August 22, 2009

Gary Schwitzer at the Schwitzer health news blog calls for the end of Twittering surgeries:

What mysteries of surgery will be revealed? And the worry of surgery? Maybe patients SHOULD be worried about surgery being done while TV and Twitter are going on in the background.

And regarding the “new way to keep patients’ families informed” — no thanks. Good old fashioned face-to-face talking about risks and benefits, about evidence, and about alternatives is good enough for me. Better for me than “dialogue” 140 characters at a time.

Let’s stop the live Twitter marketing, er, surgery.

I don’t want to hear details of a prostatectomy via Twitter. I don’t want to to hear about laser toenail fungus removal via Twitter.

I do want to hear more discussion about the need for real and meaningful health care reform.

The Tweets from the operating room do have a gimicky marketing feel.  But it’s a new technology and health care organizations are just starting to explore its opportunities.  Will it serve a useful purpose in the future?

Maybe.  But it’s hard to argue when at current growth rates “everyone in the US will have a Twitter account by August 22 of this year,” writes Ross Dawson at Trends in the Living Networks.

This comScore data, tracking unique U.S. visitors to Twitter, is astounding:

Twitter Trend Report

As for the health reform discussion, there are some meaningful health care reform conversations happening on Twitter.  Smart individuals who likely would have a reduced voice on the matter without such a platform are sharing their insights daily.  Start here.

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