Dutch Grand Rounds - Grote Visit: Happy Holidays Edition

Unfortunately for my Dutch friends it's my turn again to host Dutch Grand Rounds.

It's been a frantic few weeks preparing for my presentation at Ignite Boulder (organized by Startup Weekend and VC Wear founder Andrew Hyde and buddy Ted) working on various other behind the scenes meetings and initiatives, helping some Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0 friends with values clarification and goals, and getting some new fires started with the Clinovations gang in DC.

Many thanks to @laikas for calling my attention to this week's assignment, as otherwise I would have fallen down the on the job!

For this edition, let's take a quick look at living well during the holiday season, and gearing up for a Big Bang new year.

Sinterklaas has arrived in the Netherlands, and here in the US we're still busy preparing for Santa (and if some of your Twitter accounts are any indication, downing entirely too much eggnog and other assorted holiday cheer).

First up, let's talk winter blues.

SAD getting you down? Dr. Shock, a physician at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, tells us how to prevent the onset of depression here at his neurostimulating blog. We could all use a good jolt now and then...

And speaking of SAD, winter blues, jolts that jerk us out of complacency, and other things mental health...

Those of you who have seen the research Maarten den Braber and I have been working on for most of last year will know I'm addicted to improving care, via an almost rabid focus on advocating for transparent, usable online health content to support patient-provider conversation and subsequent decision-making.

Despite a near-constant wellspring of optimism that things are changing, a recent four-part experiment with my sister (searching for a Lasik provider; videos posted on YouTube here) changed my view of where we are in the evolutionary eHealth, Health 2.0 adoption process.

Patient/consumer-facing health content online is still largely found via an inefficient series of disconnected queries. Google encourages us to search for things like SAD, depression, etc. But we think in context, not in keywords, especially with regards to our health and wellness.

Over the past year, looking extensively at content online, I've come to the conclusion that if I believe we're headed for ubiquitous or semantic interoperability of health ("consumers will be able to access healthcare goods and services, online and offline, at will"), we need to focus first on credible, trustworthy content that helps patients and providers communicate based on a common substrate of personally, situationally relevant data.

This means, health and medical folks, that if you're in the field, you may want to try a test search yourself and see how far we have to go. And then think about doing something to solve the issue, instead of just posting complaining blog posts or tweets.

So next year, I'll be focused on doing just that - working to improve patient interfaces with web tech for health use (a very cyborg-anth orientation as I learned from @caseorganic at Ignite Boulder - check Amber out here).

As such, I'm proud to join the Organized Wisdom team as Chief Patient Advocate.

It's a unique new position (more details to follow) with a stellar company and team (@stevenkrein, @unitystoakes) I've admired for some time.

Responsibilities are still being ironed out, and I'll continue to work on various other initiatives (Nexthealth, Clinovations, semantic interoperability research, etc. etc.) but what better ways to chase away winter blues than gearing up for a big change?

But don't let me take the cake on this one...

To health and medical bloggers (and tweets) - seasonal downtime is the perfect opportunity for us to move forward with new initiatives and reenergize each other for the cold weather left before spring.

Even if you loathe the whole 'Happy New Year' resolution cycle, think seriously about where healthcare is headed, and where you want it to go. In this season, nearly anything seems possible. Focus on how to reenergize yourself for the next long year ahead. Let's figure out how to be each other's Vitamin C.

Now I'll jump off the cheerleader pulpit and back into the meat of this post...

Although Vitamin C may help prevent scurvy, it may NOT have drastic preventive effects when it comes to prostate cancer. Jacqueline at LaikasMedLibLog takes a refreshingly thorough, well-cited look at trials examining Vitamins C and E here.

Big lesson from Laika: Forget the quick fix.

"The trials make it highly unlikely that vitamins prevent the development of prostate cancer (or other cancers) when given as a single nutrient intervention. Instead, as Dr Sasso puts it “At the end of the day this serves as a reminder that we should get back to basics: keeping your body weight in check, being physically active, not smoking and following a good diet.”"

And yes, Jacqueline DOES practice what she preaches - op en fiets!

If you're a pharmacy tech and you want to move forward next year, consider certification.

Matthew Evers, of Evers Marketing LLC (and also apparently a premed student by day), has a guest-written post (I believe? Who's Ruth?) about allergies over at Fast Medical Info. This was a pretty random submission (and is hopefully not spam) but I'm the tolerant type, especially bolstered by holiday cheer.

Matthew - if you're on Twitter, please respond in the comments so we can follow your exploits. Also, you should get in touch with Berci Mesko of ScienceRoll and Webicina -you guys have interesting goals in communion it would seem...

Jan Martens at Medblog.NL gives us a review of a new 50 top Health 2.0 blog listing (which includes Laika's MedLibLog).

Good Christmas reading if you need to escape from the family for a little work time...are there any additional Dutch medical/healthcare/health innovation bloggers who should be included?

Any new entrants in the space to whom we should extend a virtual handshake? If you know anyone who's just begun publishing in our sector(s), please leave a link in the comments.

And finally, a very happy, safe holiday season for all.

May our health, and that of those around us, drive us to productive heights in the new year.

Gelukkige Vakantie!


Bongi said...

ek het nie geweet dat daar 'n 'dutch grand rounds' is nie. ek wonder of ek ietsie in afrikaans moet skryf en dit instuur vir 'n toekomstige weergawe?

kirsti said...

Hey Jen,
So sad I didn't get to see you in Boulder, you need to add a list of 'where Jen is appearing next' or a '
where's Jen?' item to your blog :)... I know I need to get onto being more visible myself so that is my resolution for next year -- and if we are not there already - can you extend a handshake to both http://www.syndicom.com and http://www.extanz.com (my home)....I'll try to get onto Twitter I promise but as a comm scholar, I know it will mess with my head in terms of communication mindsets.... blog coming on that topic shortly! :) Keeping rocking and all the best for the holidays!