Canvas of Hope – Microscopic Art for a Cause

31 05 2009
By Robert S. Kelley - Digital Pathology Print

By Robert S. Kelley - Digital Pathology Print

The Digital Pathology Blog has posted a link to Canvas of Hope, a website started by medical students at Touro University.  The site is home to a collection of artwork created using microsocopic images of breast disease that are quite beautiful.  Each of the images is accompanied by a small explination about breast cancer for visitors to learn more about the most prevalent non-skin cancer in women.

Canvas of Hope is selling prints of the images, all proceeds of which go to the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cacner Programs.

[Thanks to Keith Kaplan for the link!]


Paging Dr. Luddite

27 05 2009
Luddites destroying a loom

Luddites destroying a loom

There have been a couple blog posts floating around the inter-tubes recently (like this one from C|Net News) concerning the digitalization of health care and the transition to EMR’s.  Some of them, however, have taken an interesting tack, pointing out that doctors, as a whole, are ‘luddites’.

What’s a luddite?  Well, according to wikipedia:

Luddite (n.): [1]A group of early 19th century English textile workers who destroyed machinery because it would harm their livelihood.
[2] (by extension) Someone who opposes technological change.

Really?  Are we that bad?
Unfortunately, we might be… 

First, granted- not everyone is technologically savvy, and granted that many doctors work well beyond the usual tenure of retirement, and those folks are less likely to be adept at mousing and typing, but in four years of medical school and two years of residency, I have definitely noticed that my peers, people in their mid-twenties and early thirties, are surprisingly lost when it comes to technology! 

Now, I want to be clear that I am not attempting to pontificate, but even in comparing my coworkers to my friends in other fields, it seems that my coworkers are less digitally adept.  Perhaps they have been more involved in other things, perhaps being up to date with technological trends is not a priority for them, but I am not sure how far you can stretch these explanations in the field of medicine.  There is no denying that now is a time of change in the field of medicine and that the field is going digital one way or another.  So it is becoming more and more imperative every day for doctors to possess some kind of basic computer literacy.

Hopefully we as a field will see the inevitable trajectory of our field and adapt accordingly, otherwise we could be in for quite a bumpy ride!

Medical Blogging ~ Hungry Hungry HIPAA

27 05 2009

DB’s Medical Rants has a post about blogging in medicine and its possible legal pitfalls with respect to patient confidentiality.  I suppose it seems obvious that you should not relay identifying information in the elevator, let alone the internet, but the point is an important one.  This is particulary true in a day and age where once something is published online, it is almost assuradly stored online in perpetuity.  Common sense aside, I think there may be an additional dimension to talking about patients on the internet.  In the elevator or the cafeteria there really is a limited audience, whereas a public blog is accessable to the world in an instant.  Now, I am not trying to down-play the importance of protecting private information, but I am trying to point out that blogging should be even more sensitive than personal conversation.

For example, awhile back I posted online about an intersting autopsy I had recently done.  The next day I received an e-mail from a nurse I did not know about how that was rude and a violation of patient rights.  When I created the post, I was sure to leave all identifying information (save for the final diagnosis) out of the post, however, since I was talking about a rare entity, I could see how the diagnosis itself could be personally identifying.  I eventually apologized and removed the post, but it raises quite a pertinent point: your sensitivity should be scaled proportionately to the prospective audience.

Just something to consider the next time you fire up your blogging engine…

Technology in Medicine from a Resident’s Perspective

27 05 2009

The Frog Design Blog has a short but interesting article about residents’ opinion of technology in medicine.  It shows some interesting perspective including that of a dentist. From the article:

iPhones in the medical field are slowly becoming more and more popular. On rounds we had a patient going for surgery and we needed to figure out whether pre-op antibiotics were needed or not.  My intern looked up the newest recommendations put out by the infectious disease society on his iphone before the attending asked him that question, and he had the answer before he got asked and looked like a superstar.

I can still remember having a palm pilot the size of an Amazon Kindle that I would lug around with me because it had ePocrates and a FENa calculator in it.  I really thought I was pretty cool back then; compare that to now, however, the new me laughs at the old me.  While I don’t regularly work on the wards, I can only imagine that the use of net-connected cell phones are playing a more and more integral role in the delivery of care to patients every day, and this article bears this notion out.

Check it out over at FrogDesign.

Path Math – A Mathematical Model Predicting Tumor Growth

27 05 2009

Keith Kaplan over at the Digital Pathology Blog posted a super-interesting blog post about two papers released by Bearer et al and Cristini et al in this month’s Cancer Research.  The papers claim to have arrived at a possible mathematical algorithm that predicts how gliomas (en vivo) and breast carcinoma (in vitro) will grow based on various morphologic characteristics.  The articles are SUPER interesting, and I highly recommend checking them out. Head over to The Digital Pathology Blog  for more info.

Conversing about Technology in Health Care – #froghealth

10 05 2009

Last Tuesday (5/5/09), San Francisco-based design company, frog design, hosted a Twitter-based conversation about the integration of technology in healthcare.  They posed series of simple questions from defining “mobile health” to what the best applications for doctors and patients might be.  The Twitter community responded overwhelmingly with a wide variety of #froghealth hash-tagged answers.  The company deemed this experiment “curated crowd-sourcing”.

Below is an example of one of the discussions:

Q2. How can a mobile device be used by a doctor in a doctor’s office?

  • hupajoob_chat: Q2) to receive notices of patients who are waiting and the severity of their needs. #froghealth
  • jfgrossen: A2 – instant notices of availability of prescribed medicines at local pharmacies #froghealth
  • mcrate_s: @frogdesign specifically for doctors offices, a mobile device with as much smarts as desktop machine can be a good space saver #froghealth
  • mebajason: what if “Patients Like Me” got so big they bought an insurance company and became the intermediary btwn patient/provider #frogHealth
  • emmazure: Q2- i think mobile devices should be used not only in the doctor’s office #froghealth
  • hplug: Apple is definitely trying to push the envelope – – perhaps chart integration? Additional Patient data #froghealth
  • mcrate_s: @mebajason i like this idea and have been a big fan of Patients Like Me since I first heard of them #froghealth
  • tr5000: Q2- Most hospitals already have PC’s is the exam rooms #froghealth
  • laurasgt: Q2: Wellness Wireless, glucometer embedded in a phone, auto tracks blood sugar, sent back to nurse at office #froghealth
  • DeannaLawrence: #froghealth Personalized monitoring/alerts Preventative simple app-UV protection/allergies-advanced monitoring chronic health conditions
  • hplug: Perhaps patient education – using Epocrates on a smartphone to show patients pill color and size, Seniors care about this. #froghealth
  • tr5000: Q2- doctors could receive test results and patient scheduling info #froghealth
  • jfreach: The transfer of scripts to patient and pharmacy. #frogHealth
  • frogdesign: I know doctors who still carry Palm PDA’s because of the medical software to help make a diagnosis #froghealth
  • babjopa: Q2 – portable access to records, patient education, drug interaction db access, wireless connectivity to med equip/devices #froghealth
  • videofred: Q2 Using a tablet PC a doctor can have access to all records of a patient, write Rx, send them to the pharm. #froghealth
  • laurasgt: Q2: the idea of “glow caps” (see URL), could be an app: (expand) #froghealth
  • paligoy: Q2: scan (photograph) skin conditions and send them to colleagues or mechanical turk for identification.
  • kaleemux: Q2 Mobile device use by doctor in office: Medical record access, diagnostic information, expert network, hospital patient alerts #frogHealth
  • babjopa: @hplug yes, and animations/visuals to explain condition – with ability to send that information to patients via their mobile #froghealth
  • laurasgt: Q2: I REALLY want doctor “signatures” through my phone for ease in getting scrips on the fly.
  • babjopa: capitalize on trend of info Rx (prescribing not just pills, but also education) via sending links from mobile device #froghealth
  • kaleemux: Q2 Mobile device use by doctor in office (cont’d): Office = anywhere mobile/wireless exists. Housecalls by necessity: Aging pop. #frogHealth
  • frogdesign: @kaleemux Great point! Completely changes the “doctor’s office”. With good mobile health much care can be delivered anywhere #froghealth

Due to its success, frog design plans to hold another Twitter forum in the near future.  Welcome to Health Care 2.0 my friends!

I suppose on the one hand, you can interpret crowd-sourcing as a lazy man’s R&D, relying on the public to come up with ideas for you, but, at the same time, the importance of the involvement of the community, aka the eventual consumers, cannot be understated.  I, for one, think this is a great idea, and am curious to see where this goes in the future…


[via DesignMind]

Camera Conundrum…

6 05 2009

I’m reaching out to the community on this one…

My department has charged me with the responsibility to purchase and help install a camera/LCD TV rig in our hematology lab to the existing 6 head Olympus scope that lives there now.  They want to be able to: (1) show live images on a screen suitable for crowd-viewing and (2) capture pictures suitable for publication.  It needs to be simple enough for everyone to use and the more parfocal, the better.  And now the fun part: I have about a 3 to 6k budget.  Otherwise, no real restriction.  I’ve contacted our vendors, but where else should I look?  I wish there was a review site like C|Net, but for lab equipment!  Do you have your own favorites?  Open thread- thoughts/ideas welcome…

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