I am a total news junkie and always have been (which is probably why I started out college as a journalism major before deciding that I wanted to be a doctor). So, this week's edition of Grand Rounds features the news themes of the prior week and their relationship to health: politics, football fever, the power of facebook, red heart disease awareness, and the impact of pink.
As the GOP race for the White House went on last week in Florida and Nevada, health policy was relatively absent from discussions. However, dialogue is likely to resume with a ruling by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) individual insurance mandate. An excellent summary of the key facts was recently written by Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Cedric Dark and can be found on The Policy Prescriptions Blog which is a blog that he created to provide a nonpartisan, evidence-based source for health policy analysis from the physician point of view: http://www.policyprescriptions.org/a-policy-prescription-for-2012/ . Additionally, a central healthcare reform issue 'healthcare as a right' was also discussed last week eloquently with a long overdue blog post from pediatric infectious disease physician, Dr. Nick Bennett, who presents a pro univeral health system point of view: http://t.co/097va0Oq . An alternative view pointing to problems with a universal health system is offered by insurance executive, Henry Stern: http://insureblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/potter-strikes-out-again.html . However, it should be noted that excellent public-private partnerships, innovations, and solutions associated with the federal Center For Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Affordable Care Act were recently showcased in DC which I blogged about last week: http://endogoddess.blogspot.com/2012/01/cms-care-innovation-summit-summary.html
Symptoms of Super Bowl football fever were everywhere last week. Of course, rating commercials has been a top activity over the past day. One of my favorites was the GE commercial where cancer survivors got to meet the workers who created the machines that saved their lives. The commercial featured real patients and real stories and the effect was real authenticity. A recent blog by health communications masters student, Katie Shumake, discussed the importance of using real patients in ads: http://tinyurl.com/7wl3wev . Here is the GE commercial referenced:
It is also my thought that Super Bowl football fever affects so many homes because the event engages fans. In other words, the football players are not the only ones who 'play' in the game. Healthcare could learn something from how the Super Bowl engages beyond the players (or patients) alone. Caregivers and loved ones are also affected and should be engaged in the healthcare process as was lovingly discussed in this blog piece about diabetes: http://t.co/14RMqhVk .
Given the recent facebook news of all those cashing in on its great potential wealth, we all know social media is valuable because of its large reach and power. Social media has great potential power in medicine, too. Cardiologist Dr. Westby Fisher posts a thoughtful view on the cons of blogging and social media in medicine, primarily pointing out the power for both good and bad: http://drwes.blogspot.com/2012/01/some-downsides-of-social-media-for.html . An alternative view on the pros of social media power in medicine is provided by WCG's MDigitalLife series which I was honored to be a part of last week: http://blog.wcgworld.com/2012/02/dr-jennifer-dyer-the-mdigitallife-interview
Red Heart Disease Awareness:
While wearing my red winter gear for heart health awareness month (pictured above), I am happy to report that people have been talking with me about heart health. However, they have also been somewhat confused as new studies come out and contradict prior studies. Daily use of aspirin in women is a great example of a confusing subject reviewed here by writer Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times well blog: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/daily-aspirin-is-not-for-everyone-study-suggests/ . Additionally, cyberchondria is on the rise as noted in this piece by hematologist-oncologist Dr. Elaine Schattner : http://www.medicallessons.net/2012/01/cyberchondria-rising-what-is-the-terms-meaning-and-history/ . My advice is to always talk to your doctor, we're trained to sort through this with you. Also, make sure you know the symptoms of heart disease (which are different for women) and what you can do to protect yourself. A great ongoing program gives you tools to do just that by CDC which is called Million Hearts, be sure and take the pledge.
The Impact of Pink:
Last week, the pink powers at Susan G. Komen Foundation first announced their intentions to defund future grant commitments to Planned Parenthood as an ‘ineligible’ organization, followed by a series of drifting explanations, and ultimately the rescission of their decision some 48+ hours post announcement. Healthcare executive, Gregg Masters, keyed into the social media response influencing these events in his blog post last week: http://xanatemedia.com/2012/02/how-to-kill-brands-goodwill-in-24-hours-or-less/ . The politics of women’s health care was summarized from the point of view of neuropsychologist Dominic Carone: http://t.co/hVl7XoI1 . The following post now circulating on pinterest proposed a new call to action and a good way to make the conflict eventually benefit the mission of ending breast cancer: http://bcaction.org/2012/02/03/a-victory-but-a-small-one-challenging-the-status-quo-of-breast-cancer/
So, that concludes this week's edition of Grand Rounds. And, I would like to note that as a mobile health entrepreneur, I organized and wrote this entire post on my smartphone...the only way for a busy news junkie like me to keep track of it all! :)