Saturday, April 18, 2009

Doctors Tweeting During Surgery?

Doctors Tweet During SurgeryWhen one is faced with the decision of surgery, it is never an easy feeling. So many things could happen and could potentially be life threatening. You always want to make sure everything is on order. The tools are ready, you are ready, and the doctor is ready. But what if you were lying on the operating table and you looked over to find your surgeon furiously Tweeting before your operation?

The social-networking site Twitter, which has grown in size and popularity at an incredible rate, just found another use for itself. While we all are desperately trying to figure out what new thing Ashton Kutcher is Tweeting about, there is one new thing that you might be interested in checking out. There is an all new fad hitting Twitter these days, and its live surgery updates. That's right, doctors are now starting to post on Twitter, during surgery, about their progress.

Last month, a hospital in Detroit posted a live feed on Twitter about their operation. The doctors talked medical students through the procedure of a complicated brain surgery. From all across the country, students could ask questions like different techniques used by the doctors, whether or not the patient could feel anything or even what types of music the surgeons listen to during the operation. While this all sounds incredibly irresponsible and dangerous, it actually is safer than it sounds. During the procedure, there is always a seasoned staff of medical officials tending to the patient while whoever is not doing something Tweets abput what is going on.

This new experience has gotten so popular that at the Mayo Clinic, the hospital hosted a what they called a "tweet camp". The camp taught doctors, nurses and other officials about Twitter and other social-networking sites. One of the best things about Tweeting live surgeries is that a doctor can post an answer to a question one time and instantly have it accessible to thousands of people instead of having to answer that same question over and over again for each person. The Mayo Clinic is very serious about their on-line out reach. So much so that they even have a person whose only job is to handle the Mayo Clinic's on-line outreach. The Mayo Clinic posts videos on YouTube for people who are looking for videos about things, photos on Flicker for those looking for photos, and now live surgery updates on Twitter.

People are now asking doctors to Tweet about their surgeries on-line as well. The reason for some people doing this is to reach out to other patients needing the same surgery and trying to show them what is going on in hopes to put them at ease a little bit about their procedure. There is no doubt that people are nervous when they go in for surgery. But the doctors that Tweet their surgeries do it so they can relieve some of that pressure and fear from their patients. It is a way to explain the unknowns about whatever procedure someone is going in for.

The generation we live in today is used to displaying their whole lives on-line. It is obvious that the people of this on-line generation are the future doctors and surgeons of tomorrow. As the new generation takes the reins from the current doctors, expect to see a lot more on-line interactivity between doctors, patients, students, and interested people in general.

With sites like YouTube, Flicker, Facebook, MySpace, Photobucket and, of course, Twitter, you can expect more and more surgeries and procedures to be posted live on-line. This is just the way our culture is moving. We are a technologically driven society and this new technology is the future of our businesses and our lives. It will be interesting to see the directions things, like doctors Tweeting, will go.

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1 comment:

  1. How inovative is that? I have been in the waiting room many times while my husband has had surgery and it would be cool to get updates on whats happening. With Twitter you can choose which updates you want to receive on your mobile. Maybe we can get rid of those annoying beepers.