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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:
Oct 28, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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New virtual reality fitness apps aim to make exercise less tedious

This year, high-end virtual reality headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have finally hit the market, putting immersive multimedia in the hands of consumers. While the industry has focused primarily on gaming and entertainment, a handful of start-ups are choosing a different route: fitness and medical applications of VR.

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Posted:
Oct 26, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Selfies hurt self-esteem. No, they help. Scientists can't make up their minds

We're living in the age of the selfie. But is that a good thing?

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Putting Telemedicine Behind Bars

Dr. Vinh Pham treats dozens of patients from New York City's Rikers Island jail complex with hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. He knows their frustration with the process of accessing specialist care—and its quality.Inmates can spend six to eight hours shackled in holding pens and sitting in traffic as they travel to NYC Health & Hospitals' Bellevue campus for five minutes with a doctor

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Posted:
Oct 21, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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To Get Doctors to Do the Right Thing, Try Comparing Them to Their Peers

Can an electronic nudge help doctors do the right thing when it comes to patient care?  Health-care providers are exploring how electronic record keeping and digital communication can be used to influence doctors on a wide range of actions, including following up on worrisome test results, making a correct diagnosis and choosing the right treatment. The challenge: getting doctors to accept prodding that might interfere with their own judgment or intentions when they already feel overloaded with electronic alerts, reminders and other messages.

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Posted:
Oct 19, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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What the senior and aging care industry wants from digital health innovators

There’s no getting around it: we’re all getting older. Nearly 100 million people in the United States are over the age of 50, and those over the age of 65 make up the biggest, most expensive user group of healthcare. But older people today aren’t like older people of a few generations ago, and that means our methods of tailoring healthcare and technology to serve them in a way that reflects our shift towards value-based care needs to be focused on the people first, technology second, designing solutions around specific needs.

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Posted:
Oct 19, 2016

Author:
Christina

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The Cure for Cancer Is Data—Mountains of Data

A FEW YEARS ago Eric Schadt met a woman who had cancer. It was an aggressive form of colon cancer that had come on quickly and metastasized to her liver. She was a young war widow from Mississippi, the mother of two girls she was raising alone, and she had only the health care that her husband’s death benefits afforded her—an overburdened oncologist at a military hospital, the lowest rung on the health care ladder. The polar opposite of cutting-edge medicine.

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Posted:
Oct 17, 2016

Author:
Remi

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You Are What You Tweet

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Public Health and Surveillance, used Twitter as a way to gain insight into the health of people in neighborhoods across the U.S. “Increasingly we’re seeing more and more studies looking at health beyond just disease, incorporating indicators of wellbeing,” http://time.com/4533176/coffee-pizza-tweet-twitter-social-media/

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Posted:
Oct 14, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Head-to-head comparison reveals human physicians vastly outperform virtual ones

Increasingly powerful computers using ever-more sophisticated programs are challenging human supremacy in areas as diverse as playing chess and making emotionally compelling music. But can digital diagnosticians match, or even outperform, human physicians?  The answer, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, is “not quite.” 

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How Technology Can Deliver Broad Improvements in Health Care

As director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California, Davis, Kenneth W. Kizer brings plenty of experience in the use of technology to help manage large populations.  A physician by training who is board-certified in several specialties, Dr. Kizer was California’s top health official before serving as undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 1990s. At the VA, he is credited with modernizing the nation’s largest health system, including adopting one of the first major electronic health records systems.

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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.