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Social Media and Health Innovation Lab Blog

Posted:
Jan 13, 2017

Author:
Emily S

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Hospitals Try Giving Patients a Dose of VR

When Deona Duke woke up from a medically-induced coma to begin recovering from burns that covered almost a third of her body, one of her treatments was hurling snowballs at penguins. The 13-year-old was set on fire when a bonfire exploded on her and her friend. To prevent infection, burn victims need their bandages changed and dead skin scraped away. Sometimes, even morphine isn’t enough to make that tolerable.

At the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Duke’s doctors gave her a virtual reality headset. Slipping it on, she was immersed in “SnowWorld,” an icy landscape where she got to lob snow at snowmen and igloos. The Texas hospital is one of the few trying out virtual reality to relieve pain.

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Posted:
Jan 6, 2017

Author:
Emily S

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Door-to-door service, never having to wait outside, GPS tracking: Seniors get on Uber

Frances Pliskin had to stop driving over the summer. But Pliskin, 90, still needed to get to and from her weekly hairdresser appointments and bridge group, monthly dinner date at the Westin Club, and to visit with friends.  "I have a balance problem and I use a walker, and my doctor felt it was in my best interest and the people on the road if I didn't drive," Pliskin, of Cherry Hill, said. "Obviously, that meant taking away my independence."  Enter Uber. Or, in this case, S-Uber.

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Can a digital health startup prevent diabetes in Medicaid patients?

At the headquarters of Omada Health, the exposed ceiling, stocked kitchen, and MacBook-toting millennials evoke the industrial-chic feel of a tech startup. One conference room here is named Kale, another Broccoli.  Many employees have waistlines as thinly cut as their Levi’s.

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Posted:
Dec 16, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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'This little guy is really cute': Ludwig the robot designed to help Alzheimer's patients

Brenda Horenfeldt was wowed Tuesday by a talking, walking robot — a new tool his creators feel could be the future of treatment for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  Developed by a research team at the University of Toronto with the support of Mitacs, a national non-profit organization, Ludwig was unveiled at One Kenton Place, a retirement home in North York that cares for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

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Posted:
Dec 9, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Surgeon Says Apps May Turn Organ Donation Support Into ‘Concrete Action’

Users of Tinder, the popular online dating app, usually swipe right on their mobile screens to gain a potential match. Come September, the same action might allow them to save lives by registering to be an organ donor.

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Posted:
Dec 7, 2016

Author:
Christina

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The FBI Is Investigating Me Because I Tweeted A Joke About Fake News

This is a story about how the FBI came to investigate a joke I tweeted about fake news.

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How ‘digitizing you and me’ could revolutionize medicine. At least in theory

There’s a whole lot of hype around precision medicine.  Proponents — up to and including President Barack Obama — predict a revolution that will bring us medical treatments as precisely tailored as a bespoke suit: Drug doses adjusted to your genome. Chemotherapy customized to your tumor’s DNA. Diets adapted perfectly to your risk for diabetes.

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Elders who use tech tools feel less lonely, more physically fit, Stanford study finds

Forget bingo and shuffleboard. Use of computers and cellphones is linked to higher levels of mental and physical well-being among those over age 80, according to new Stanford research.  And these elders — dubbed “the oldest old,” a generation typically ignored by the youth-obsessed tech industry — are motivated for the same reasons as digital-savvy millennials: to stay connected.

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Posted:
Nov 30, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Raising media-savvy kids in an era of fake news

This just in! Breaking news! You don't want to miss THIS!

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Posted:
Nov 23, 2016

Author:
Christina

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It took less than three months for an online coding game to transform James Johnston's life.

Johnston, 31, was designing software for orthodontists and living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he landed a better-paid software engineering job in Silicon Valley at a major tech startup.

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The Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation engages interdisciplinary teams to reimagine health care delivery for dramatically better value and patient outcomes.

The Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) is Penn's center for research, policy analysis, and education in health systems. Its 200 Senior Fellows analyze the medical, economic, and social issues that influence how health care is organized, financed, managed, and delivered across the U.S.

We are passionate about pursuing impactful research and eager to explore opportunities that will enable a culture of social media and health innovation at Penn, Penn Medicine, and beyond.  Have an idea for a project?  Interested in collaboration?  Click here to learn more about how to contact us.