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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.

Link to full article

Sharing personal health information can never be risk-free, but it can be low-risk

The growing use of electronic medical records, electronic insurance claims, and other medical software systems is generating massive volumes of personal health information. While the primary purpose of capturing this information is to provide patient care, researchers have a voracious appetite for this flood of data. But what may be good for medical and health care research may not be good for you if hackers can identify you in these datasets.

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As hospitals go digital, human stories get left behind

The official reason for my patient’s visit, according to her electronic medical chart, was fatigue, though that was far from her only concern.  In the exam room, this usually upbeat woman had a sad tale to tell. Several months earlier, a close relative fell seriously ill and my patient, elderly and not in great health herself, became a caregiver. The relative’s grueling treatment proved unsuccessful and he died. Following the funeral, my patient was overwhelmed by exhaustion, grief, and guilt.

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Posted:
Sep 7, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits

GOOGLE HAS BUILT a half-trillion-dollar business out of divining what people want based on a few words they type into a search field. In the process, it’s stumbled on a powerful tool for getting inside the minds of some of the least understood and most dangerous people on the Internet: potential ISIS recruits. Now one subsidiary of Google is trying not just to understand those would-be jihadis’ intentions, but to change them.

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Posted:
Sep 2, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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The truth about WebMD, a hypochondriac's nightmare and Big Pharma's dream

WebMD is the most popular source of health information in the US, and is likely to dominate your Google search results for almost any medical question you have. According to its editorial policy, WebMD promises to empower patients and health professionals with "objective, trustworthy, and accurate health information."  But is WebMD actually trustworthy? 

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Posted:
Aug 31, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Twitter Shares Revenue With Video Makers

TWITTER WANTS PEOPLE making more videos for its social networking service. So, it’s turning to a time-honored means of encouragement: money.

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Posted:
Aug 29, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Why every clinical trial should have an app for participants

We are well into the era of the engaged consumer. By now, many companies have recognized that traditional selling tactics like advertising and discounting only take them so far. Consumers want deeper connections, and companies ranging from Amazon and Apple to Spotify and Zappos have been happy to oblige. Using predictive algorithms that prioritize consumer preferences, these companies are finding inventive new ways to engage customers with games, stories, and sharing tools sent to their mobile devices.

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How Parents Harnessed the Power of Social Media to Challenge EpiPen Prices

After Mellini Kantayya, an actress who lives in Brooklyn, chatted with her Facebook friends in July about the high cost of EpiPens, she knew she had to do something.  A friend in Connecticut, the mother of a child with food allergies, was facing a $600 bill for the product, an injector that delivers a lifesaving dose of epinephrine to reverse severe allergic reactions. Ms. Kantayya had also just seen an article from the health website STAT, about ambulance crews that could not afford EpiPens because the price had surged by more than 500 percent in recent years.

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Posted:
Aug 24, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Instagram Probably Can’t Predict Depression. GPS, Though…

LATE LAST WEEK, a group of scientists published some pre-review research indicating that people were more likely to use low-saturation Instagram filters like Inkwell when feeling depressed. Well, obviously, says Picasso. Groundbreaking stuff, guys.

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Posted:
Aug 23, 2016

Author:
Deirdre

Tags:

Choosing this Instagram filter could mean you're depressed

Researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont have found that Instagram photos can be analyzed to screen for depression. The scientists used the photos' attributes, including brightness and color, to correctly identify which participants suffered from depression at a betterrate than the typical physician. Photos with decreased brightness, decreased saturation and increased hue indicated depression. The computer correctly identified 70% of the instances of depression.

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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.