Category Archives: MDchat

Starting Health Care from Scratch – MDchat

Grandiose question: If we could build health care (medical and nursing education, payment/indemnification structures, diagnostic and treatment research, etc.) how would you build it?

That’s the subject of #MDchat tonight – Tuesday, May 31, 2011. We’ll break up this grandiose topic into a few small chunks. [Chat took place and the transcript is embedded below. Link.]

The idea is this: Every system has as its basis the technological, cultural, economic, sociological, and other conditions of the times it was created.

But all systems evolve – or should evolve – to ensure it works properly.

Healthcare has multiple historic origins – and much of those origins extend to a decidedly military flavor. “Doctor’s Orders!” – on the battlefield, a physician’s orders carried the weight of an officer. We still use that phrase today. A legacy element of a legacy system.

So, if one wants to know how to ‘re-form’ a system with which we’re all frustrated, a basic way to navigate and orient is to ask: If we built this thing right now with what we know and have, what would it look like? Call that Vision.

Then you look back at the way things are and their origins. Call that Legacy.

The changes we need to make – and this is admittedly highly simplistic – are equal to Vision – Legacy.

So we’ll discuss (Vision – Legacy) in Health Care in these three areas:

  • T1 Medical Education: What legacies in Med Ed need to be ditched and what aught to replace them?
  • T2 Patient-Provider-Pharmaceutical-Complex: from research to marketing, what needs to change?
  • T3 Incentives: How would we structure funding/payments? What fixes to current state are a must?
Follow the conversation tonight here – or read the transcript, embedded below:

First FDA Approved Diagnostic Radiological Mobile App and IOM Report On Expanding Nursing

On tonight’s MDchat (February 8, 2011), we’ll discuss these topics:

  1. The first FDA approved diagnostic radiological mobile application
  2. IOM’s report on expanding nurses’ role in Healthcare

Here’s the transcript:


Transcript of MDchat on Younger-onset Alzheimer’s

Below is the transcript from tonight’s MDchat on Younger-onset Alzheimers. For more on the backstory, please read this.

Here’s the transcript:

We’ll post more thoughts on the chat soon, but I wanted to get the transcript out to regular readers.

In the meantime, if you attended the chat, please feel free to continue the conversation here.


Alzheimer’s MDchat with Gwen Richards and Libby Embry

On Tuesday, January 25, 2011 MDchat, in conjunction with Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (@EinsteinMed) and Alzheimer’s Association, is proud to host a fireside chat on Alzheimer’s with Gwen Richards and Libby Embry.


Alzheimer's Association logoGwen and Libby are members of the Early-Stage Advisory Group of Alzheimer’s Association and have graciously agreed to tell their stories about facing Alzheimer’s on our Twitter chat – the first of its kind, where Gwen and Libby will have the chance to take questions from physicians, nurses and the public through the medium of Twitter.

Gwen and Libby were diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s, but their stories about how and when they were diagnosed – and treated – are different, shedding light on the need for much better awareness of the course of this disease and its impact on the people with it, their loved ones and healthcare providers.

Their role on the Early-Stage Advisory Group has helped better inform both the Alzheimer’s Association and the medical community on how to improve patient-provider communications.

Here are their full profiles, courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association:

I spoke with Gwen and Libby, courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association, to give them a sense of how Twitter works, to explain the uniqueness of Twitter chats, to hear their stories and to get to know more about them. They are each wonderful and kind women, and I’m honored to work with them.

“With Alzheimer’s especially, Einstein and MDchat saw an opportunity to create a chat format that fills a largely unmet need: allowing people in the early-stages of the disease to tell doctors and other health care providers exactly how they want to be treated and included in their diagnoses and treatment plans,” said Paul Moniz, director of communications and marketing at Einstein.

The chat is also timely.

On January 20, 2011, an FDA advisory committee recommended conditional approval the use of a dye that detects brain plaque using PET scans. The reality is if the full FDA approves the use of PET scans for this purpose many more patients, including those in the earliest stages, could have a much more clear and credible understanding of what is causing their symptoms.

It’s important to recognize Gwen and Libby for the courageous leaders that they are. Their role on the Early-Stage Advisors panel has helped better inform both the Alzheimer’s Association and the medical community on how to improve patient-provider communications.


This is an unique moment, one where we hope to advance communications among patients and providers in light of the technological changes of the 21st Century.

Since the dignity, safety and enjoyment of Gwen’s and Libby’s time are my my top priorities, I’ve outlined a few points and made a video concerning etiquette and process during the chat. Please review the points below and view the video prior to attending the chat.

Here are the basics of the format:

  • We’ll introduce Libby and Gwen. Since Gwen and Libby are not active users of Twitter, they will receive some help for the actual tweeting.
  • For the first half hour, @MD_chat will ask questions directed at Gwen and Libby and they will use those questions to tell their story (at this point, participants are asked to hold off questions until the second half)
  • Links to Alzheimer’s resources will be provided according to the pace of the chat
  • During the last half of the chat, participants will have the opportunity to ask Gwen and Libby questions, which @MD_chat will moderate.

We believe this is the first time such a chat has taken place on Twitter.

Why Twitter?

Twitter’s simplicity and intimate ambience provide an opportunity to reveal key points about a social object. It’s also a paradoxically democratic media: the dictatorship of the 140-character limit puts all users on content-parity.

Twitter is by no means a diagnostic nor treatment medium. That would be a misunderstanding of its usefulness in health care. Rather, it’s a propellent for social connections, brief sharing of content elsewhere and the exchanging of essential viewpoints and experiences.

Read MDchat’s About page for more on Twitter’s role here.


We hope this chat reveals the promises and challenges facing health care in the 21st Century. Nurses, physicians and the public do need better ways to understand each other. Twitter’s far from a solution. Rather it’s a wing for gently lifting hope of better care.

The hashtag is #MDchat and you can follow along on TweetChatTwitter Search or the Twitter client of your choice. If you’re new to Twitter or Twitter chats, here’s a video tutorial I did for RNchat (just substitute MDchat).

This special fireside MDchat on Alzheimer’s will be held on Tuesday, January 25 at 9pm Eastern. Feel free to participate respectfully, or simply follow along the chat.


Our Newsletter


MDchat January 18, 2011

MDchat for January 18, 2011:

Topics discussed:

  1. T1 Withholding Info: Are there times when w/holding info from patients is ethical & less harmful than truth? See]
  2. Nutrition: How can physicians do more to educate patients on nutrition? Does medical school provide enough training?

Here’s the transcript:

Concerning Topic 1 (T1), here are just a few favorited tweets (click image to enlarge):

[Link to the chat's transcript if you can't view it here.]

For regular updates, follow MDchat on Twitter: @MD_chat.


Guest Host of MDchat – Einstein Medical College

Tonight, Albert Einstein Medical College of Yeshiva University will host #MDchat. Paul Moniz will be tweet the topics out of Einstein’s Twitter account @EinsteinMed.

The theme of tonight’s chat will be Diabetes. Topics will range from the effect on the care of patients with diabetes of low insurance reimbursement, adherence, the growing epidemic of diabetes and other areas of interest.

This is the first time that a third party is hosting MDchat – and it’s an encouraging sign of getting providers and organizations to contribute their perspective and to participate in emerging media.

We are delighted and honored that Einstein Medical College and its staff have agreed to participate in tonight’s chat and we wish them well.

Details of tonight’s chat, including resources and a transcript, will be published after the chat is finished.

If you would like to be considered as a host for MDchat, please email: or call Phil Baumann: 484-362-0451.


Transcript of MDchat for October 12, 2010

Earlier today we hosted the second #MDchat. The turnout of physicians was good, and the conversations were quite focused with great contributions.

Following is the transcript, which you can also view here.

Topics included:

T1 Technology in Medicine: What media technologies do you use most often. Why? What would you like to see come to market?

T2 The Physical Exam: NYT posted re: the return to examination basics. Are basics being lost? Or improved?

You can suggest topics or add comments for MDchat on our suggestion form over here.

A warm regard to all who contributed (or lurked) today.

The next #MDchat is going to be tomorrow, Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 9pm Eastern.

@PhilBaumann – @MD_chat

Transcript of the First MDchat for October 5, 2010

Well, today marked the inaugural Twitter chat for physicians – #MDchat. There were a little over 500 tweets this first round and the topics included:

  • Why did you become a physician?
  • What is your vision of Healthcare in the 21st Century?
  • What are the promises and pitfalls of the intersection of the Internet and Healthcare?

Below is the transcript for the chat, which you can also view here:

You can also view a contextualized live-stream of ongoing tweets on #MDchat here. Also, for a newspaper-like view of the tweets of people which @MD_chat follows, check out our Daily here.

It was a pleasure moderating today’s chat – the turnout was higher than I expected for a first chat. It certainly was much higher than the launch of RNchat in September 2009 – but Twitter was still coming into mainstream attention then.

There was a diverse mix of participants. I will sort through other data get an idea of how many physicians took part.

My hope is that physicians will become the core group of participants – it’s not an easy thing to do, especially since the relative proportion of clinicians to the general population is rather slim.

There was great discussion, but I do hope to see more participation of doctors, so we can hear their voice – that’s one the major purposes of MDchat.

We shall see: that’s my role (and anyone else who moderates): to lead and shape the chats, and then step away and let natural processes go their way.

Can’t know unless you try. For some constructive criticism from a physician’s view, see @DoctorAnonymous’ post here.

Nobody has actually tacked this matter yet, so I’m happy to be brave enough and lead the way. You’re welcome to help out, whoever you are.

I’ll be curious to see how the chat evolves – who participates, how topics are addressed, what feedback is received, and if the community enables physicians to be the core group around which ambient conversation with the rest of the public can orbit.

I’m grateful to all the participants – this is the first- pass at using Twitter’s platform to foster these kinds of discussion and ambience. They may not be for everyone – there are varying opinions on their value, etc. – but the reaction I’ve been getting through back-channels has been enthusiastic and supportive.

In order to accommodate physicians’ schedules, I plan on offering other times. I’m also planning to help others moderate these chats in order to bring up topics through the eyes of physicians.

If you have any topic suggestions, please email them:

The next #MDchat is Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 12:30pm EDT.


The World’s First Twitter Chat for Doctors: #MDchat

MDchat logoPhysicians are an important part our society, possessing a wide array of knowledge and experience and insight into the human condition. The public value of this collective reservoir of talent is priceless. As the pace of our world quickens and the demand for information rises, needs for easily accessible commons for physicians to air their perspectives – from health to technology to politics –  will grow.

One such simple and easily accessible commons is the ambient chatter that Twitter can foster. To the uninitiated, Twitter may appear to be a frivolous stream of drivel and narcissism. As a matter of fact, it does enable a lot of that.

But Twitter enables other purposes beyond drivel and narcissism.


I started RNchat (@RNchat) over a year ago and have found it to be a simple means to enable nurses to connect and network; share experiences and information; and express their diverse views and opinions and knowledge with others from around the world instantaneously.

For one physicians’s perspective on Twitter, read Dr. Westby Fisher’s story on his journey from Doubting Thomas to power user.

I think it’s time that physicians are offered a similar opportunity to find each other, crowdsource other physicians and otherwise learn to participate in the ever-evolving communications and social platforms of our century.

A Twitter chat may not be for all physicians – medicine is a diverse profession. But it can facilitate new exchanges and catalyze the learning process for physicians who need to acquire a better apprehension of today’s media.

Twitter epitomizes the general direction of 21st Century communications. It’s core feature is a flexible simplicity which enables endless permutations of re-purposed utility.

Twitter is not one thing. It is by itself neither social nor conversational. Rather, it’s a pliant and ambient technology that permits several different purposes which can grow around it.

Physicians certainly have many other platforms to share their ideas and convey their messages. But we also need physicians to experiment and learn and use the novel communications protocol that is Twitter. The serendipitous radiation around its ambient intimacy is hard to replicate elsewhere.


So rather than waiting for doctors’ orders, I am launching @MD_chat for physicians to participate in advancing our collective understanding of the influences of emerging technologies on our culture, health, privacy, dignity and many other aspects of the human condition.

Below is a slideshow introducing MDchat and explaining how it works (if you can’t see it, you can view it here or here):

The hashtag will be #MDchat.

MDchat is not limited to MDs – all physicians are welcome to join. I merely selected it for its catchy feel. Over time, I believe specialty chats will develop.

If you’re a physician, please don’t think you’re an exception or exclusion from conversations orbiting emerging technologies – quite the contrary!

Follow @MD_chat on Twitter. If you don’t have an account, sign up here. I’ll be available to guide interested parties.

Transcripts of chats will be posted on this site as well as on Scribd and Slideshare.

My goal is for physicians to eventually lead and moderate these chats. I’m merely acting as facilitator. If you are a physician and are interested in leading – or wish to submit topics – you can do so via email or Twitter. Or you can just call me the old fashioned way: 484-362-0451.

For now, I’d like to welcome all physicians to the usefully serendipitous – and often amusing – world of Twitter.

Mayo Clinic recently announced the formation of its Center for Social Media. Missing in the first member of its advisory board was a physician. But that won’t last long: soon enough a physician will be involved – and not just on Mayo’s Center. We hope #MDchat helps nudge physicians to add their priceless input to 21st Century communications.

Our inaugural #MDchat will be held Tuesday, October 5, 2010 12:30pm EDT.

If you got through organic chemistry in one piece, Twitter should be a no-brainer to figure out.

Welcome to @MD_chat! (mind the underscore)

Phil Baumann, RN