Posted in #HCSM, social spotlight

Social Spotlight: Professor Brian Dolan

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This week it was my great pleasure to catch up with fellow Irish man and global citizen, Brian Dolan.  A director of Health Service 360, Brian has a career that spans more than 30 years working as a nurse and nursing leader with a background in both acute mental health and emergency nursing.

Hi Brian, I am keen to learn more about the role social media plays in your work. Has it led to any exciting projects? 

BD: For some years now I’ve been talking about the last 1,000 days – the time left if you’re an 80-year-old woman whose life expectancy is 83 years or 76-year-old man whose life expectancy is 79 years – and why patient time is the most important currency in healthcare. In July my blog on this topic was published by @FabNHSStuff and curated by the wonderful @PeteGordon68 and @ECISTNetwork. It seems to have taken on a life of its own through twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and will now the subject of my next book, ‘The Last 1,000 Days’. Thank you social media!

That’s really exciting Brian! So when did you start using social media. What prompted you to get started?

BD: I started using Facebook 7-8 years ago mainly for staying in touch with family and friends, as I work and live in New Zealand and the UK, as well as having extensive travel to Australia. With cousins in California it means I can chat with loved ones up to 19 time zones away!

I think that’s certainly true of many of us – we are led into social media for personal reasons, but then we discover a whole other side to it. Professionally, which platform do you enjoy using the most?

BD:  While Facebook has been wonderful for reconnecting with friends and family from childhood and beyond, I really enjoy Twitter as the single best source of Continuing Professional Development I’ve known in my career. I also love that you can create personal connections with so many eclectic, interesting and generous folk – like yourself Marie! – whom one might not otherwise meet.

I agree! Meeting like-minded people has been one of the most rewarding aspects of social media for me too. Which topics interest you? Do you take part in any particular twitter chats?

BD:  While unsurprisingly nursing is my main interest, quality and service improvement, all things Irish and PhD research are also places I live on twitter. Time zone constraints mean I don’t get to enjoy as many twitter chats as I would like but I like to catch up via their hashtags.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?

BD: Twitter is not just about Kardashians and the waters of healthcare Twitter are warm, kind and generous, so jump right in. Always be your best self on social media and don’t be tempted to feed the trolls!

Great advice! Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote with us?

No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people tells everything. Integrity is everything.

Thanks so much Brian for taking the time to share with us your experience of using social media in your work.  It’s been a pleasure to get to know you better through this interview and I look forward to hearing more about your new book when it’s published.


Read: The last 1,000 days: What happens when patient time becomes the most important currency in healthcare #last1000days

Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianwDolan

 

 

Posted in #HCSM, social spotlight

Social Spotlight: Dr Ollie Minton

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This week I am shining my social spotlight on Macmillan consultant, and honorary senior lecturer in palliative medicine at St. George’s University of London, Dr Ollie Minton.

Hi Ollie, I’m eager to learn more about how you are using social media in your work?

OM: As the saying goes no one reads your work except the reviewers and editor so sharing my interests and publications has gone a long way. I also think sharing articles and other things of interest is the best use of social media and by that I mean Twitter. I think some gentle campaigning such as Dying Matters and You Only Die Once (#yodo) pays dividends.

The more you make the connections, the more it pays off

We were able to promote our team at work and the  trust to a huge audience – you can’t buy that publicity – and demystify what we do. The rest is simply serendipity, but the more you make the connections, the more it pays off – I think for instance more of my work has been read since I tweeted links in the last year than ever before. I have enjoyed following and being followed by a wide cross-section of medical types and interest groups.

When did you start using social media. What prompted you to get started?

OM: I started during my PhD in earnest – feeling like a fish out of water – a clinician in the lab and the time any experiment took. I have then seen the proliferation of open data and access and feel that work both old and new can be shared equally. I also wanted to broaden my reading beyond my speciality and medicine to a degree.

Which platform(s) do you enjoy using the most?

OM:  Really for me Twitter offers it all and links take me to wherever I need to go. There is some mythical ratio of professional to personal interactions of either 80:20 or 70:30; and for the most part I think I stick to that. The only recent addition I have made is to write a few blogs – prompted by Twitter friends and m’learned colleague and friend Dr Mark Taubert who is also the associate editor of the BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care blog, so there’s a natural outlet and obviously you can then tweet the link to what you’ve written.

Which topics interest you; do you take part in any particular twitter chats?

OM: I’d hope I took the early lesson from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and hide in plain sight, with my interests, both clinical and academic, made explicit. I am interested in supportive and palliative care very broadly, which can encompass all aspects of health. I would focus on cancer care in particular, and long term effects of successful treatment. I take part in the relevant Twitter chats as a result – palliative medicine and radiation oncology journal clubs when the time difference internationally allow, and I do enjoy the debates in the @WeDocs chats both formal and impromptu.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?

OM: Don’t agonise too much – create a profile that allows a personality to come through – photo and bio obviously straight away and jump in.  As I said we docs are very community focused.

The only decent set of “rules” I ever read were by the UK civil service

It’s not rocket science – we must use common sense about everything we publish on digital and social media. Once something has been sent, it’s public. Following these guidelines correctly will ensure that your social media activity will enhance your job as a civil servant, while also retaining the highest levels of integrity.

Or the ASCO – no one is anonymous online and hide in plain sight.

Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote with us? 

OM: I’d cheat and recommend the 42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by from the recent radio 4 revival. But out of all of them, I’d choose:  ” All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others. The secular update of In God We Trust all others must bring data” (attributed to W Edwards Deming).

I really enjoyed learning more about your work and philosophy Ollie. I look forward to learning more from you on Twitter.  Thanks! 

Follow Ollie on Twitter @drol007

 

 

Posted in #HCSM, social spotlight

Social Spotlight: Dr Liam Farrell

facebook_f1fb8088feThis week it’s my great pleasure to shine a spotlight on the work of Dr Liam Farrell, an award-winning writer and broadcaster, an irrepressible humourist, and talented musician, and the founder of #IrishMed – Ireland’s first healthcare tweet chat.

Congratulations Liam on the success of #IrishMed.  Can you tell us what led you to start the tweet chat?

LF: I started the #IrishMed tweetchat over two years ago. I’d been taking part in other tweet chats such as #hcldr and #hcsm, and co-hosted a few, for #hpm and #dwdchat. On one of these (won’t say which, there was only one regular responder, which made it a long sixty minutes, so thanks Kathy Kastner for not leaving me high and dry). I’d found them interesting and stimulating, and then reckoned that we needed a similar chat on this side of the world.

I really like how you’ve brought an international audience together for #IrishMed. Was this your original intention?

LF: Initially I’d expected only Irish tweeps would get involved, but it rapidly grew into a global network, with regular participants from North America, Africa + Asia (we go out at 6 am in the morning in the Philippines, so fair dues to my good friends over there). It goes to show that health issues are universal.  Connecting with people and making friends from all across the globe has been a wonderful experience, all generous with their time and their wisdom, all trying to make the world a better place. #IrishMed is also non-hierarchical; all perspectives are valuable, whether specialist, generalist, patient, advocate, carer or general public, and it all helps to in breaking down the artificial barriers between healthcare professional and patients; after all every HCP (health care professional) will be a patient one day. And the dialogue goes both ways; HCPs learn about patient frustrations, patients can more appreciate the difficulties and limitations of medical care.

When did you start using social media? Were you an early adopter of any one particular platform? 

LF: My son Jack was a volunteer in Ohio for President Obama in 2012, and twitter was a great way of staying in touch with the pulse of the campaign. There is always a danger of twitter becoming an echo chamber, so I deliberately followed tweeps from all sides of the political spectrum. I’m a socialist, but like to think I’m ready to accept a persuasive argument from  a different point of view.

Which platform(s) do you enjoy using the most?

LF: I use Facebook mainly to keep in touch with my family and friends. Facebook was also handy to archive my columns in one place, and I’ve started a wordpress blog recently, as many of my journal columns are subscriber only and I thought they needed the light of day.  Twitter is my favourite platform, it allows rapid exchange of ideas, and at it’s best the format demands thought. The 180 character limit really forces you to make your responses punchy and concise; excessive verbosity is impossible. 

Which topics do you like to follow on social media? Do you take part in any Twitter chats outside of #IrishMed?

LF: “Doctors are the natural attorneys of the poor,” said Virchow. The contribution of medical care to population health is relatively minor; much more important are the social determinants of health #SDoH, sanitation, food, education, housing. The main cause of ill-health is poverty and doctors that don’t take a political stance are reneging on their responsibilities.

I’m particularly interested in palliative care, as in my rural practice we looked after our own patients, and I was also a postgraduate tutor in palliative care. Two thirds of patients die expected deaths, and there is simply no way the palliative care speciality can look after them all. Palliative care must become a generalist skill; often it’s not complicated, and the precious skills of the specialists should be reserved for difficult cases and for education. On a wider scale, educating the general population about death and dying is also critical; it should be a subject taught in schools.

As I write late at night and in the early hours (“What hath night to do with sleep?” Milton), #hcldr and #hscm are always good timing for me. The topics are wide-ranging and the opinions diverse, and I regularly learn something new and have my prejudices challenged. #HeathXPH is on Saturday afternoon, which unfortunately conflicts with watching horse racing. #hcldr was one of the inspirations for #irishmed; the other was the advice of the irreplaceable Marie Ennis O’Connor.

Twitter is such an accessible medium for rapid exchange of information, it’s very under-utilised at the moment; so many other disciplines could get involved. Myself and my maniacally energetic friend Sharon Thompson (@sharontwriter) recently launched #WritersWise – a tweetchat for writers and aspiring writers

I recognise that SoMe is soft power; words are cheap, and as we screen-writers say, “action reveals character.” but you never know when a message will have an effect, and someone, somewhere will be helped because of it.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?

LF: There is so much information out there, it can initially be bewildering. Follow the platforms that suit you best, and read Marie Ennis O’Connor’s blogs.

You’re too kind;-) Methinks the student has surpassed the master these days.

Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote to send us on our way today?

“I’m too busy to be brief;” Samuel Johnson

(One of my favourite quotes – though I think a tad ironic when it comes to Twitter! Ed)

It’s been terrific to learn more about how and why you use social media Liam and I look forward to seeing what new delights you have in store for your faithful following.  


  • Follow Liam on Twitter @drlfarrell
  • #IrishMed takes place every Wednesday at 10 pm Irish time. To learn more and view past transcripts visit www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/irishmed