Should doctors use their real names on social media?

Generally speaking, news editors rarely accept for publication any letters to the editor that are submitted anonymously. To do so would merely encourage the trolls to spew forth.  Discouraging anonymity is a good thing, I believe, because the jerk-to-normal person ratio out there is already perilously high even without encouragement. For example, the Toronto Star – unless agreeing to specific requests to protect confidentiality for valid reasons –  is just one of many that advise readers:

“Letters to the editor must include the writer’s full name – anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters.”

And imagine what would happen if The Star or other media outlets let us just willy-nilly vent publicly under fake names whenever we like.

Oh. Wait a minute. That’s already allowed, and it’s called social media.   Continue reading

Texting at funerals

Dr. Sherry Turkle is worried.  The MIT prof (and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other) told an interviewer from The Verge recently that one of her main concerns is how to get families to talk to each other at the dinner table – instead of texting. What also concerns her is that young people may think of communication as being a Like button.

“People are texting at funerals! (Only during the boring bits, they protest).  But things worth doing (like grassroots political campaigning) often require boring bits. For good stuff to happen, people need to talk to each other.”  Continue reading

Smartphones make Top 10 Health Tech Hazards List

Congratulations, smartphones! You finally made the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list this year. The list is an annual compilation of the top hazards caused by technology used in health care, based on the prevalence and severity of incidents reported to the ECRI Institute, a non-profit patient safety organization.  The most common hazards on the list include dangers like radiation burns during diagnostic radiology procedures, or surgical fires, or patient monitoring alarms that fail to go off.

But for the first time ever, “caregiver distraction from smartphones and other mobile devices” has made this Top 10 list of patient safety hazards.  I’d offer up a high five here, but your hands might be otherwise occupied until you distracted health care providers learn how to put down the damned phone while you’re supposed to be caring for your patients. Continue reading