I just launched a new mini website called TwittER ReaserchER. It is essentially a directory of emergency physicians across the globe who are using Twitter. The project started during research for an article about use of Twitter among emergency physicians. I started tweeting in 2008, and at that time there were only but a few emergency docs out there, but now we managed to identify almost 700 of them. The results of the analysis we performed on their accounts are currently under review in Emergency Medicine Journal. Hopefully the article will be accepted and published soon, so I can share the results with you.
On the website you can find a list of all the emergency physicians we were able to find using Twitter. Each user is represented by his/hers profile picture. If you click on it, you will be taken to the user’s Twitter profile. The list is constantly updating, and if you are an emergency physician using Twitter or know someone who is, please follow @research_er to get included. On this account we also created lists organizing emergency physicians according to the year they started tweeting. You can easily subscribe to these lists.
On the site you can also see the timeline of tweets from all the emergency physicians. It is updating every hour, so you can use it to follow what emergency physicians are saying on Twitter. This way you can follow them, without even being a registered Twitter user, which you should be!
Hope you like the site. I will try to improve it and add more features soon. Of course, your ideas are always welcomed.
I came across a press release which further strengthened my belief that iPhone is perfect for doctors. The whole project is so exciting that I just didn’t want to leave anything out. That’s why I decided to include the complete press release here.
iPhone and new technology enables health providers to access key life-saving information
BLACK DIAMOND, AB, Oct. 3 /CNW/ – When Foothills Regional Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Mike Anderson recently arrived at the scene of a car accident and found a person unconscious, he assessed the patient’s condition and realizing he had little patient information, activated an iPhone to obtain necessary health data on the person’s allergies and current medications.
Since April, the Calgary Rural Primary Care Network (PCN) has conducted a pilot project using iPhones and unique software to provide secure access to patient data to physicians and other health providers outside of health facilities.
At the Foothills Family Medical Centre, Dr. Tim Dowdall and the nine other family physicians volunteered to pilot and manage the iPhone initiative funded by the Primary Care Network. The iPhones have been modified to increase security of patient data with protocols that exceed those of banking machines and other secure networks. Also, even if an iPhone is lost or misplaced
somewhere, no patient information resides in the phone. As well, a Patient Impact Assessment, a standard security review done by the Primary Care Network when new health technology was introduced, validates the company’s security safeguards.
The iPhones are linked with a state of the art software program that allows physicians and other designated health providers to pull information from the local electronic medical records in the Foothills Clinic to the point of care.
“The iPhone and support software,” says Dowdall, “improves the quality of care and access to necessary patient information for those of us who are working outside of our clinics and need data to make a clinical decision.” This is the kind of information sharing required to serve patients living in a
community with increasingly complex health issues.
Theresia Berry, a Paramedic with Foothills Regional Emergency Services in Black Diamond, south of Calgary, believes the iPhone has become an invaluable tool for accessing necessary patient data. “Often before we even arrive at the scene, we can use the iPhone, find out the patient’s past medical history, and just have a better idea of what we’re dealing with so we’re prepared,” she says.
They might receive a call because a person is in distress, but it could be one health condition or several medical issues. Sometimes even when they arrive at the scene, the person or family members may not be aware or under too much stress to explain clearly the medications and health conditions of the person affected.
“The iPhone gives us immediate and accurate clarification of the person’s health status,” she explains. Dr. Dowdall gives a unique example of taking the health iPhone and going
on vacation in Banff, Alberta. He received a call from his clinic about a patient and unlike in the past, when a non-urgent decision would be deferred until his return, he activated the iPhone, looked at the patient data, and made a decision.
This information sharing project and the use of technology supports the type of collaborative practice required among health professionals to coordinate and improve medical care. Homecare nurses in their offices can currently use the solution in linking patient electronic data from the Foothills Clinic. There are huge benefits in accessing information when visiting clients’ homes. Frequently people with complex health needs are confused regarding their conditions and various drugs and treatments that are being employed. Having one shared “source of truth” in the electronic record is extremely beneficial to get the care team on the same page.
Berry does admit there is one challenge in sometimes using the iPhone, especially in a more rural location. Cell phone reception is occasionally not good. However, Berry says she and her partner, EMT Mike Anderson, are aware of those locations and are usually able to obtain the necessary patient data before entering those areas.
Response to date from all physicians involved in the iPhone pilot project has been positive, says Dowdall. What makes the technology unique is that physicians can input into the software program the level of patient information other health providers require to do their jobs while restricting
access to any other information. This collaboration, and providing iPhone access to patient medical records, is likely a first in Canada and represents a significant step forward in having all health professionals working as a team to provide better health care to patients in Alberta.
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a made-in-Alberta approach to improve the delivery of primary care. A Primary Care Network is formed when a group of physicians and Alberta Health Services agree to work together to provide enhanced primary care services. In addition to physicians, other health professionals are key partners in delivering PCN services. Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health Services are partners in the development of Primary Care Networks.
I purchased my iPhone about six months ago and it has in many ways changed my life for the better. This is especially true regarding my work as a medical doctor. I believe that iPhone is a perfect gadget and that it can improve any physician’s performance. That is way I decided to present some of many useful ways you can utilize iPhone in your practice.
Access your Electronic Medical Record
Life Record is a company which produces Life Record Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software. What is interesting about it is that you can access your records form an iPhone. You can also make updates and even write prescriptions.
View medical images
To view your radiology images remotely you can use the Mobile MIM iPhone Application. This application provides multi-planar reconstruction of data sets from modalities including CT, PET, MRI and SPECT, as well as multi-modality image fusion. Using the multi-touch interface, users can change image sets and planes; adjust zoom, fusion blending, and window/level.
Medical Calculator gives quick access to calculations that are too hard to memorize or perform in your head. There are around 50 clinical calculations that you can do with it right now, and more are coming. To not get lost, favorite those you use often.
Access drug information
Epocrates Rx software for iPhone puts continually updated peer-reviewed drug information at your fingertips. This can improve patient care and safety, save time, reduce administrative burden and enable confident clinical decisions.
There are many powerful note taking apps for iPhone out there. But let me just present the two most interesting, Evernote and Jott.
Evernote allows you to take text, snapshot, saved photo and voice notes. When you take for example a voice note, you can add a title to it, some description and tags. The interesting thing happens after you have taken your notes. They synchronize with your online account and what this means is that you can access them from anywhere. From your computer using a desktop application or from any other computer in the World with an Internet connection via the web interface. Everything is always synchronized across all of your devices. One cool thing that Evernote can do is transcribe images, meaning that it is capable to find text inside an image and make it searchable. It doesn’t yet transcribe your voice notes to text, but I believe this feature will be coming in the near future.
There are some advices on how to use Evernote on The Efficient MD blog, but I am sure you can think of many more ways to utilize this app. For example you could take snapshots of your patient’s injuries in the ER or record interviews with your patients.
Well, this other application, Jott is capable of doing what Evernote still can’t. It can capture your to-dos and transcribe your voice into text and place the resulting notes in your lists.
As a modern evidence based medicine physician you have to read and follow new developments in your field. Often you find interesting articles on the Internet, but don’t have time to read them. My advice is to save them for latter and read them on your iPhone during your breaks, when you are on call and have some free time or while waiting in some line. Perfect little app that can help you do just that is Instapaper and it is one of my favorite iPhone app ever. When you find something on your computer that you want to read later, simply click Read latter bookmark. Then when you have time, just open Instapaper app on your iPhone and read those articles. You would think that the iPhone’s screen is too small to read, but you would be wrong. It’s high resolution screen and zoom capabilities make reading enjoyable.
Of course you can read whole books on the iPhone too. Use Stanza to transfer and read all your important medical e-books.
Apart from reading, you can do a little bit of watching and listening, to thousands of podcasts in the medicine category. A podcast is a series of audio or video digital-media files which is distributed over the Internet and can be transfered to your iPhone. Listen and watch podcast from The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and many others while you, let say, travel to work.
Enhance your scientific research
You can use your iPhone to find scientific literature. Download PubSearch and search among the millions of research papers indexed in PubMed. This app has a simple user interface with fast access to the PubMed database, and it lets you concentrate on finding the research articles you need without getting in your way. PubSearch Plus is on the way and it will allow you to not only read abstracts, but full-text articles too.
Convert your iPhone into a wireless external disk, one with a lot of memory. This way you can carry around all the important documents for your undergoing scientific project. Come to a meeting with your colleagues and have all your excel and powerpoint files with you. Also bring some scientific articles in pdf, or other format, related to your research. All these files can easily be opened on your iPhone or access from any PC or Mac in the room. This is all done using AirSharing for iPhone.
You too deserve to have fun from time to time. There are numerous great games for iPhone and if nothing these can help you relax during an intensive and difficult shift. There have been some results published about video games and their ability to enhance surgeons’ performance. So before your next surgery why not try playing a game like Labyrinth to get you all warmed up and focused.
As you can see there are numerous useful ways you can utilize iPhone as a medical professional. This is not all of course, there are many other interesting apps coming up everyday and I did not mention the obvious things like reading email, surfing the web and contacting people via sms or IM services. I am looking forward to new medical apps that might appear in the future. Also, wouldn’t it be cool if somebody introduced some iPhone medical accessories. I would like to see some pulse oximeter sensors or ECG cables for iPhone. They could plugin-in to it’s 30-pin dock connector to input data which, I am sure, due to it’s processing power iPhone would not have a problem to analyze. Are we getting closer to those great all in one medical devices from Star Trek? 🙂