Wonky Health – Crowdfunding health writing

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What makes people ill? And, perhaps more importantly, how can we keep people well? At medical school I was taught that everything came down to a combination of genetics and the environment, which is a way of saying just about nothing. We might go on to describe risk factors – smoking, blood pressure, lack of exercise, poor diet, alcohol – as being key. If you read the papers, staying well seems to be about ensuring a constant supply of supernutrients, amazingly to be found in that marketer’s client’s product. Being ill was purely about hospital beds, miracle cures and shiny machines – now sometimes phone apps.

Ask my patients why they are ill, and none will give these answers. They’ll say they can’t afford food basics, let alone superbooberry extract. They will talk about poor security in their homes, being unable to get a job, having to look after disabled relatives.

A while ago, I suggested to Melissa Sweet that Croakey should cover the health effects of policy decisions, and Melissa said, “Good idea, can you do it?” Croakey blog is funded by a group of organisations with an interest in public health. This funding doesn’t cover writing for new columns, and Croakey is experimenting with ways of funding other columns, such as the conference reporting service. This, of course, is at a time when the mainstream press are all seeking ways of generating revenue. So we thought we’d try to crowdfund the column. This would allow me paid time to write it every two weeks, and pay Melissa for editing. Wonky Health was born!

Social media is crucial to both the funding model – spreading the word, especially through Twitter – but also in making this more than just a column with a writer and some readers. We want to collect ideas, be directed towards relevant research and create a forum for discussion. The crowdfunding model kick-starts this – at the time of writing we have 130 supporters.

Into this comes the recent federal budget. There are measures that will have a clear impact on health, such as the Medicare co-payment. But there are many other measures outside the health portfolio that will impact on health. The changes to Newstart payments, the increased university fees, changes to the pension – all of these are likely to have impacts on health. The evidence on their health impacts won’t be looked at, the likely heath effects won’t be reported anywhere else. It’s why what was a good idea has become a necessary one.

We have a week to go. You can support a new way of funding health writing, and change the conversation we have about health. Go and pledge now!

The story of the project


Tim has reached his target with 5 days to spare. Thank you for your generosity and support to make this happen!

The Top 100 Twitter Accounts for healthcare professionals to follow

With over 255 million active users each month and healthcare professionals now posting more than 152,000 tweets a day something that is often asked is “Who should I follow on Twitter?”

We thought the best way to answer this question would be to crowdsource The Top 100 Twitter Accounts for healthcare professionals to follow.

We are very excited to announce that nominations are now OPEN across 20 categories:
Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori Health Practitioner
Allied Health Practitioner*
Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Dental Practitioner
General Healthcare Information
Health Consumer Advocate
Healthcare News
Healthcare Technology
Medical Practitioner
Medical Radiation Practitioner
Private Health
Public Health and Health Promotion

Allied Health Practitioner* refers to the following specialties:
– Audiologists
– Chiropractors
– Dietitians
– Exercise Physiologists
– Genetic Counsellors
– Music Therapists
– Occupational Therapists
– Orthoptists
– Orthotist/Prosthetists
– Osteopaths
– Physiotherapists
– Podiatrists
– Perfusionists
– Social Workers
– Sonographers
– Speech-Language Pathologists
– Audiometrists
– Diabetes Educators
– Diversional Therapists

If you think we’ve missed a category or excluded a group of healthcare professionals, please send us a tweet so that we can address the situation.

The rules are very simple:
The account being nominated must be held by an individual or organisation based in either Australia or New Zealand

Nominations must be made via a tweet (IMPORTANT NOTE: retweets are excluded) and must include the hashtag #hcsmanz100

You cannot nominate yourself

You can submit multiple nominations

Nominations close on 01/06/2014 at 19:59AEST(GMT+10:00)

You can submit your nomination now using this button:

We’d like to acknowledge @eMedCert
for their recent blog post which was the catalyst for setting this up, @CaloundraGP
for asking about certain Twitter Accounts and @symplur
for their support through The Healthcare Hashtag Project.

#hcsmanz chat 27 April 2014

#hcsmanz chat 20 April 2014

An apology!

Hi all

I’m really sorry about last night — we weren’t organised to arrange a moderator in advance, and nobody was free 🙁 so I went to put out a tweet about the chat being cancelled at about 8pm but it obviously didn’t send — in my rush I didn’t notice until the morning.

#hcsmanz is run by a group of dedicated volunteers, and unfortunately sometimes the stars can’t align for us to run the chat due to personal, family or holidaying reasons.

I apologise personally for not letting everyone know of the mistake — it was my fault entirely!

Rest assured, the chat will be back on next Sunday 12 May, and the topic will be posted up here prior.



PS — Posterous has closed, so we have this spanky new website and the URL http://www.hcsmanz.com.au/ . You can now also sign up for email notifications for new posts — see the link on the left.

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