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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:
Sep 29, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Hard to swallow? Tiny robot will perform surgery inside you

Swallowing a robot is normally cause for a trip to an emergency room to get that Transformer out of your 3-year-old. But instead of fishing this tiny robot out of your stomach, doctors are having you swallow it – on purpose. Scientists have created a tiny robot that can be swallowed and sent to retrieve objects that were errantly ingested. The robot folds up like origami and fits inside a capsule that then dissolves after it’s swallowed. The robot then unfolds and scientists use external controls to send it to the area in the body that needs medical attention.

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Posted:
Sep 27, 2016

Author:
Christina

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How YouTube Reinvented Itself for the Next Billion Users

YOUTUBE’S OFFICES IN San Bruno, California are spectacular. Standing desks, couches, nap pods. Kitchens around every corner stocked with free food. I’m told there’s even a pool. It’s all par for the Silicon Valley course, really.

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Posted:
Sep 23, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Google Glass Flopped. But Kids With Autism Are Using It to Recognize Emotions

Gabby Warner craved a Google Glass headset when it first became available so she could search the web. But now, she’s using it for a more profound purpose. “It’s helped me to understand some people’s emotions,” says Warner, who has autism. “I can tell when a friend is upset better now than I could before.”

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Posted:
Sep 23, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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How Should Companies Handle Data From Employees’ Wearable Devices?

Wearable electronics, like the Fitbits and Apple Watches sported by runners and early adopters, are fast becoming on-the-job gear. These devices offer employers new ways to measure productivity and safety, and allow insurers to track workers’ health indicators and habits. For employers, the prospect of tracking people’s whereabouts and productivity can be welcome. But collecting data on employees’ health—and putting that data to work—can trigger a host of privacy issues.

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Posted:
Sep 21, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Activity Trackers May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts

Wearable activity monitors can count your steps and track your movements, but they don’t, apparently, help you lose weight. In fact, you might lose more weight without them.

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With Wearable Tech Deals, New Player Data Is Up for Grabs

The University of Michigan football team took the field for its season opener on Sept. 3 accompanied by Michael Jordan, the team’s honorary captain for the game, in uniforms bearing his signature Jumpman logo. Such pageantry is the fruit of a new apparel contract, worth about $170 million, between the university and Nike.

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The Robot Revolution in Caregiving

The game is simple, designed for a child and intended to teach users about diet and diabetes. I sit opposite Charlie, my diminutive fellow player. Between us is a touch screen. Our task is to identify which of a dozen various foodstuffs are high or low in carbohydrate. By dragging their images we can sort them into the appropriate groups.

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Posted:
Sep 14, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Why Can’t Twitter Do What Instagram Just Did?

INSTAGRAM NOW OFFERS a tool that automatically blocks comments if they include certain abusive words. It’s a wonderfully simple way of dealing with the harassment and the other nastiness that plagues so many of today’s online social networks, including the photo-happy, Facebook-owned Instagram. And it makes us wonder: Why aren’t others doing the same thing? Or, more specifically, why isn’t Twitter doing the same thing?

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New Jersey doctor creates online patient resource to improve end-of-life care

A New Jersey doctor has created a new tool to help patients and doctors fill out POLST forms. That's short for Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. Without it, Dr. David Barile said, patients at the end stages of life may get too much of the wrong kind of care. Health care can be really fragmented, and that's making it harder for patients at the end stages of life to reach the best decisions about their care, according to Barile, a geriatrician in Princeton.

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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.