Now Reading: Take Two Aspirin And Tweet Me In The Morning: How Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media Are Reshaping Health Care. Health Affairs. 2009 Mar 1

Note: the article no longer requires a subscription for access (3/14/09)

The much anticipated health information technology issue of Health Affairs, and in it is an article written by Carleen Hawn about Social Media in Health Care. The links above to to the Health Affairs site, but it appears a subscription will be required to view it, so hopefully readers have access to an institutional or other subscription to read it.

The genesis of this article was a discussion that was started in July, 2008, at the American Board of Internal Medicine’s forum on Patient Centered Care, where i presented about some of these concepts. This was followed up with discussions with myself and other leaders in the field, such as Jay Parkinson, MD, from HelloHealth, Bob Coffield, a well known legal expert in the area of social media, as well as real patients.

I actually attended the briefing announcing the release of this issue in Washington, DC, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the article is billed on the front cover of a very full catalog of scholarly works. Who would have thought 4 years ago that an article about social networking/media would be front cover material for the Health Affairs issue on Health Information Technology. This says a lot about the impact that social media, or perceived impact, in this area of health care! At the same time, I think Matthew Holt correctly points out that there’s a part two (and three and four) to be written covering what’s below the tip of the iceberg.

In addition to the information mentioned in the article, Carleen Hawn also consulted with some of my favorite innovators in health care, including Scott Shreeve, MD, and the team at the Kaiser Permanente Sidney Garfield Center for Health Care Innovation.

In addition to these contributions, I would also mention the contribution of the California Healthcare Foundation, whose leaders, including Veenu Aulakh, MPH, Sophia Chang, MD, MPH and Sam Karp, stimulated the development of the crowdsourced definition of Health2.0 mentioned the article with a simple question to me: “Ted, what is Health2.0?” (my answer was, “I don’t know, let’s ask the crowd.”)

And, I would also like to mention that innovation like this comes from health care organizations and systems that are able to say,”Not everything has been tried before,” and in my case this is/was Group Health Cooperative, who have learned from our early blogging experience and now bring their physicians and staff online for the world to learn about what they are doing to reinvent primary care. I’ve been engaged in maybe a few conversations over the past few years about why health care organizations should be transparent and it’s helpful for everyone to have an example of why this works well for everyone.

Thanks again to Carleen Hawn, The Health Affairs Team, and The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation for taking the time to explore this topic for America’s patients (that’s all of us).



I am sure the irony of the article being hidden from our eyes will not be missed by many!

How can you title an article "Take Two Aspirin And Tweet Me In The Morning: How Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media Are Reshaping Health Care", basically mentioning a huge segment of what makes Health 2.0, including the basic & fundamental openness of these services, while shutting down access to the article for all of us who have participated in creating this Health 2.0 world from the sideline. May of us are, unlike you or all those you mentioned, unconnected to the professional medical world but deeply immersed in medical information production & provision.

IMO, Health Affairs, should be slightly more Web 2.0 about this specific article and grant Open Access to it.

I, too, noticed the irony when I went to post about the article on this blog…Ted

Just wanted to let you know that Health Affairs has heard the voice of web/health 2.0. I just clicked on the link of the article and it opens a full version of the article without registration or payment. When I tried this the other day it was still behind the fire wall.

It is indeed now visible without a subscription. Thanks Health Affairs!

Not to be left out, I too had a long talk with Carleen as she was working on the article, but (me???) we ranged far afield from this specific topic. :–) I was impressed with how well she grasped this massive and complex field, which is new to her. So I was especially happy to see that the finished article turned out well, too.

And now that it has "Editor's Choice" open access, I can go tell all my (non-subscriber) friends!

Perhaps the things she and I discussed will be foundation for the "parts two through n" that Matthew @BoltyBoy mentioned.


Please leave yourself "in," and thanks for spending some time to help with the now openly available article. What's next for us? I know you're cooking up something,


What's next for us? There's a lot of work to do to start up the Society for Participatory Medicine. From vision to decision is pretty cost-free, but advancing to operation creates a shift in one's calendar. :–)

All motivated Participants are welcome! Click me and write me!

Meanwhile as I've begun the adventure of moving my data from PatientSite into Google Health, I've received QUITE an education. There are substantial overlaps between this and my day job (business data) regarding data model and data quality.

Lesson #1 is the reverse of the old saw: when you're exporting to a new system, the rule is, Garbage Out, Garbage In. (Hint: visibility into the data in your old system may leave you aghast.)

#2 is, no matter how clever two systems are, if their data models don't match, the stuff don't port.

Big learnings for participating e-patients to be aware of!

This has me so puzzled I've been unsure just what to say about it for two weeks. But the time is coming.

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[…] Looking at a new model of physician practice — available 24/7, untethered to most of the traditional trappings of a physician practice (including that old-fashioned trope of accepting insurance payments), Ted Eytan, MD is Now Reading: Take Two Aspirin And Tweet Me In The Morning: How Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social M… […]

Ted Eytan, MD