Hello. Happy Friday and welcome to new subscribers!
A few interesting things I found (and wrote) this week. Let’s go....
Medicine and the mob
If you missed it last weekend physicians on Twitter took down 5 Boston Medical Center surgeons over concerns for bias in a study on social media professionalism. I wrote a pretty toned back post here. My bottom line: the ‘standards of professionalism’ used in the study were really dated. Otherwise I feel the wide ranging allegations against the study and its authors were overstated.
Wrongs must be righted, for sure. But it has me wondering: When physicians acting in good faith miss the mark with r study design will they be subjected to the kind of mass shaming we saw with #medbikini?
It’s interesting to note that medtwitter is selective in its handling of professional deviance. The recent unearthing of what could be the most egregious trail of anti-semitic hate ever created by a physician (far from good faith) resulted in dead silence from the Twitter community. Effectively no conversation, no outrage, and no hashtag. The contrasting responses to this doctor’s chilling record of religious intolerance and the alleged transgressions by these Boston University surgeons reflects Twitter’s dangerous predilection toward group think and mob behavior.
Much like the heartbreaking evisceration of the Korean doctors I describe in the post, medtwitter seems to have quietly moved about its business with no concern or second thought about those 5 surgeons.
When I tiptoed on to Twitter in 2008 as one of Twitter’s few physicians I often thought about what our world would be like with all my peers involved. I never imagined it would be like this.
I choose not to wear a cape
Nice editorial on the overkill praise of healthcare workers during COVID. We are not soldiers. We are workers in what has suddenly become a very dangerous workplace, just like miners, farmers and steeplejacks have been for hundreds of years. It's hard to know what drives this sentiment but it drives me crazy. | The Sydney Morning Herald
This story on cancer screening references individuals with a cervix. This is the first time I have seen this in the MSM. | CNN
A whole buncha data points
The U.S. spends nearly twice as much on health care as other wealthy nations and yet ranks poorly on many population health statistics. There are many reasons for this disconnect, but part of the problem is that it’s become hard to be healthy in the U.S. To illustrate some of the supporting facts Building H has collected some of the greatest hits facts about our problematic system. What’s great is that they are built to be shared on Twitter. Check it out. Early web marketer Chris Brogan used to say that when you created content for the web you should give it handles - a way that it can be grabbed. This is what he meant! | Building H Data Points
Can a watch tell COVID
Joanna Stern wore 6 devices to see if they could predict covid. Despite the linkbait title in the WSJ Eric Topol weighs in with some sobering reality. A good illustration of how much fantasy we encounter with our technology. | Wall Street Journal
Gimme my damn chart
What does meaningful participation look like to healthcare consumers? A July 2020 Beryl Institute report reveals at the top of the list (66%) is "Having open access to my medical records." Link is to a tweet with a graphic - you can click through to resister for their report. h/t to @TheLizArmy. | Twitter
Covering the blind side of medical research
Susannah Fox is exposing the blind side of biomedical research: People living with a condition or disease are traditionally seen as passive sources of data, not active participants in the research. We as a society miss out on promising avenues of inquiry. It’s time to widen our lens.
On August 12, she’s moderating a discussion about how to include peer-to-peer health insights and patient-generated data in clinical registries. It is part of a webinar series that’s open to the public and free of charge thanks to funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and support from the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Association of Academic Medical Colleges. More information on her site — check it out. | SusannahFox.com
Health data bureaurocracy
Maryn McKenna is one of my fav health journalists. She unpacks the COVID reporting crisis in a Goldilocks piece that’s not to long and not too short. Quoting some authors from NEJM:
There is no national public health information system—electronic or otherwise—that enables authorities to identify regional variation in the demand for, and supply of, resources critical to managing Covid-19,” they wrote. The fix they recommended: a national public health information system that would record diagnoses in real time, monitor the materials hospitals need, and link hospitals and outpatient care, state and local health departments, and laboratories and manufacturers to maintain real-time reporting on disease occurrence, preventive measures, and equipment production. | Wired
Really good longform interview by Stephen Levy with Dr. Anthony Fauci. This one is better than some of the others given that the questions are a little unusual. My favorite: are you keeping notes for a book? | Wired
+ In other good interviews, this EPAM Continuum podcast with John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children's Hospital, is solid. Brownstein riffs on population health monitoring, the collection of COVID-19 data, the relaxation of regulations during the pandemic, and why it’s a good idea to watch, closely, what happens on social media and in hospital parking lots.
Americas backdoor doctors
A conspiracy video pitching hydroxychloroquine hit the charts this week. Racking up 20 million views with a push from the president it beat this spring's earlier conspiracy blockbuster, Plandemic. The video was a recorded live stream of a press conference organized by a group known as the Tea Party Patriots. From CNBC:
The video was created by right-wing media outlet Breitbart. It depicts a group of people dressed in white lab coats — who call themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors” — staging a press conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Those in the video claim that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is “a cure for Covid” and “you don’t need a mask” to slow the spread of coronavirus.
This virus has a cure, it’s called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax,” one of the women in the video claims. “You don’t need masks, there is a cure.”
Here's the run down on the participating docs. Not exactly national academy of medicine material.
Its important to public service reminder that facebook facilitated the scale of this dangerous nonsense. At a million views per hour they had to have known very early on what was happening.
The battle against facebook as core facilitator of health conspiracies is possibly the real frontline battle against covid. You can only imagine what the information landscape is going to be like after we have a vaccine.
+ Speaking of bullshit, in The Exam Room I interviewed Jevin West from the University of Washington. Next week he’s publishing Calling Bullshit. The interview was crazy good. If you don’t subscribe to The Exam Room on iTunes, you need to jump on to get this one when it drops.
The skinny on the doctor behind the Surgisphere COVID data from earlier this year. More concerning than this joker's story is the fact that his data made it through the gauntlet of editorial review at The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. | New York Times
+ Tech from TV that became reality.
+ An unusual COVID mask test.
+ The ultimate quarantine couch.
+ Madonna's Instagram flagged for spreading coronavirus misinformation.
Thanks again for being a subscriber and have a great weekend.