How Hospitals can use Social Media to Fight Ebola and Promote Health

It all began in 1983…

World Health OrganizationThe concept of social media integrated into the health care system existed far before the launch of Facebook, MySpace, or even AOL! In a report written in 1983, World Health Organization (WHO) experts met in Geneva and published a document titled “New Approaches to Health Education in Primary Health Care”. In page 16, under the title “A People-Oriented Health Technology”, the WHO laid out the first framework and foundation for the integration of social media technology and health care. The WHO experts state:

A people-oriented health technology will require a fundamental change in the relationship between the community and the health care providers. In essence, this implies that people will no longer be fitted into predetermined framework for health care. Instead the approach adopted will enable community members to play an active role in the planning and setting up of a health care programme. This calls for a thorough understanding by the health care providers of the people’s perception of their health needs and their acceptance and utilization of different health care technologies – influenced as these are by sociocultural and economic factors.

The purpose of social media is people-oriented – it’s a platform where family, friends, colleagues and strangers share their experiences, thoughts, and ideas in order to interact and discuss with the world at large. In addition, social media has developed a niche market that produced social influencers, individuals that are key to bringing cultural and social changes within the circle of their network. With the prominent presence of social media, it is essential, and extremely important, for health organizations to utilize social media platforms to promote health education, public health and community health.

As stated in the document by WHO, through the available technology and a shift of framework in regards to interacting with the public, health care providers can engage community members, social influencers, and proactive members of the community to encourage preventative measures to fight against diseases, promote healthy hygiene habits, and be active participants identifying potential health hazards.

Health Care Providers and Social Media

The health care industry may be one of the leading industries in terms of size and scope. However, despite its growth, it has been slow in embracing advanced communications method and information technology. Luckily, onboarding to a more advanced medium of communication has been simple thanks to social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Today, a large number of hospitals are expanding their social outreach using social media; using social media to target audiences, provide patient education, promote health, increase public relations, or simply announce news or events. Certain medical organizations have gone further by providing advice via Instant Messaging (IM) platforms or share their medical conditions via Twitter or Instagram.

doximity interface showing a message with an attachment of an X-Ray image of a foot that is being sent to another doctor for review
Social media usage isn’t limited to patients, but also used by doctors to communicate with each other and solve difficult medical cases. Platforms like Doximity, Docji, and QuantiaMD attract doctors from all over the globe in order to learn, solve and interact with one another.

The Health Craze

We’ve heard it many times before: A colleague, a family member, or a friend visits websites like WebMD, they look up their ‘symptoms’, and panic when they find out they have a terminal disease – only to find out later from their doctor that it’s not the case. The same goes with social media! Except, instead of a website, people reach out to the social network to collect an opinion from the general public about their condition. Such a case isn’t rare at all! Just go and pay reddit.com a visit. According to Timothy Bird, president and COO of Cooney/Waters Group, individuals now turn to the Internet as their primary source of health information.  A study by Pew Research reports that 72% of Internet users looked online for health information within the past year. People are exchanging stories about health to help understand what is happening to them and their loved ones right now and what might lie ahead.

So, which mediums should hospitals utilize in order to best promote proper health information and minimize health misinformation on the Internet?

Health Social Media 101 – Social Media Channels and Engagement Platform

IMS Health Report’s infographics provided a very simple, and easy to follow comparison chart of different social media channels covering the basic health communication principles, objectives and goals

IMS Institute Social Media Comparison Chart

In order to manage social media conversations effectively, a social media management platform or tool is used. However, most social media platforms are limited in their function, or not aligned with the need of the medical industry. For example, some social media platforms limit searching capabilities based on keyword or hashtags in social media conversations – such method will exclude patients or potential clients who are in need of assistance. In addition, some social media platforms do not provide a comprehensive user analysis algorithm, analytics module, or engagement tool. Finally, hospitals and clinics prefer to utilize a social media platform that can help target local communities and patients – assisting hospitals to reach out to people that matter. Therefore, an ideal social media solution is required that can help hospitals and clinics achieve their goals and objectives.

The ideal social media solution should utilize a location-based communication and analytics tool that can easily integrate all social media platforms. Which is why we developed WeLink. WeLink is a cloud-based hyperlocal social-media monitoring platform that utilizes enhanced geo-fencing techniques, sophisticated Wi-Fi ping technology and an intelligent user analysis framework.

Through the robust framework provided by hyperlocal, hospitals and clinics can:

  • Reach out and engage with patients and community members with social media
  • Promote health and increase patient education through targeted communication
  • Identify potential patients using geo-fencing and Wi-Fi ping technology
  • Increase the wellbeing, health, and security of the local community

Case Study – Fighting Ebola Virus Disease with Social Media

As of October 10th 2014, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 4,033 deaths related to the Ebola virus in West Africa. With over 4,600 confirmed Ebola cases, and over 8,400 cases of potential Ebola patients, the disease is spreading quickly. The Ebola virus claimed its second victim in the United States, and other countries, including Spain, Germany, and Norway, are treating a handful of cases as well. The head of the WHO, Margaret Chan, recently stated that the of the cost of panic “spreading faster than the virus”, citing a World Bank estimate that 90% of the cost of the outbreak would arise from “irrational attempts of the public to avoid infection” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29603818).

While there are no available treatments against the Ebola Virus Disease, preventative measures are available that can help mitigate the spread of the deadly disease.

Rope

The Tape

You miss someone so much as to wish your heart was made of water to forget and shift away;

staying up late to not sleep so you won’t dream of her, either.

You pray it’s just another tape that got accidentally played;

your mind scrambles around to catch the mischievous trigger.

It’ll be just fine, it’ll be alright.

And as time clocks away, things will get better.

Mother-and-child[1]

Mother’s Love

One day a man tempted an ignorant boy
Using his money, in order to achieve his objective

He said, “O young one, bring me the heart of your mother
And money, jewels and pearls will be yours!”

So he went and plunged a dagger into her chest
And took out the heart and returned the way he came

But because of his haste, he fell
And the dusty heart rolled away as he stumbled

The heart of his mother called him, and he was covered in dust,
“My son! My beloved! Are you hurt?!”

The voice, although it was so gentle, yet
It was like the wrath of the Heavens had fallen on the boy

Thus he understood the enormity of his betrayal that nobody
Had committed but him in the history of mankind

So he rushed back to the heart washing it with the tears
Of his eyes that flowed from the flood of sorrow

And he said, “O heart! Take your revenge from me and do not
Forgive, because my crime is unforgiveable.

And if you forgive then surely I will kill myself
Like those before me who have committed suicide.”

So as he unsheathed his dagger to kill himself,
A stabbing that would remain as an example to those who seek lessons,

The heart of the mother called him saying, “Stop your hand and do not strike my heart twice in succession!”

Ibrahim al-Mundhir

إبراهيم المنذر

Fractal Modeling - Carleton College

Science and Art

Last night, my friends from the San Jose Baha’i community hosted a devotional program with the theme revolving around the arts at the San Jose Baha’i Center. The program was exciting and out of the box. Having had held devotionals before at our house, this program was different. The devotionals started with series of prayers from the Holy Writings, where we then transitioned to reading quotes relevant to the arts from Baha’i Writings and other sources. After everyone has shared their thoughts on the Holy Writings and arts, we broke out into groups and engaged in artistic activity; whether it is creative writing, composing music, theater/drama, or traditional arts. It was a great idea to build a sense of engagement in the program that provides both spiritual and mental growth in one setting.

Many great points and views were shared during the discussion portion of the group. Among them include how the arts and science are interchangeable, and how art has evolved in history to finally reach the stage where humanity can foster their talents and have access to tools and instruments related to art with ease. In addition, one of the participants has expressed that art is not only a mean to entertain the public, but also to express oneself of their identity and emotions; a channel to which people can express their thoughts and ideas. Another point made is how powerful arts are, and how it can be used to promote the well-being of community, or lead to tyranny. An example of such power can be seen during World War II where the arts were used to promote the propaganda and the interest of one nation.

From these points, I realized that through the power of art and practicing of the art, people can help discover themselves and shape themselves in a healthier manner rather than idolizing individuals and following their footsteps religiously without reflection.

If art were to be the medium of self-expression, science complements it as the medium of understanding of the self.

Art and Science can be interchangeable, where a mathematical formula or computer architecture can be defined as “beautiful”, and the beauty and mystery of symmetry can be reflected through the lens of geometry.

Whether you are a scientist, an artist, or a mix of both, excel in them. Let it become a portal of human progress and self-development, for both yourself and your community.

The Video

The video that I posted in this blog shows a beautiful correlation between arts and sciences. The amazing discovery by Ramesh Raskar, associate professor at MIT Media Lab and co-founder of EyeNetra, presents how light (or packets of photons) travels. What was magnificent is how light did not create a ripple effect on a tomato due to the properties of tomatoes structure, where light travels internally and then exits in the back (or wherever the light bounces from within the tomato). The idea was derived from a work of art made possible by a scientist (the bullet piercing through the apple photograph, for example), and this is among the many steps of progress in the field of physics, and of art.

Symphony-piano-4639669-2560-1896[1]

Gambetta & Crary – Mozart in Hell

Of course, you’d be aware by now that the music is originally composed by Mozart, or more specifically, Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major (‘Alla Turca’) K. 331 (K. 300i): III Rondo alla turca (That’s a REALLY long title).

Beppe Gambetta is an Italian musician born in Genoa in 1955. An acoustic guitar flatpicker and singer, Beppe has been called a “virtual United Nations of influences: Italian, Ukrainian, Appalachian, Sardinisn, Celtic”. He is a composer, teacher, and researcher of traditional music and instruments.

Dan Crary (aka Deacon Dan Crary) is an American bluegrass guitarist. He helped re-establish flat-picked guitar as a prominent soloing bluegrass instrument. Crary is an innovator of the flatpicking style of guitar playing. He is also a Speech communications Professor at California State University, Fullerton. Crary categorizes himself as a “Solo flatpicker” and has recorded several projects that feature him along with guests, usually other innovators of the guitar in all styles.

These two interpreted that Mozart piece and transformed it into this magical piece of music.

700-864718
wallpaper-394902[1]
Bus Stop

Bus Ride

The cold breeze caresses my face
I sneeze out quietly, hiding my mask.
Its yellow light signals to me,
To ride with it home is its task.

Its doors open, like gates of Troy,
And I show my permission. I enter
The bus, warm, soothing and cozy
Shielding me from the freezing winter.

The winds that turn the leaves to gold,
Strike the bus with its golden touch.
The night of darkness now unfolds,
Plunging the bus to its hutch.

Protected, I shut my eyes,
Hoping to arrive home soon. I fell asleep…

Berthe_Morisot - Le Berceau - 1872

Eve

In the cradle, our tears fall for water
Until we hear the soothing voices of our mother
Sings her lullaby to her child with grace
You hold her with majestical embrace

Her heart beat, enriched with love and warmth
Her soul, praised by the Mighty and exalted
She is the knight we call for assistance
Or the angel in our dreams

Our eyes shut, our thoughts transform to fantasy
Gently, she takes us to our cradles
Prays to Lord for His care and protection
To gaurd the infant from malevolence

With tears, she ends her prayers
The room turns dark…

You are an Island

You are an island, surrounded by a sea of experience.
Through courage and faith, you build your mountain,
Protecting your island with strength and resilience.
In this world, we are but a child exploring this piece of land
Roaming in the wilderness, playing by the shore
building sandcastles, until we are part of the beach’s sand.

Paradise Island Wallpaper by Nxxos

Diggiri Island, Maldives

Sokoot

So it has began, the moment of reason
Where the soul has been accused of abasement and treason
Facing the Judge, the jury by His side
The angels watching closely, as the soul is being tried

“Tell us of your story, tell us of yourself
Give us your perspective, one which we can serve.”
It closes its eyes, beginning to recall
The moments of its happiness, and the moments of its fall.

“You’ve given me all that I could wish for, given me the best gifts in hand
A career for me to flourish, a family that always stands
Beside me during my hardships, they assist me whenever they can,
And friends that I truly cherish, withstanding my pain and plans.

However, spring came with a surprise, stripping me away from life.
It lead me to the realm of hell, filled with tears and internal strife.
It drenched my heart, drowned my joy
Crushed my confidence, broken like a toy!

I found no justice to what has happened to me,
for I have given it my all; trust, love, and loyalty.
Yet despite it all, I’ve been left behind
Leaving me hopeless, tormented and blind…

Where should I begin?

Where should I go?

Would it even matter?

Would I ever know?

Why did it end the way it has ended?
Why there wasn’t a chance?
Have I done wrong to that person?
Or was this part of a plan?

The room was silent, the plaintiff comes
She faces the soul, her words were glum
“You have more questions than you have have answers,” she said,
“But it doesn’t give you the rights!” Her emotions were flared

Why was the soul being tried, why were it so cold?The angels heard patiently, as the story began to unfold.