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Best Tech Medicine Posts of 2008 (Part 1)

New Years 2008Image by satosphere via Flickr
Happy New Year. The following is a collection of the best posts from Tech Medicine in 2008.

Take a Contract out on Yourself on StickK.com
And this is where it gets even more interesting. Let's say you support gun control. So you tell StickK that if you don’t accomplish your goal, you want all the money you’ve put down to go to the National Rifle Association. (Conversely, if you are against gun control, the money could go to the Fund to Stop Gun Violence.)
Is it better if your heart stops in a mall?
So what's the implication? You're better off arresting in a crowded mall with an automatic defibrillator nearby than you are in a hospital with trained personnel?
Post-Surgery Rounding by Robots as Good as Rounding by Actual Humans
Surprisingly, the study showed that between the two groups -- human-rounding vs. robot-rounding -- there was no difference in complication rates, length of hospital stay, and patient satisfaction.
Plans for Microsoft's HealthVault, a Personal Health Record
PHRs have the potential, at least in theory, to significantly improve communication between doctors, hospitals, and patients. The ideas is that patients and participating health providers can enter data into an online database. All the information in this database -- including allergies, medical conditions, medications, and laboratory results -- would be available to any provider who needed it. No more fumbling with handwritten lists of medications or calls to doctors offices to obtain a patients medical history. Ideally, all this information should be easily and securely available to any healthcare provider, anytime. (For an example of how this might work in the case of a patient presenting with a heart attack, see this article from the American Academy of Family Physicians.)
Medicare (and now other Insurers) will no longer pay for "Preventable Hospital Errors"
On the other hand, these complications are only potentially preventable. Even after following best practices, there are certain conditions -- like lower extremity blood clots, intravenous and urinary catheter infections , and C. Diff colitis -- that are likely to happen in the sickest hospital patients. Viewed another way, these rules are just another way of reducing payments to hospitals that are already on shaky grounds financially. Invariably, the list of uncovered medical conditions will grow to include many situations that may not "reasonably have been prevented," but for which insurance companies would simply prefer not to pay.
Google Book Search and Medical Education
Initially modest, the project has evolved into a screamingly useful, many-headed creature built on a massive body of books — and I mean massive, as in the complete searchable text of several university libraries. Google Book Search also includes lots of extras, including links to book reviews, references on websites, references from other books, and Google Maps of every place each book mentions.
The Physician Success Strategies Conference: What Can Doctors Learn From Consultants?
Many of my colleagues and I have experienced our desks disappearing under a pile of papers and charts, suddenly realizing that we’re an hour and a half behind schedule in the office, or finishing our workday to discover that we still have a stack of urgent messages that need answering. And physicians, almost universally, have been forced to see more patients, more quickly, yet are reimbursed less for their efforts.
Eavesdrop on Doctors and Medical Students on Twitter
Twitter is an instant messaging service, a microblog, a social networking phenomenon, a chatroom, the best crowdsourcing utility ever invented, or a colossal waste of time — depending on who you ask.
Slideshare and the Lifehacks for Doctors Presentation
Life hacks are productivity strategies that solve everyday problems — especially problems related to information overload. Slideshare featured Life Hacks for Doctors on their home page. In a week, it was viewed over 1300 times. The service also features tagging and searching for presentations, and it allows you to create your own groups, for example, Improving Medical Practice and Health 2.0. Slideshows occupy a singular category of knowledge. The results of a Slideshare search are qualitatively different from what you'd find from searching Google or YouTube. Here's the best way I can describe it: the presentations on Slideshare are concentrated, surfable bursts of thought.
My Experience Creating a Medical Wiki
I recently decided to start a new medical wiki — The Efficient MD Wiki, focused on productivity tips for doctors — and I took this opportunity to review some of the available wiki platforms and hosting services. It was a daunting task. I'll share my experiences here for those interested in starting their own wiki.

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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.