Population-based cancer registration has existed in the five Nordic countries for 35-50 years. With the exception of Sweden, the Nordic cancer registries not only collect figures of annual incidence, but also serve as institutes for cancer statistics and epidemiological research. The article gives an account of the scope of research based on cancer registries in the Nordic countries, as illustrated by examples from Finland.
Publicly accessible Facebook profiles were searched online from March to May 2010 for profiles of early-career veterinarians (graduates from 2004 through 2009) registered with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, Canada. The content of veterinarians' Facebook profiles was evaluated and then categorized as low, medium, or high exposure in terms of the information a veterinarian had publicly posted to Facebook. Through the use of content analysis, high-exposure profiles were further analyzed for publicly posted information that may have posed risks to an individual's or the profession's public image.
Facebook profiles for 352 of 494 (71%) registered early-career veterinarians were located. One-quarter (25%) of profiles were categorized as low exposure (ie, high privacy), over half (54%) as medium exposure (i.e., medium privacy), and 21% as high exposure (i.e., low privacy). Content analysis of the high-exposure profiles identified publicly posted information that may pose risks to an individual's or the profession's reputation, including breaches of client confidentiality, evidence of substance abuse, and demeaning comments toward others.
Almost a quarter of veterinarians' Facebook profiles viewed in the present study contained publicly available content of a questionable nature that could pose a risk to the reputation of the individual, his or her practice, or the veterinary profession. The increased use of Facebook and all types of social media points to the need for raised awareness by veterinarians of all ages of how to manage one's personal and professional identities online to minimize reputation risks for individuals and their practices and to protect the reputation and integrity of the veterinary profession.
Direct electronic communication between patients and physicians has the potential to empower patients and improve health care services. Communication by regular email is, however, considered a security threat in many countries and is not recommended. Systems which offer secure communication have now emerged. Unlike regular email, secure systems require that users authenticate themselves. However, the authentication steps per se may become barriers that reduce use.
The objective was to study the experiences of patients who were using a secure electronic communication system. The focus of the study was the users' privacy versus the usability of the system.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 patients who used a secure communication system (MedAxess) to exchange personal health information with their primary care physician.
Six main themes were identified from the interviews: (1) supporting simple questions, (2) security issues, (3) aspects of written communication, (4) trust in the physician, (5) simplicity of MedAxess, and (6) trouble using the system. By using the system, about half of the patients (8/15) experienced easier access to their physician, with whom they tended to solve minor health problems and elaborate on more complex illness experiences. Two thirds of the respondents (10/15) found that their physician quickly responded to their MedAxess requests. As a result of the security barriers, the users felt that the system was secure. However, due to the same barriers, the patients considered the log-in procedure cumbersome, which had considerable negative impact on the actual use of the system.
Despite a perceived need for secure electronic patient-physician communication systems, security barriers may diminish their overall usefulness. A dual approach is necessary to improve this situation: patients need to be better informed about security issues, and, at the same time, their experiences of using secure systems must be studied and used to improve user interfaces.
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