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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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Elder care on-demand: why tech is setting its sights on your parents

When Alan’s wife, Toby, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago, the retired geophysicist turned to a not-for-profit in Palo Alto, California – called Avenidas Village – for guidance. Through Avenidas, Alan learned about several online platforms that connect individuals who need home care with workers who provide it.  Now, once a week, Alan opens his Windows PC and logs onto the website of a company called Honor, which lets him summon a “CarePro” the way you would call an Uber.

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Posted:
Aug 4, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Driving While Distracted: Can technology stop the problem it caused?

Driving while socially distracted is one of the most life threatening issues about our relationship to technology, and yet, in an ironic twist, the very thing that caused the problem may be the ultimate solution.

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Driving While Distracted: Why can't we ignore the pings?

Most people will admit that texting, checking social media or playing a video game while driving isn't safe, and yet, some still do it. Why?

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Posted:
Aug 1, 2016

Author:
Remi

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Instead of Painkillers, Some Doctors Are Prescribing Virtual Reality

Virtual reality therapy may be medicine's newest frontier, as VR devices become better and cheaperRead More 

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Ice Bucket Challenge's 2nd anniversary celebrates its gene discovery

Throwback to 2014, the year of the Ellen DeGeneres Oscar selfie, Pharrell's giant hat,and the Ice Bucket Challenge. These fads "broke the internet" (a phrase also coined in 2014) dominating social media feeds across the globe.  But one of these viral pop culture moments is even more relevant today.  The campaign that encouraged millions of people to dump buckets of ice-cold water over their heads raised enough money to help make an important research breakthrough, the ALS Association announced Monday.

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Posted:
Jul 27, 2016

Author:
Christina

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How Grindr got men to self-test for HIV

Grindr, a dating app for gay men, was found to be an effective way to give out HIV self-test kits to men at risk of infection and reduce the spread of HIV, according to a recent study.

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Posted:
Jul 26, 2016

Author:
Deirdre

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Ending STI and HIV Stigma Through Social Media 

In 2014 the CDC reported almost 2 million new cases of the top three sexually transmitted infections (STIs), chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – all increases from the year before.

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Posted:
Jul 25, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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The Photo App Where Doctors Share Patients' Weird Injuries

Unless you've made the well-tempered decision to appear on Botched, you assume what goes on between you and your doctor doesn't leave the examination room… right? Turns out, random people might be getting an up-close look at your embarrassing rashes and suspect moles, thanks to a free app called Figure 1. 

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Office Chatter: Your Doctor Will See You In This Telemedicine Kiosk

On the day abdominal pain and nausea struck Jessica Christianson at the office, she discovered how far telemedicine has come.  Rushing to a large kiosk in the lobby of the Palm Beach County School District’s administrative building where she works, Christianson, 29, consulted a nurse practitioner in Miami via two-way video. The nurse examined her remotely, using a stethoscope and other instruments connected to the computer station. Then, she recommended Christianson seek an ultrasound elsewhere to check for a possible liver problem stemming from an intestinal infection.

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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.