Saturday, August 18, 2012

Political Ad or Subtract

Unless you've been under a rock and you are just coming out to read this post, then you've undoubtedly heard ads that bash the other candidates in many political races.  Before it was just the candidate's camp that would spearhead the bulk of the attacks but now with the continued popularity of PACs and Super PACs, the attack ads have been coming fast and furious.  Here are a couple of ads that have been running.


The question is, do these ads truly add value to the political conversation or simply subtract from the real issues at hand?  Candidates are constantly seeking an edge in an environment where it seems the issues take a back seat to a 'sound bite' that is used to attack the other candidate.  And political party doesn't make a difference so don't try to use the "they started it first" argument as any type of justification.  All we want to know is, does the 'attack ads' actually persuade, influence, or nudge your decision or do the ads even matter at all?

We want to hear from you. Continue the conversation through your comments here or connect with us on our FB page or on Twitter.

Check out Community Conversations with The TRIO every Saturday at 10am on WTBN AM 570 & 910
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"Making a Difference in the Community."

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Community Conversations" goes Global with Social Media

It is amazing how social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become incredibly popular over the past few years.  I have even increased my use of these tools because of my work and the radio show. It has been estimated that Facebook will reach over 1 billion users by this August; you read that right…1 billion users by this August.  That translates to about 14% of the world’s population.  Oh, and Twitter is blowing up as well.  There are over 300 million messages that are tweeted each day.  Can you imagine the amount of information that is communicated with over 300 million tweets a day?  You have to admit, finding out that you are drinking a cup of coffee at the local coffee house is information that we can probably do without – but it is information.  The power of these tools cannot be underestimated.  People from every segment of the population are using these social media tools to get information and share information.  As you recall from our last blog about the use of social media, these tools are even invading the healthcare field as people are using it to share health information. 

The TRIO is not fighting this trend; well you may not see us tweet about our colonoscopy but we using these tools to get information out to the community.  So be on the look out for our Facebook posts and tweets.  We want to encourage all of our fans and listeners to follow our social media messages and re-tweet or share the information with your followers.  As we say on the show:  We want to have conversations that make a difference in the community. 

So like us on Facebook, follow our tweets, check us out on YouTube, or visit our website.  If it is information you want – we have it. 

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The TRIO:  Dr. Gee, Sean D, and Main Man

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Social Networking; Is this the answer to better care?

And the list goes on...
     These days it's difficult to escape the technical world. There are more and more technical advances that have crept into our daily lives as compared to 10 years, 5 years, 3 years or even 1 week ago! For some of us, to be without our smartphones for more than 10 minutes can mean the difference between a lost connection and sheer panic for missing the latest news 'tweeted' by our favorite celebrity. And there's one for you, who knew that the words 'Facebooking or Tweeting' would be acceptable action verbs?! But that's exactly the world we currently live in. According to a Nielsen survey from May 2011, 38% of all mobile phone users are smartphone users ( This means that more people have greater access to information at their fingertips or thumbs than ever before. But with all of these technical advancements and access to information, what is the impact to individuals using this technology to not only access information but also change their behavior based on their interaction with the technology? Does having more access to information lead to a more engaged consumer of healthcare? And what's the right balance between the personal interaction and technical tools interaction that leads to the desired behavioral changes?
     It has been documented that the doctor-patient office visit averages approximately 7 minutes after the doctor has gone through the information they need to complete the visit. That 7 minutes doesn't leave much time for patients to get the information from the doctor, process it, ask questions, and get additional answers on how to improve their health. But with patients relying more and more on information gathered from the internet to influence office visits, many doctors have expressed a frustration with the idea of so much information. A survey by Iverson, Howard, and Penney (2008) in JAOA categorized the frustrations in two areas, "reduced physician influence and increased time and cost burdens on physicians and the medical system that result from patient questions and requests for inappropriate testing or treatment".1 And how can you really fault the physician's for getting frustrated? I mean, if you had to answer every single question that a person may find on some website that may or may not be a credible source to begin with, how much of your work day could you make it through? And as one local physician quipped during a radio interview, of the reams of paper they may come in with, the majority of that information may be irrelevant to their specific situation. But technology does have it's place. That same article by Iverson et al concluded that the online research work of patients does have benefits related to enhanced engagement and participation by the patients in their own health care. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we want from patients? A vested interest in their own health outcomes.
     Now how does Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now the newest kid on the social space block Google+ get factored into the discussion. Is it ok to 'friend' your primary care physician and bombard them with questions as you come up with them? And what about that always hovering cloud of HIPAA regulations and its effect on these social interactions. Will the regulators swoop in and snatch a physicians license for responding to your question in an 'open space' where there was no expectation of privacy? The July 2011 issue of Healthcare IT News tackled the conversation of 'to tweet or not to tweet'. Because of the convenience of social sites like those just mentioned, there is a feeling among many that this is a great way to stay connected and get those much needed answers right from that respected source. And as the article states, if hospitals and clinics are not implementing some sort of strategy related to social networks then they are missing out! This interaction can not only be a tool for getting information out but also receiving information on the latest news and topics that can influence a physicians day-to-day practice. At the end of the day, 'best judgement' is a great way to steer clear of HIPAA violations.
     For better or worse, technology has changed, informed, and influenced our world in a way that will never be the same. With continued advances in the computing world (how many iPad like tablet's are on the market these days compared to 6 months ago?) and advances in the smartphone market, the amount of information at our thumbs is like we've never seen before. So while it's great to have access to all the 'cool' tools related to technology and the never ending avenues of information for patients and physicians, will patients really become engaged consumers that change their behavior because of a Tweet their physician sent them? Or will the ream of questions that patient brought into the office last week now be answered during a video-call between the patients primary care physician and the specialist that patient sees while the patient is Facebooking with their relative across the country whose comforting the patient and providing virtual moral support? I don't know, but that patient is really engaged!
We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the use of social media for health care purposes? Have you Facebooked or Tweeted your health care professional?

     1 - Iverson, S., Howard, K. B., and Penney, B.K. (2008). Impact of internet use on health-related behaviors and the patient physician relationship: a survey-based study and review. Journal of American Osteopath Association, 108(12), 699-711.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

What's the right answer?

When it comes to prostate cancer screening, the question of "should I or shouldn't I" get screened often conjures up feelings and facial reactions that cause a tightening of all the cheeks for many men. But with over 250,000 cases expected to be diagnosed this year and over 28,000 men expected to die from prostate cancer, you would think that question is a no-brainer. But not so fast.

The area of prostate cancer screening has been under intense scrutiny over the last several years and it seems that scrutiny has picked up over the last couple of months. You may have heard about some guy by the name of Warren Buffett being diagnosed with prostate cancer back in April. You would think a parade would be thrown in honor of the physician who performed the test thereby potentially saving the life of the "guru of investment" for the world famous Berkshire Hathaway company...last check showed the stock trading at $119,500 per share. As you might have already guessed, there was no parade for Mr. Buffett's physician. If anything, some people stop just short of gathering pitch forks and torches and taking to the streets to protest the screening of a man over 80 years old for prostate cancer! After all, most experts agree that any man over 70 is going to have some case of prostate cancer but it may not be prostate cancer that eventually takes his life. Many emotionally charged debates have occured between professionals and lay person's about whether the physician did the right thing by screening Mr. Buffett.

After all the debate most practitioners and researchers agree that men over 70 shouldn't be screened. But you may be saying, hey I'm a healthy man in my 40's or 50's, should I be getting screened? Well, according to the recently released recommendation from the US Preventive Task Force, no healthy man should be screened for prostate cancer using the PSA (prostate-specific antigen). Never ever you ask...ever ever. The reasoning by the task force is that there is too little evidence showing that this blood test saves lives. But there are two sides to this coin of to be screened or not. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the PSA had benefits when it comes to reducing mortality. Does that mean you should run out to your nearest doctor's office and scream for a PSA? 

Of all the information that is available about prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening, much of it points to being informed as a patient in order to participate in the final decision to be screened or not. As we are all engineered differently taking into account age, body make up, diet, family history, and ethnicity, being an informed consumer of health and speaking with your doctor may be the best remedy to deciding what's the right answer for you when it comes to prostate cancer screening.

For additional resources see:
Moffitt Cancer Center
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

While on break...

This short break from Community Conversations has taught us something very we miss our listeners! Although it was a necessary break as we had to get some family, school, and personal commitments in order, it was odd not waking up and heading down to the studio on Saturday morning. No phone calls and research into the late evening to line up guests. No cracking jokes during production meetings making the meeting last much longer than it should and all of us getting the "where are you?" call...all so we can provide a quality driven 2 hours of information and interaction with you, our loyal listeners... good times!

The wait will soon be over as we gear up for an expanded format beginning in June! We are very excited to bring Community Conversations back and appreciate all the feedback and love we have received during this time off. We couldn't incorporate it all but we heard everything so keep it coming. Don't want to give it all away but there is a lot of good 'ol and brand new edutainment, a spotlight where you help with the nomination, and the introduction of a brand new Doctor...that's just the first 10 minutes!!

Remember to keep in touch with us on Facebook: Community Conversations - The TRIO; Youtube: TheCCTRIO3; Twitter - TheCCTRIO. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Community Conversations Change Campaign (C4)

Change CAN be difficult to handle when the norm is just, well normal. Trying to eliminate or alter behavior patterns that have been part of your every day persona is a challenge. But when you make that personal decision to embark upon a campaign of change, you don't have to go it alone. The Community Conversations Change Campaign (C4) is looking to blow the lid off of the traditional start to the new year and extend our commitments through the first quarter of 2012.

Often times we make big plans at the start of the year but fail to share our new goals with anyone just in case we don't reach our goal. But rather than loosing face we typically escape that dreaded burden, accountability. If we keep our ambitions to ourselves then we don't feel so bad when we let it slide once...twice...maybe start again next week, month, or year! It is for this reason that many professionals suggest sharing your goal. And The TRIO wants you to share your goal with us as part of the C4 initiative. We want to hear your goals, share your successes, challenges, and triumphs.

This is not a place for judgement. This is a place for encouragement, enrichment, and a sense of community. The TRIO is not immuned to this challenge and will also be posting to the blog, Twitter account @TheCCTRIO, and Facebook fan page. Be part of the Community Conversations Change Campaign (C4) by stating your SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely).

"Quality of life is the mission, health is the focus."