How can physicians/physiotherapists/nurses best communicate with patients?
Well – you could tweet patients with flu shot advisories or if you are a physiotherapist use Facebook Messenger and ask a patient about those recurring pains in her wrist after a strenuous off-road workout.
Social media has created a new era of people wired in real-time to each other. It doesn’t mean that it’s a good fit for the physician—patient relationship.
While the big, public social media like Twitter, Sumbleupon and Facebook get all the attention, it’s hard to see how refreshing a newsfeed improves performance of healthcare providers and reduce physician stress.
Let’s face it. social media is a distraction. So – what is the best way to use social networking tools in order to improve productivity and reduce stress?
When I first presented the concept of Pathcare – a private social network for physicians and patients at Eurekamp 2012 last April, in Israel, people loved the idea of a controlled private social network for healthcare with a star-shaped topology where the doctor is the star (I believe certain surgical specialties like heart surgeons regards themselves as stars anyhow…) and patients can conduct a private 1:1 conversation with their physician.
Lior Zoref, an Israeli blogger, social media and crowd sourcing enterpreneur (and former colleague of mine from Microsoft Windows NT days) had good insight on private social networking for healthcare:
“Social media is about engaging friends and keeping them engaged and online as much as possible. In your concept of private social networking – communications would be minimalistic and limited to doctor and patient; this doesn’t seem much like social media to me!”
Lior has put his finger on the key differentiator between private social networking for healthcare and public social media like Facebook and Twitter where friends interact .
Privacy among friends in social media
- Friends interact frequently, chat, share and upload pictures
- Relevance is not importance.
- Liking people is.
- You trust your friends to keep a secret.
Privacy between patient and physicians on private social networks
- Patients interact as needed with their physician and share health information and personal experiences
- Relevance is important.
- Liking people is not
- You trust the system (i.e governments and healthcare institutions) to “take care of privacy” and enforce patient privacy regulation
More HIPAA compliance, more EMR systems means a bigger target for hackers.
Unfortunately, disaster is exactly what has befallen the healthcare industry. As health care regulations like HIPPA have become more pervasive, and healthcare records have increasingly moved online, the healthcare field has become a larger target of hackers and fraudsters while also becoming more vulnerable to breach by accident (such as a lost laptop). That’s why health data breaches were up a whopping 97% last year, according to Redspin’s 2011 PHI Breach Analysis Report, with 19 million patients’ health records affected, with 59% of all breaches involved a business associate. Source: Experian – Trends in Healthcare data breaches
Are healthcare privacy breaches a uniquely American problem?
The US has shifted over the past 40 years from manufacturing and technology innovation to technology innovation, retail, outsourcing and financial services. An obvious observation is Apple, with most of it’s manufacturing jobs outside the US, a net worth of a not-so-small country and perhaps, the most outstanding consumer technology innovator in the world. Another, and more significant example is Intel, one of the world’s technology leaders with a global operation from Santa Clara to Penang to China to Haifa and Jerusalem. World class companies like Intel and Apple are a tribute to US strengths and vitality not weaknesses. In comparison, excluding Germany, Poland and a handful of other European countries, the EU is on the edge of bankruptcy.
In the sphere of privacy and information security, the US leads in data security breaches while the EU leads in data security and privacy. The EU has strong, uniform data security regulation, whereas the US has a quilt-work of hundreds of privacy and security directives where each government agency has it’s own system for data security compliance and each state has it’s own legislation (albeit generally modeled after California) for privacy compliance.
The sheer volume and fragmented state of US data security and privacy regulation is practically a guarantee that most of the regulation will not be properly enforced.
On the other hand, the unified nature of EU data security directives makes it easier to enforce since everyone is on the same page.
We would argue that a free market, American style economy results on more technology innovation and economic vitality but also creates a chaotic regulatory environment where the breach of 300 million US credit cards in less than 10 years is an accepted norm. The increase in compliance regulation by the Obama administration does not impress me as a positive step in improving PHI security and patient privacy.
As my colleague, John P. Pironti, president of risk and information security consulting firm IP Architects, said in an interview:
The number-one thing that scares me isn’t the latest attack, or the smartest guy in the street, it’s security by compliance, for example with HIPAA.
Security by compliance, he said, doesn’t do a company any favors, especially because attackers can reverse-engineer the minimum security requirements dictated by a standard to look for holes in a company’s defense.
Since we can’t rely on compliance and traditional big health IT and EMR systems to keep our health information private – the best solution may very well be connecting physicians and patients directly with private social networking for healthcare which is private by design.by Leave a reply →