When a Crazy Idea Catches On

by Rick Austin October 13, 2011 02:10 PM

Thanks to Ted Eytan for tooting his own horn on the success of a crazy idea of his.


He blogged originally about the walking meeting back in 2008, and now it’s been picked up by Franklin Covey for their productivity course, “The Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity.”


Ted admits that when he first started asking people to take a walking meeting with him, mostly what he got was startled looks like he had just asked them to go streaking with him. He persevered, and now there’s both anecdotal and research evidence that he’s on to something.


Just because something sounds a little crazy and outside of your usual comfort zone doesn’t mean it won’t work.


It got me to thinking, who do I know who comes up with the occasional crazy idea? What are your crazy ideas for better knowledge translation?


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Building Critical Thinking Muscle: The Top Three Questions

by Rick Austin June 28, 2011 12:52 PM

Here’s where we stand: e-patient communities – good; peer-to-peer medicine – good; weak critical thinking/investigative muscle – very, very bad.


A few weeks ago, I blogged about a conversation between Susannah Fox from Pew Internet and Ted Eytan, a medical doctor who is immersed in social media. Ted visited KTExchange.org and pointed out an article he had written about the use of social media in medicine, particularly the growth of online patient communities.


My concern, as it’s always been, is how do we get concerned, inquisitive people to engage their critical thinking faculties when talking with their peers about the personally important issues of medicine, health, disease, treatment? In a comment to me on a related blog, Cameron Norman of Censemaking had some essential insights: “I argue that people don't want health care, they want good health and wellbeing. Now, with information at their disposal and the experiences of tens, hundreds or thousands of peers rather than one or two doctors, nurses, social workers or physiotherapists, they are somewhat freed from being wedded exclusively to us expensive folk. This is largely a good thing, except that most people haven't been raised, educated or exposed in a manner that allow this investigative muscle to fully form.”


How would you answer these three questions about building this muscle?


1. Can our traditional educational system build the critical thinking muscle? Can it move quickly enough? How?


2. Can healthcare professionals, as Ted Eytan suggests, be motivated to step into the gap and spend more time educating their patients? If so, how?


3. Can the e-patient communities themselves build their own investigative muscle?


I’ll bet there are some good ideas out there.


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Social Media and eHealth - The Broad View

by Rick Austin May 16, 2011 02:34 PM

Susannah Fox had an interesting conversation with Dr. Ted Eytan this weekend, and it inspired me to drag out my knowledge translation soapbox.


Susannah – who tweets at @SusannahFox, and can otherwise be found everywhere both in person and on the webz talking about the illuminating statistics she and her cohorts at the Pew Internet Project generate – got into a back-and-forth with Eytan on her blog at E-patients.net. Eytan is a real-life medical doctor and a huge proponent of digital and social media… can you imagine?


They came to some consensus on the state of eHealth and the use of social media for researching health information, but they didn’t address my favorite soapbox issue! How will masses of users poorly versed in critical thinking skills be able to differentiate between truth and falsehood, let alone shaded arguments which require careful analysis?


Don’t get me wrong, the massive eHealth cultural movement being documented every day by the Pew Internet Project is a positive thing, but it’s accompanied by a growing rejection of, or indifference to, science, rationality, and critical thinking.


What do you think? Am I just being a curmudgeon, or does this growing rejection of critical thinking present an obstacle to the growth of eHealth?


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