Social Media is a Suitcase Too Heavy for Clinicians To Carry

November 2011

I’m uncertain about the potential utility of current social media tools in health, and I suspect I’m not alone. I’ve been struggling for a term to help me articulate my feelings towards the use of the terms “social media” in the context of “health” and “healthcare” for a while. Struggling to the point where I’d avoid conversations for fear of the inevitable twitch in my left eye as I recognise, yet again, that I simply can’t compartmentalise the concepts as well as I’d like. This is despite malignant curiosity leading me to use most major new communication and technology trends around since


Wealth Biomarkers

October 2010

I’m a fan of both longitudinal population studies and of the work of public health researcher Michael Marmot from the University College London. His previous work on Whitehall studies I and II revealed a correlation between a person’s health indicators, and their position within the British public sector. Much of his work has revolved around the notion of how personal autonomy affects a person’s ability to choose healthy behaviour.


Yammer Communities – A great opportunity for doctors, if done right.

February 2010

A great opportunity for doctors has just been announced.
Yammer will be expanding their microblogging platform to groups whose member’s email have different domain names. This means the networks are no longer limited to formal organisations, and can now emerge within informal communities. It is still a “closed” network in the sense that the content is not indexed by search engines, so that the community can communicate privately amongst each other.
Clinicians will stand to benefit greatly from a decent sized, real-time community for peer support. Imagine having the ability to tap into the combined experience and intellect of thousands of clinicians at the point of care.

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Sunitha Krishnan and Prajwala – Fighting for trafficked children

December 2009

The entire audience was silent after watching Sunitha Krishnan’s powerful TEDIndia talk on the issue of child sex trafficking in India in November this year. People needed time to digest her message.


SVYM – Primary Health Care in action.

November 2009

On my way to TED India I was shown around the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement activities in Saragur, rural India, by an old friend who worked there as a paediatric surgeon. It was started 15 years ago by 4 medical students from Mysore and comprises two schools educating approximately 800 students between them, and a 100 bed hospital supplying free medical care to the local population.

Signal to noise

Increasing signal-to-noise on H1N1/Swine flu

April 2009

With social media gaining traction since SARS (2003) and Avian H5N1 (2006), it will be interesting to see what role it might now play as a media tool in the current pandemic du jour. The benefits of social media are clear, namely speed of communication, and monitoring sentiment. The cost in accuracy is not insignficant, and it will be simply a matter of how to best use it. Can new micro media services like twitter add anything useful? Will good information float well enough above the bad to make it worthwhile keeping track of?


Digital war on poverty

October 2008

Here’s a link to a short article by Jeffrey Sachs on the digital war on poverty.

Its interesting to see market forces accomplishing a feat NGOs would be unable to (assuming they had wanted to). As of 2007 over 50% of the world’s population now use mobile phones. It took 20 years to reach 1 billion, another 3 years to reach 2 billion, and the 3rd billion took just 2 years. Mobile phones and their future capacity for information distribution are making their way into the hands of the world’s least resourced.