Band-aid Solutions for Healthcare Problems

“Let’s not put band-aids to our problems.” It’s a great way of saying: don’t use short-cuts when you have to cover long distances.

But there is another way to use the metaphor of the band-aid: develop ingenious, simple solutions that can cover a wide area of deployment. We take the band-aid for granted today. But a century ago nobody heard of one – it had to be specifically invented.

There are so many problems to solve in Healthcare. How many of them are solvable by band-aids? Are we trying too hard? Are we investing too much time looking for big solutions to big problems at the expense of being inventive at the small scale?

This week is SXSW (I know, regular readers think I hate on it – which isn’t true), but what if we had an idea bank where nurses, physicians, engineers, educators, investors, small and large enterprises….anybody who could deposit problems and withdraw solutions?

Or, what if we had small, local idea banks which – over time – could develop networks with each other, seeking system-wide connections to common problems?

I don’t know if something like what I have in mind has been done. But I believe that we may need to re-think Intellectual Property rights – their history, purpose and proper place.

Technological innovation moves at such a rapid pace these days, that traditional IP models may hold us back. An alternative model may speed up the development of band-aid solutions – and actually create new markets and incentives and rewards for all involved: think interest earned, interest paid on deposits and withdrawals.

So the next time someone says “Let’s not put a band-aid to the problem”, challenge her and say: “Hmm, actually a band-aid just might work – let’s see if we can fine one”.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter




Six Considerations for Adopting Technologies in Healthcare

The issue with adopting QR codes is a bit more fascinating than at first glance because it poses an interesting adoption dilema: on one hand, QR codes can be seen as fads; on the other hand they do have their uses (yes, I’m writing about QR codes again – but this post is more about general adoption of tech for Healthcare; I’m citing QR codes as an example because of all the recent attention they’ve received).

Here are the considerations:

  • Properties of the tech – what specifically does it do; what are limits/possibilities
  • Public recognition (and actual use) of the tech – if there’s not enough awareness (especially by targeted audience), or if they just don’t use them enough
  • Standardization – Which standard is optimal? Given different tech, which ones suit most needs optimally?
  • Obsolescence – How quickly might the tech become obsolete. Not just technologically but also in use?
  • Deployability/Distribution – At the point of service, who distributes, when and where?
  • Security – One issue with respect to QR codes or MS Tags which I don’t see raised much is security. When you look at a QR code, you don’t know what you’re opening up – what if someone tampers with the code (either on the backen or by physically replacing the actual tag) with redirects to malware, indecent material or corporate vandalism (say a redirect to For companies in Healthcare and Pharma, this is definitely something to consider.

There are others. But they’re basic ones which anyone aught to consider and work-through before just either blindly jumping on the latest gadget – or rejecting outright.

@PhilBaumann @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


MDchat on IBM’s Watson and Physicians on Twitter

One of the great things about starting and moderating a Twitter chat, is that you see the growth of a community of people offering snippets of their diverse ideas and experiences.

Last night’s MDchat – @MD_chat – was particularly of interest to anyone interested in medicine and high-tech. The two topics were:

Although the transcript may be long, it’s easy to follow (I stripped out the RTs using @foxepractice’s transcription service). Check it out [link if you can’t see embed below]:

MDchat Healthcare Twitter Transcript for February 22, 2011

As you can see, there are so many different perspectives on how today’s evolving technologies impact (or can impact) Healthcare.

Oh, and if you haven’t taken the 2hashtags pledge, consider it. For these Twitter chats show that less is more – imagine if all those tweets in last night’s chats were soaked in multiple hashtags.

If you’re interested in MD_chat, consider what nurses are doing on RNchat. These two professionals – and the other participants from all walks of life – make these chats wonderful examples of what we can do.

@MD_chat takes place every Tuesday at 9pm Eastern. @RNchat takes place every Thursday at 9pm Eastern.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newletter


Mission Statements in the Age of Social Media

The issue of social media policies in Healthcare and Pharma often come up. There are different angles to consider – employee behavior, risk management, privacy, regulatory considerations.

Often, the approach is based on the idea of integrating social media into strategy. But I think that’s an incomplete view. For today’s technological conditions might be so disruptive that they actually may call into question the very strategies – and mission – of an organization.

So here’s a video – a kind of Business 101 if you will – which hopefully will help make clear the importance of re-visiting the *mission* before trying to just merge social media into strategy and formulating policies. It’s about 8 minutes, but I think you’ll find this to be important if you’re vested in the future of your organization in the age of social media [link]:

Please note: that by “mission statement”, I don’t just mean the formal written document in most companies’ publications. A “statement” is a state of mind (ment – mentation – mental).

Here are the two examples of corporate mission statements I mention in the video. Note the gaping differences in usefulness and meaningfulness between Google’s and Pfizer’s:

Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful. (emphasis added)

We will become the world’s most valued company to patients, customers, colleagues, investors, business partners and the communities where we work and live.

I explain why these differences matter when trying to figure out how to make sense of today’s technologies and the impacts they have on every facet of our lives and businesses. (As an aside: Pfizer’s (PFE) current share price is approximately 3% of Google’s (GOOG). Just sayin’.)

What’s your Healthcare mission? And how might technology affect it?

How might the production of molecules that go into our bodies be affected by new technologies? How might the missions of the companies that make them need to change if they are to succeed? (Think: new ways to collaborate, research, recruit, organize, manufacture.)

How might the emergence of social networks of genomic information open up new kinds of missions?

Are you considering a) how to integrate something new into existing strategies, or b) how new things might be changing the mission and its derivative strategies, tactics, policies and resource management?

Do you think it might be smart to consider the later before jumping into the first? The later requires much less work and resources than the first. The later just needs a few healthy brains to find.

Ah, there’s a mission for ya. 🙂



Twitter Chat on Alzheimer’s – A New Hope

Tonight, Tuesday January 25, at 9pm, MDchat will host the Twitter chat I mentioned on my tease of a post a couple days ago. The chat will be a fireside-like format with two women who were diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s telling us their stories and then answering questions from the audience.

I had promised you that the details of the chat would be revealed and you can find them over here.

The planning of this chat involved a lot of cooperation with Paul Moniz, Director of Communications and Marketing at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (@EinsteinMed) and Alzheimer’s Association. Having worked with Paul, I can tell you that he is deeply committed to driving awareness of important health-related issues.

We’ll certainly discuss the chat in future posts after its complete. The hope is that we can learn more about the possibilities of today’s media.

The beauty of these media isn’t the media themselves – it’s the minds who use them.

The new hope is that we can re-personalize care. People are people, and just want to be treated with dignity, respect and professional excellence.

There’s so much we can do together, and making the most of today’s communications is key to doing our best.

Here are the basics of the format of tonight’s chat:

  • We’ll introduce Libby and Gwen. Since Gwen and Libby are not active users of Twitter, they will receive some help for the actual tweeting.
  • For the first half hour, @MD_chat will ask questions directed at Gwen and Libby and they will use those questions to tell their story (at this point, participants are asked to hold off questions until the second half)
  • Links to Alzheimer’s resources will be provided according to the pace of the chat
  • During the last half of the chat, participants will have the opportunity to ask Gwen and Libby questions, which @MD_chat will moderate.

The hashtag is #MDchat and you can follow along on TweetChatTwitter Search or the Twitter client of your choice. If you’re new to Twitter or Twitter chats, here’s a video tutorial I did for RNchat (just substitute MDchat).

You’re welcome to attend tonight’s chat at 9pm Eastern, listen to these two brave women’s stories and respectfully participate in the Q&A in the second half. Again, details are up on MDchat’s blog.

Health Is Social, and this chat is a part of that sociability.


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