Sunday, June 28, 2009

Safety Nurse says, "Tweet this!"

If you have a professional or personal passion and haven't yet been to Twitter, the mothership of micro-blogging, you should! In the twitterverse, I am Safety Nurse. (Be patient, the taxonomy will chafe less with time.)

Why Safety Nurse?
I'd like to think that when I seek health care, I don't come out with more problems than I had when I went in. And I want the same for you. That makes me a patient safety advocate.

Here's why I find Twitter useful:
Twitter makes it easy to find others who have the same or parallel interests. I share resources and ideas I find worthy and evaluate what catches the attention of others. Filters and selective decisions about who I "follow" enable me to see tweets that are more likely to yield high-interest information, leaving minutiae tweets in the background. (There is something of an art to figuring out how not to see game results from someone's little leaguer. Again, filters are our friends.)

Twitter is a powerful virtual community, bringing people (and their opinions, insight, and networks) together with efficiencies not previously possible.

What can be said in 140 characters:
The 140 character limit can be a challenge, but often ignites creativity. Links to other sites are frequently included in the 140 characters, but the length constraint is actually desirable. Tweets exceeding 140 characters are the equivalent of "get a room" (or "get a blog").

This is what I tweet:
In 2001, the Institute of Medicine published a seminal report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, that identified six healthcare characteristics that lead to better, cheaper, and more reliable systems. They are:
  • safe
  • effective
  • timely
  • efficient
  • patient-centered
  • equitable
The IOM's "Big 6" continue to form the backbone of reform measures that stakeholders champion (or resist), and that citizens hear batted around as healthcare reform takes center stage. Although I'm primarily interested in processes that make healthcare safer, I promote and pass-along sensible ideas that address or help align the other five.

Outlier tweets:
Occasionally I tweet something only tangentially related to heathcare, like: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -Ben Franklin. I also choose to follow a small number of folks who tweet outside of my primary areas of interest. For example, I follow Coldplay, an activity that leads me to free downloads when the band decides to reward their followers. (Whether Twitter leads you to freebies depends on your area of interest. I'm a medication safety advocate, meaning you shouldn't count on finding directions to a valium salt lick anytime soon.) I also follow Marlee Matlin because she's a high profile deaf person who tweets helpful things about captioning and deaf advocacy that I like to know about.

Tweet at ya later!

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