Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

January 09, 2013

A Social Media Cheat Sheet for Facebook 2013

I'm often asked how do I build engagement on Facebook. There is no one size fits all answer to this question but the following cheat sheet  from the folks at Linchpin SEO gives some handy tips to building compelling content and how to work with your community to build engagement. What has worked for you? Love to hear your tips?

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January 08, 2013

Trend Watch 2013 - Will Doctors "Prescribe” HealthCare Websites For Certain Patients

1.2 trillion online searches, 146 languages. What did the world search for in 2012 and what were the top health issues? It seems Cancer, Diabetes and Depression were the top 3 most searched health issues on Google (US) in it's year review of 2012.Trending top 3 health issues were: Hemorrhoid. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Sexually Transmitted Disease. You can view the full list released by Google below in this blog post.

These trends also indicate the growing significance of the movement known as Participatory Medicine. One of the leaders of the movement here in Australia is HealthShare, an expert Q & A health site and Australia's fastest growing interactive network. Check it out if you haven't already.
Similarly, blogs are popping up, building whole communities relating to health issues and diseases. 
Therefore playing it forward in 2013, likely to flourish in 2013 are the following: 

On blogs like Diabetes Mine, people can ask questions and get answers from others living with exactly those conditions. (One post about a new drug now has 2,000 comments.) “About 1 in 5 Internet users have gone online to find others who have similar health concerns,” says Susannah Fox from Pew Research.
Mobile, slowly 
Of course it’s growing, but when it comes to health, perhaps slower than the hype. “In 2012, 85% of U.S. adults owned a cell phone, but only 31% used it to search for health info online.” Mobile apps for exercise and dieting are popular, but we’re not yet using our phones as a primary source of health info–or to get text health alerts. By contrast, while the same percentage of Americans have access to the Internet, 84% have used it to search health information.
Participatory medicine
Once, perhaps, your doctor was the main source of health info. Now many people go online before they see their docs. Some physicians welcome that, a movement call Participatory Medicine. Some even “prescribe” websites for certain patients.
“The mindset is changing,” says Daniel Sands, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Society for Participatory Medicine. “Doctors may direct patients to health care websites, rather than just prescribing drugs.” At the same time, doctors who subscribe to participatory medicine–they can actually get a seal from the website–welcome patients who learn about health online.
“We should ask every single patient, ‘Do you go online? What sites do you find useful?,” says Dr. Sands. “We need to let them know that they can share information with us. It’s a very important part of our relationship with our patients.” Over the next few years, more and more patients will be able to view their health records online, download and transmit it to someone else, and communicate with their doctors, he says. “The era of medicine as a spectator sport – ‘I’m sick, doctor, fix me’ – is over. The new model is participatory medicine.”
Here again are the 2012 Google Zeitgeist lists. 
United States Trending Health Issues 2012
1. Hemorrhoid
2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease
3. Sexually Transmitted Disease
4. Diaper Rash
5. Diarrhea
6. Urinary tract infection
7. Miscarriage
8. Heartburn
9. Celiac disease
10. PTSD
United States Most-Searched Health Issues 2012
1. Cancer
2. Diabetes
3. Depression
4. Acne
5. Herpes
6. Back pain
7. Burns
8. Breast cancer
9. Autism
10. Diarrhea

United States Most-Searched Symptoms 2012

1. Pregnancy symptoms
2. Diabetes symptoms
3. Flu symptoms
4. UTI symptoms
5. Mono symptoms
6. Strep Throat symptoms
7. HIV symptoms
8. Lupus symptoms
9. Heart Attack symptoms
10. Lyme Disease symptoms
Let the 2013 searching begin!
Footnote: E-Patient Dave widely known as one of the greatest patient advocates for Participatory Medicine with the catch cry - 'Let Patients Help' will be visiting Australian in late June 2012 for a series of public speaker engagements. Anyone interested in Dave addressing your organisation should contact me directly to determine if your activity can be accommodated into his tour schedule. There is an applicable fee for all speaking engagements.
Bloggers might be interested also in the upcoming blogger conference - Healthivate that aims to share personal health stories, educate and explore the growing Participatory Medicine Movement. Tickets to attend available at http://www.healthivate.com

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January 07, 2013

How To Discourage Appointment 'No Shows" In Your Healthcare Practice

With the recent rise in online healthcare appointment booking services in Australia enabling consumers to make appointments with their doctor a whole lot easier there is also a growing concern that such systems may not aide practice efficiency and because of the lack of the human 'relational' connection with the practice's front desk actually encourage 'no shows'.
According to a recent study in the US from Johns Hopkins on medical appointments 58 percent of people who have doctor appointments don’t show up for them. This is especially common in young and low-income patients. The most common reason?
“I forgot.”
This excuse can be fixed easily by online appointment booking services using new call centre technology. Those annoying robo-calls no one ever wants to get, via an automated voice or an SMS text message, can actually be a beneficial and simple way to help with patient forgetfulness.
Text messages and call reminders for appointments, prescription renewal reminders and annual checkup reminders are just a few ways on how this technology can help keep patients healthy and increase patient volume in medical facilities. The messages may not be personal, but they can serve as a straightforward reminder that an action needs to be taken. And they don’t take manpower away from your employees’ other daily tasks.