I had been working for 12 and a half hours straight.
With only half an hour to go the scrap of paper with patient names and numbers was wearing thin along the fold lines. But, to my relief, each task that had been assigned had been dutifully scratched through.
A simple procedure to assess the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood was all that was left. I had minimal details; the ward, a bed number, a name. But no rationale for the test had been provided.
I headed out to the most distant ward, greeted the nurse with a tired hello and asked to see the patient’s notes. Far too much to read, but at least a confirmation of the plan to do the test. I asked the nurse where to get the equipment I needed. A needle and syringe, an antiseptic wipe, a bandaid, some gauze, a pathology bag.
At the door to the patient’s room I paused, the lights were out and it was quiet. It wasn’t that late, but clearly everyone in the room was asleep.
She was in the bed closest to the door, and startled when I woke her despite being as gentle as I could. We chatted for a moment as I explained what I’d been asked to do, and to find out if she knew the reason for the test. She did.
She was anxious about the needle, so I kept talking to her, asking about where she lived and about her family while I prepared.
She was old. But the youngest of all her family. Her children had died years ago and her husband long before them. She was an only child herself.
She averted her eyes and turned her head as I pushed the needle into the loose skin over her wrist, my other hand anchoring her strong pulsating artery as a guide. She took a short sharp breath then continued telling me about how things had changed. How she had started to become softer as she got older, that she used to be so strong and now was weak.
She cried. Not from the pain.
Her blood gushed in tiny waves into the syringe as her tears wet her cheeks. She made no attempt to wipe them away. I sat with her, keeping pressure on the place where the needle had pierced through. Held her hand. My pager bleeped, a loud cricket. And then it bleeped again. And still I sat.
She told me she’d be ok. She told me things weren’t that bad. She thanked me.
I smiled and hoped she wouldn’t be in hospital for long.
She smiled back and said she didn’t think so. But that, in the end, it didn’t really matter either way. She was ok.
I left the room, finished the paperwork, pulled out the scrap of paper and scratched off her name. Now I had only 10 minutes to go.
so a quick, and non-exhaustive, search didn’t find much in the area of monitoring social media status feeds for changes in mood/behavior. there has been quite a lot published on social media and health though.
further to my initial idea i’ve mused a bit more. read on.
It seems there’s not much research out there in terms of mental state and correlations with social media updates (content and/or tone).
A possible system for monitoring status updates would need to be ‘trained’ to each individual. It would require time to build a personalised mood dictionary that could then be used to monitor status updates in real time to provide feedback to the person (and/or their authorized mental health professional). This feedback could be graded information based on frequency of updates, mood parameters (as defined in the dictionary), durational information, and perhaps risk signals (for prioritizing interventional management). An analogous analogue system is the asthma action plans, where, based on peak flow readings and subjective symptoms there is a graded response for the person to follow with each intervention escalating in terms of medication and health professional involvement.
It would, of course, require the person to setup in consultation with a health professional and would need to have a discussion about confidentiality. For example, if there was a program that could monitor tweets in this way, what would stop someone else from monitoring a third-party? Being an official app you could limit input through oauth - but given unprotected tweets are public it would be possible to grab them an analyze them anyway. But to what end? I guess employers could monitor an employees mental state, which is ethically problematic. In terms of mental health, this could be extensible to people on Community Treatment Orders, monitoring their digital stream (including text messages, twitter, fb) for signs of deteriorating mental state and allowing early intervention. This is also an ethically difficult area, but I think there is some potential for this idea in improving the mental health of many people.
Anyone interested in looking into this further?
while riding to work i was musing on twitter and mental health.
i’ll have to go and search to see if it already exists, but i was thinking about the possibilities for people with bipolar or mood/affective diagnoses in terms of monitoring twitter streams. i was thinking that moving into a more manic phase may show more frequent tweets with any of the various elements of being in such a state appearing in content - as a monitoring tool this could be used to trigger earlier interventions to help people manage their condition. could probably even be an automated process to some degree.
will have a search and see what comes up.
He also said
When an apple fell on his head, Isaac Newton was inspired to describe his three laws of motion. These became the foundation of our ideas about physics. Being essentially objective, Newton ignored what it feels like to be the apple