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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Innovative Palliative Fellowship Using Snapchat for Family Meetings

(We hope you enjoyed our April Fool's jokes this year. Look for more of our past April Fool's posts here. - Ed.)

April 1, 2014 by Abe R Feaulx, Special Reporter 

Dr. Arya Kiddenme, a palliative care fellow at University of State College Medical School is preparing for a potentially very tense family meeting. The patient is unresponsive in the ICU and the family is having a difficult time coping with a sudden decline in their condition. When it is time to get ready to enter the room, Dr. Kiddenme quickly remembers to grab her iPhone 5s. “Can’t forget the most important tool!” She sits down to begin the family meeting, opens up the Snapchat app, and sends off a short introductory video clip. In a few seconds the family responds, with their first question, “Will dad make it out of the ICU?”

Dr. Hurley Hadopter is the program director at USCMS and believes strongly in capitalizing on the words and tools families use to communicate. “We were seeing more and more families not participating in family meetings and only paying attention to their smartphones. It was clear we had to reach them where they were, so we took a survey and found that many families would be very comfortable with using Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Vine, iMessage, FaceTime and others, although no one choose Google Plus. We settled on using Snapchat because my teenage son said it really was useful to talk to girls, his bros and stuff like that.”

In the first month using Snapchat for family meetings, the palliative care team has already been seeing some impressive results. New consults have dropped off considerably. When asked for comment on why they no longer consulted the palliative care team, the chief oncologist at USCMS state, “I know palliative care clinicians really pride themselves on being great communicators but this is taking the whole ‘communication and listening stuff’ a little too far.”

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