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Mendero Medical Center: Finally, a tertiary hospital to serve Cebu's northern towns

Consolacion and North Cebu will soon welcome a general hospital within their reach.

The 2nd Globe Cebu media Excellence Awards

Yours truly was a finalist of the 2nd Globe Cebu media Excellence Awards.

Two from a Cebu medical school top the boards, 100 percent passing for said medical school

Two students from the same medical schoolin Cebu topped the medical board exams.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thanks to Smiling Kidneys Club Supporters

As promised, the Smiling Kidneys Club, a hemodialysis patients support group would like to thank their generous supporters in this page who have helped the group in one way or the other.

Dr. Monteclar, Dr. Mata, Stephen thru Mr. Talaba, the Talaba Family, Rose Ann, Mrs. Rodrigo, Drs. Francisco and Carmela Remotigue, Engr. James Topaz, Dr. F. Berdin, Dr. Pia Quinones.

Thank you and may God bless you a hundredfold.

As of now, we are planning activities primarily to educate patients and their families regarding how to deal with their condition positively.

On February 23 11 AM (Sunday), hemodialysis patients of Asia Renal Care 1 Cebu will be listening to a short lecture on Calcium/Phosphorus to be delivered by nephrologist Dr. John Li. This activity is organized by the Smiling Kidneys Club with the help of the Asia Renal Care 1 family.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Is there value in using social media for healthcare in the Philippines?

During last week's #HealthXPh Hangout on Air (HOA), network connection difficulties prevented me from participating for the entire duration of the HOA. So I decided to put here my answers to the questions posted last week regarding social media's value in healthcare in the Philippine context.

T1: Is there value in using social media for healthcare in the Philippines?

It's a big YES for me especially that we Filipinos are supposedly one of the top users of social media in the entire globe. A lot of people can be reached via social media especially when telecommunications companies are beginning to offer free use of social networking sites.

Social media offers an avenue for

  • communication
  • collaboration
  • information gathering and sharing
It also has a multiplying effect as posts get shared via social bookmarks and other social media tools reaching more and more people. In my observation though, not many local doctors are tapping social media for healthcare purposes.

T2: What social media tools do I use for healthcare and how do I use them?

I use blogs first and foremost. My PKD blog documents my experiences not as a healthcare professional but as a patient in the hopes that my readers who have PKD may learn something out of it as they cope with PKD. As a public health advocate and healthcare professional, I blog also about public health topics as well as inform health professionals of coming medical events in my other blogs.

I use Facebook in various ways both as a patient and healthcare professional.

I have a Facebook support group for hemodialysis patients. I read and share health articles. I engage my students (future physicians) by posting points to ponder or points to reflect upon. As a patient, believe it or not, Facebook is where I get a lot of moral support as well as financial support thru crowdfunding. I connect also with others using Facebook.

Googleplus is where I also share my health blog articles to reach more people.

Instagram is where I post pics that would help inspire other hemodialysis patients to remain having a positive outlook despite their illness. It is where I post also pictures with messages.

Twitter is also where I connect to people with similar  interests, people I look up to, model health professionals and persons of influence. Twitter is also where I get the fresh medical and social media updates, health news, health researches and many more. Of course, it is also an avenue to share opinions as well as have meaningful conversations like in #HealthXPh tweetchat.

T3: Do you think there should be guidelines for social media use in healthcare institutions?

With the importance of patient privacy, yes there should be guidelines. With location easily tracked or determined in social media plus the date given, even without mentioning names, a patient can easily be identified with just a few details or a revealing photograph needed when patients and their cases are discussed online.

Now that we know the value of social media in healthcare, I am inviting healthcare professionals including doctors to use social media not only for personal use but also for improving healthcare.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How social media helped me during 2013

Inspired by my #HealthXPh core collaborators colleagues' blog posts on life with cancer or life of a patient with prolactinoma, I am going to share how social media helped me as a patient during 2013.

You see, year 2013 was the most difficult for me. I thought I would not even reach December of this year.

I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure secondary to my Polycystic Kidney Disease and things were looking bleak. I was losing weight fast and I was advised for kidney transplant. I do not have enough money for the kidney transplant and dialysis is too costly for someone like me who is not into clinical practice. Typical problems of patients, right? And as a doctor, I am now experiencing these very real problems.

But it turns out I have nothing to fear......Social media to the rescue! With the help of Facebook via my Transplant Fund page, donations and from friends, family and even anonymous and unknown persons poured in. If I had a matched donor, I would have been able to afford the Philhealth Z-package for kidney transplant with the donations. Unfortunately, I am a CMV IgG antibody negative recipient-to-be and I am not covered under the Philhealth Z-package if my kidney donor is the opposite. The donations were still useful for my dialysis sessions though along with the very expensive antibiotics I was on during my days of frequent bouts of fever due to an infection in my initial temporary dialysis access.

I did not lose hope, thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My spirits were always high and on the positive end due to continuous messages of support and even likes from social media. Believe it or not, it helped keep away depression for me along with writing for my blogs.

Even as I studied the signs and symptoms of my condition in medical school, nothing prepares you better of things to come than participating actively in online patient support groups where you "meet" persons in the same situation as you are. From pains here and there, questions on what to expect, previous experiences and a whole lot more. Links from Twitter, Facebook and social media aggregators taught me so many new things related or unrelated to my condition.

Unexpectedly, my network of friends not just online but offline increased now more than when I was physically at the peak of my health. More opportunities came now when I am relatively "sick" than when I was healthier and it came at the same time when I decided to tap social media's potential.

Slowly but surely, with hemodialysis and with the constant support obtained by way of social media, including moral support, I was able to regain my strength, my weight and my "healthy" appearance. I did not look sickly anymore. I was regaining my form.

Heck, I was actually on a roll towards the second half of 2013. From having frequent bouts of fever and chills, I was back to doing things. I even won a research grant this year! Also, thanks to the Lord, I won Personal Blogger of the Year in Best Cebu Blogs for 2013, got nominated for Blogger of the Year in the Globe Cebu Media Excellence Awards and was able to participate in the Google Educator Group's first Workshop for Teachers in Cebu. In the dialysis center, I was able to participate in the protest against Pork Barrel via selfie protest.

During the aftermath of Supertyphoonn Haiyan (Yolanda), in my own little way, I was able to help disseminate information for relief, help find missing persons and update loved ones of a certain town with the use of social media tools like Facebook Page, Google Drive and Google Crisis Map.

To pay it forward, I founded a kidney patients' support group, the Smiling Kidneys Club last November to help kidney patients cope with their condition positively again with the assistance of a social media component (Facebook page and group). We are planning many things for next year and we are lobbying for increased number of free Philhealth dialysis sessions, non-discrimination of dialysis patients who are also considered PWDs, equitable PCSO assistance across regions among many others. (Below is the video summary of my year).

2013: The Year That Was for CebuMD

With social media, I can still accomplish things from my dialysis chair or at home. It wouldn't require me to physically exhaust my energies. And it is helping me as well as helping others. All it took was having the positive mindset despite my difficult condition and the openness to use social media.

Why am I talking about this? It is to convince doctors and patients alike to be not afraid of social media. Definitely, social media along with other emerging technologies can have a positive impact in the healthcare of our country. And the potential of social media as a positive force gets even better with collaboration.

Come join us every Saturday starting January 4 at 10 AM via Google Hangouts on Air for #HealthXPh where we discuss emerging technologies in healthcare and social media with the improvement of Philippine healthcare in mind. Know more about HealthXPh here.

Join the conversation in Twitter via hashtag #HealthXPh. The same hashtags can be used across other social media platforms. Join the #HealthXPh Community in Google Plus or the HealthXPh Community in Facebook or our Facebook group. Updates and links on the Google hangouts will also be posted there.


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