim study on use of Facebook for health education.

However, for me, the clearest benefit has been from social networking tools; chief among those is Twitter.  It has helped my research by: 1) connecting me to people with complementary expertise for collaborating on research projects, 2) exposing me to different types of expertise and ways to approach problem solving for research, and 3) creating a filtered source of relevant information about research.

It’s that last item that I want to focus on.  A little over six months ago, I saw a tweet from @mindofandre (who has the excellent Pulse+Signal) announcing a RFP for the Mobilizing for Health grant by the McKesson Foundation.  For some reason, I did not see that RFP on my Community of Science alerts, or any of the other resources I use to stay informed on grant opportunities.  Thankfully, I did see it on Twitter.  It looked like a great match for a study our mHealth group wanted to conduct. Fast-forward 6 months and past lots of heavy lifting by my colleagues, and we are very happy we’ll be able to conduct that study as ours was one of the proposals funded!  Now that I think of it, Andre was the person who put us into touch with several other mHealth researchers about 10 months prior to that as well – quite the Gladwellian Connector, that one.  In any event, this is just one example of the intersection of social media and research.  The tools are there, you just have to use them.

Oh, and in the best pay-it-forward tradition, here are two outstanding mHealth research-related opportunities:

  1. NIH/OBSSR mHealth Summer Institute where early career investigators will get an intensive weeklong experience to learn about mHealth research. (Deadline extended until March 10)
  2. The new cycle for the McKesson Foundation Mobilizing for Health grant has begun and Letters of Intent are due on April 1, 2011.

I’d love to hear any examples of how social media has impacted your research – by creating opportunities, informing you, using it as a tool to collect data, connecting you with potential collaborators, etc.

@kevinclauson

If this level of creativity could only be used for ‘good’

The 10th annual ePharma Summit was held over the last few days in NY.  I was interested due to some of the scheduled speakers but could not make it, so I dipped in and out of the virtual conference stream as possible and found some pretty worthwhile content in there.  The most convenient way to follow was via #ePharma on Twitter, but the conference site also did a pretty good job of posting videos (although the audio was almost inaudible at times) and other information.

What ultimately prompted me to blog about it was a tweet (via @WendyBlackburn & @pjmachado) about a parody video produced by Kevin Nalty (@nalts) [see below].  It just struck me as creative, funny, and very strong work…and it made me think how great it would be if that kind of creativity could be unleashed to design social media/mobile/any type of health-related content aimed at informing, educating, and empowering patients.  Yes, the creativity behind this video is being used for ‘good’, but minus the shackles it could be used for a much greater ‘good’.  I think that social media, in particular, has a lot to offer on this front and it is unfortunate that the regulatory environment is such that this is largely not possible right now.  There have been some efforts along these lines and there was even a preliminary paper just published on the use of Facebook to deliver HIV education.  However, there remains a long way to go – and I’m not just talking about ‘official guidance’ in a single arena. 

More anon, for now…I hope you enjoy the video.

@kevinclauson

Note: If you click on the video it may say it is restricted on certain sites as it contains content from Universal Music Group and must be played on You Tube…so you can click ‘Watch on YouTube’ to play or go to the epharmify Channel to view it.

Medicine 2.0’11 at Stanford – Call for Abstracts

The Medicine 2.0 World Congress on Social Media and Web 2.0 in Health, Medicine, and Biomedical Sciences is one of the most valuable conferences I have ever attended.  It has been the meeting in this arena with the clearest focus on actual research and evidence for Medicine 2.0 issues and also offers the best opportunity to connect with other researchers, clinicians, e-patients, business and policy people.  In fact, the very first Medicine 2.0 Congress was where I was introduced to (and/or first met IRL) so many people who went on to become research collaborators, colleagues, and friends. 

In the spirit of that original meeting, I am excited for this year’s Medicine 2.0 at Stanford (September 16-18, 2011).  I have always appreciated the fact that Medicine 2.0 has truly been an international gathering, but am happy to see that it is coming to the United States for the first time.  I am also eager to see another first,  the one-day Stanford Summit at Medicine 2.0, which will directly precede the Medicine 2.0 Congress.  The Summit is lining up to have an incredible array of moderators and panelists.

Given the quality of the attendees and the opportunities for discussion/dissemination of your research (and networking), if you are working in this field I would strongly urge you to respond to the Call for Abstracts, Presentations, Interactive Demos, Startup Pitches and Panel Proposals for Medicine 2.0 at Stanford.  The deadline for submission is a (rapidly approaching) March 1st, 2011.  You can click on the link for the Call or start the process by watching the overview below by this year’s Conference organizer, Dr. Larry Chu.  Also, feel free to contact me with any questions and I look forward to seeing you there!

@kevinclauson

Medicine 2.0 Call for Abstracts from Larry Chu on Vimeo.

Soapbox 2.0: Use of blogs by pharmacists

I saw a tweet by John @Poikonen that alerted me to the fact that a second article in as many weeks has been published on pharmacy and blogs.  Two pharmacy students (Justin Elkins and Chilla Goncz) and I authored “Use of blogs by pharmacists“, which appears in the new issue of the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy.  We identified all blogs that were pharmacist-authored, active (i.e. posts in the last 3 months), and written in English.  Blogs focused on pharmacy, but not written by a pharmacist were excluded.  Forty-four blogs were identified that fit those criteria.  We used the most recent 5 posts to assess the blogs based on six categories (e.g. practice based topics, identifying information, positive language, critical language, professionalism and miscellaneous). 

Most pharmacist blogs (68%) were written anonymously (versus 43% in Lagu’s study of physician and nurse blogs).  Pharmacist bloggers were equally represented by community (43%) and non-community settings (43%); the practice settings of the remainder were indeterminable.  These blogs most commonly used positive language to describe the profession (32%), other health care professionals (25%), and patients (25%).  Critical language was more commonly observed in descriptions of patients (57%); almost half of all posts contained profane or explicit language (48%). 

Most of the blogs (71%) contained mentions of pharmacologic therapies and current healthcare events (66%).  We also noted that 25% of these bloggers had a Twitter account (relative to 11% of the general population in the same timeframe per Pew).  Out of the 11 pharmacist blogs that were ranked by Technorati, all but two were primarily of a ‘ranting’ nature (e.g. Angry Pharmacist, Angriest Pharmacist, Your Pharmacist May Hate You).  Interestingly, the only two ranked, but non-ranting blogs were written by non-US pharmacists. 

Our full AJHP article lists all of the 44 blogs and while it is not open access, my hope is that via ASHP Connect and rapid response that this list of pharmacist blogs can be updated and curated using our article as a starting point.   

@kevinclauson

Analysis of pharmacy-centric blogs

We’ve seen analyses of blogs by physicians & nurses [1], medical bloggers [2], etc.  However, the excellent article “Analysis of pharmacy-centric blogs: Types, discourse themes, and issues” by Jeff Cain (@jjcain00) is the first analysis of pharmacy-centric blogs.  It appears in the the new issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association and presents a balanced view of the pharmacy blogosphere.  It found that social media promotes transparency (except for authorship).  It also recognized that the degree of disinhibiton in the Web 2.0 world may have contributed to a substantial number of these blogs containing negative content about patients, pharmacy, and other healthcare professionals.  Cain and Dillon categorized 136 pharmacy-related blogs into: news, personal views, student oriented, career focused, etc.  Blog posts were also scored as positive (e.g. demonstrating empathy, supplying helpful drug information), negative (e.g. complaints, foul language), or neutral.  Cain and Dillon asserted that despite three of the top four blog themes being negative, these blogs likely had no real impact on the public perception of pharmacy as their readership “likely does not extend beyond the personal acquaintances of the bloggers and others in the profession”.  Overall, they found a variety of blog types with a preponderance of negative and derogatory posts.  Some primarily positive ones were identified as well.  The authors suggested the personal view blogs may be best used to educate student pharmacists and the profession about issues they will face.

@kevinclauson

[1] Lagu T, Kaufman EJ, Asch DA, Armstrong K. Content of weblogs written by health professionals. J Gen Intern Med 2008;23(10):1642-6.
[2] Kovic I, Lulic I, Brumini G. Examining the medical blogosphere: an online survey of medical bloggers. J Med Internet Res 2008;10(3):e28.

Three Perspectives on Using Twitter

Recently I have seen another round of the cyclical deluge of posts, pointers, and tips telling people what Twitter is meant for and ‘instructing’ them how they should use it. Most of this advice is invariably wrong simply because there is no certain way that Twitter should be used. It is impossible. Even Twitter doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up yet.

However, there are three perpectives about using Twitter that I believe have real merit.  The ties that bind all three are that each touches on a range of uses for Twitter and the tones are personalized and/or contemplative, rather than authoritative.

1. How I Use Twitter as a Killer Filtering App by @Doctor_V [Nov 3, 2010]
    Concise, clean approach that recognizes the fluid nature of the tool and how it can be employed

2. Twitter: filter, suggestion box, idea machine, window by @SusannahFox [Oct 18, 2010]
     Four featured functions of Twitter including example accounts that support each method used

Both of those posts, like all good blog posts, have a number of comments that really add value.  The third perspective is…well, it’s a little different.  I first watched it on my phone and felt like I was watching a cross between Phil Laak and Mike Caro. @AndrewSpong aptly characterized it as “structured free association”.  Just keep your hands inside the car and hang on for the ride that is:

3. The Four Modes of Twitter: Focused, Filtered, Serendipitous and Random by @PhilBaumann via @HealthIsSocial [Oct 29/Nov 4 2010]

I have collected these three perspectives here as a resource for those trying to figure out if it makes sense for them to use Twitter or those trying to get a better idea of Twitter’s utility or lack thereof. The first two perspectives are particularly well-suited for healthcare professionals, researchers, academicians, and students. The third offers more of a James Joyce exploration of the potential of Twitter and is not for the faint of heart. I believe all three have value and hope you find the same.

@kevinclauson

Stargazing at Digital Pharma East

I am really looking forward to the 4th Annual Digital Pharma East coming up on October 18th in Philadelphia.  In addition to presenting, I plan to do some major stargazing while I am there.  I don’t mean ‘star’ in the manner of the cult of celebrity.  I am defining stars as people who have something really valuable and/or interesting to say.  It feels a little mercenary to go with the express intent of cherry picking knowledge from experts given the themes around sharing – but I guess that’s just part of the allure.

I’m also very much looking forward to reconnecting with Berci Mesko (@Berci) who I have not seen in a couple years, talking shop with social media flag bearer Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) who will likely be pressed for time from Co-chairing the event, having a face-to-face chat with Phil Baumann (@PhilBaumann) whose mind works unlike any other I’ve encountered in this space, meeting Gilles Frydman (@gfry) who is the final piece of the ePatient trinity, as well as Shwen Gwee (@shwen) who has both tweet cred and does great work.

In addition to those folks, I may be most eager to see presentations by representatives from Comscore and Within3, along with Cluetrain Manifesto author Doc Searls and futurist Ian Morrison.  Needless to say, I am planning to see every single presentation on the final day, which is dedicated to mobile/mHealth.  The rest of the time, it’s just a question of which Stream.  Finally, I am curious to see how the unconference activities and #SocPharm sessions play out relative to previous HealthCamp events I’ve seen.

As for me, I’ll be presenting “Social Media Research: Partnering with Academia”.  The link to the slides on the Digital Pharma conference site will be provided here after the presentation and will be available beyond that at SlideShare as per.  I’m curious to see the reception given that the composition of the audience is pretty different than who I have been interacting with recently.  I definitely have a (relatively) longstanding interest in the subject as one of the first articles we published on the topic was “Legal and regulatory risk associated with Web 2.0 adoption by pharmaceutical companies” in the Journal of Medical Marketing.  We’ve also published several other studies on interactions between different healthcare professionals and representatives from Pharma.  Ultimately, I am banking on the fact that I actually do what I will be talking about and have some concrete takeaways for those interested in the topic.  I’m also optimistic that using an audience response system and building in time for discussion will help make it legitimately interactive.  We shall see.

Overall, I am looking forward to reconnecting and making new connections, planting the seeds for future research collaborations, and learning from area experts that are rarely available in this concentration.  I hope to see you there, hear your thoughts, or cross paths via #DigPharm (or whatever the hashtag ends up being)!

@kevinclauson

Digital Participation Guidelines and Social Media Policies

Social Media Governance,  by Chris Boudreaux (@cboudreaux), maintains a list of companies with linkable social media guidelines and/or policies.  He currently has 154 company entries in his database ranging from Ford Motor Company to The Ohio State Medical Center to MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

The topic of corporate and company social media guidelines and policies seems to be coming across my desk more often of late.  Although the Scribd (i.e., ‘social publishing ‘ site) item above is only a summary document with the friendly title “Digital Participation Guidelines” and not from a company focused on healthcare, it is still instructive.  I like the emphasis on transparency and in putting employees in a position to succeed when ‘participating digitally’.  The guidelines are promising in doing the following things:

  1. Recognizing employees’ propensity to make mistakes and trying to help them be proactive in avoiding them.
  2. Providing a clear idea of what circumstances support an individual employee’s qualified comments versus mandating a higher level response.
  3. Reiterating that digital now equals permanent.
  4. Encouraging collegiality and courtesy in communications.

Granted, from a legal perspective, they can be considered a little vague – but to be fair they spell that out along with the link to their more detailed, internal docs on the topic. 

A more formal example is from the Ohio State University Medical Center (OSUMC).


I also like this more detailed breakdown of institutional and personal use by OSUMC.  A particularly useful example it provides is when an employee creates a personal blog on their own time but mentions or describes themselves “in their OSUMC roles”.  Despite all other aspects being ‘personal’, once that staff member introduces OSUMC employeement into the equation on their blog, that blog is then “governed by the Social Media Participation Policy” of OSUMC even though it also carries the required, “The views expressed here are my own and not those of my employer” statement.

Another great resource is the CDC Social Media Tools Guidelines and Best Practices.  It actually has a breakdown by tool (e.g., Microblogs, YouTube, SMS) with separate documents covering each.

Bottom line: if you are using any social media/Web 2.0 tools and have mentioned or plan on mentioning your place of employment, you would be well-served to check and see if your institution has any social media guidelines or digital participation policies.  Even if they don’t (yet), conducting yourself as if they do and following common conventions in those spaces would not be a bad idea.  I suspect we may eventually see that social media policy training will be as universal as the sessions we get now on HIPAA and sexual harassment.  It may just take a major lawsuit to cross that barrier – here’s hoping it’s none of us that make history in that manner!

@kevinclauson