Social Buzz: Sentiment analysis of the phrase “Medical Assistance in Dying” on social media.

Activity #2

Using the website Social Searcher (2019), the phrase “Medical assistance in dying” was analyzed for Sentiment on 11 different social media platforms from July 2016 to July 2019.  The initial lack of discussion using this term surprised me, as MAID became legal in Canada in 2016 (Dying with Dignity Canada, 2019).  The above images capture the sentiment (3:7 ratio positive to negative) as well as a snapshot of popular positive posts and popular negative posts. Using sentiment analysis to understand how medical issues are perceived in online platforms can be useful for healthcare provide, as they can retrieve “user-generated contents in health communities to get some insights, including topics of discussion threads, differences in discussion between health communities and influences between users ” (Yang, Lee, & Kuo, 2016, p235) in order to integrate this into their approach to care.

Nurses can use this type of search to better understand how people feel about current health subjects. By looking at how certain users respond to a topic, they can enhance their understanding of these groups and tailor their interventions to the specific needs of these groups. In the case of MAID, the predominance of negative sentiment should be explored further to examine what groups are expressing negative comments, and in what manner. As it is a relatively new concept, it will be interesting to monitor over time to see how sentiment changes in the general population.

Dying with Dignity Canada. (2019). Retrieved from

Social Searcher. (2019). Retrieved from

Yang, F., Lee, A. J., & Kuo, S. (2016). Mining health social media with sentiment analysis. Journal of Medical Systems, 40(11), 1-8. doi:10.1007/s10916-016-0604-4


Data, Information, and electronic health in Ontario

Nurses encounter a variety of types of data and information in their daily practice. While data can be considered distinct bits of the rawest form of facts or observations, information emerges when data are interpreted or processed within a context (Matney et al., 2011). In our healthcare system, nurses will increasingly interact with and interpret data and information in an electronic format. Some common information systems that a Canadian nurse will work with include:

PACS: Picture archiving and communications system. Securely stores and digitally transmits electronic images and reports such as X-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound. (Rouse, 2017). Useful in any setting from acute care, to LTC, to community nursing.

EMR/EPR: Electronic medical (patient) record. Will have personal information, such as age, address, insurance information and contact information. Will have health history, current admission data, laboratory values, assessment notes, data including vital signs, etc. Found often in acute care, primary care, would be useful to link to home care for continuation of care.

CPOE: Computerized Physician Order Entry. Would be beneficial in any setting where orders need to be communicated. Saint Francis Healthcare System

Telehealth: “Telemedicine uses telecommunications technology to provide clinical health care in Ontario at a distance. It helps improve access to medical services that often would not be available consistently in distant rural communities. Telemedicine can save lives in critical care and emergency situations” (OTN, 2019)

Patient Portal: “a Web-based application that combines an EHR system and a patient portal, not only for patients to interact with their health care providers, but also to access their own medical records and medical exam results” (Gheorghiu & Hagens, 2017, p136)

Handheld devices: “Health care professionals now use smartphone or tablet computers for functions they used to need a pager, cellphone, and PDA to accomplish…combine both computing and communication features in a single device that can be held in a hand or stored in a pocket, allowing easy access and use at the point of care…(can be used for) web searching, global positioning systems (GPS), high-quality cameras, and sound recorders” (Ventola, 2014, para 3)


Gheorghiu, B., & S. Hagens. (2017). Use and maturity of electronic patient portals. Studies in health technology and informatics. 234, 136-141. doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-742-9-136

Matney, S., Brewster, P. J., Sward, K. a, Cloyes, K. G., & Staggers, N. (2011). Philosophical approaches to the nursing informatics data-information-knowledge-wisdom framework. ANS. Advances in Nursing Science, 34(1), 6-18. doi:10.1097/ANS.0b013e3182071813

OTN. (2019). Providing care with telemedicine. Retrieved from:

Rouse, M. (2017). PACS (picture archiving and communication system). Retrieved from

Ventola C. L. (2014). Mobile devices and apps for health care professionals: uses and benefits. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 39(5), 356–364.

Nursing Informatics

When considering the term ‘informatics’ in the course title Nursing Informatics NSGD-4006, Nipissing University, I initially envisioned a course that was centered around the use of data in relation to the art and science of nursing.  My preconceptions included learning about the use of computerized charting and information systems and data related to nursing research.

            After completing the readings for week 1 that explored the meaning of ‘informatics’ in selected scholarly articles, I came to understand that informatics encompasses so much more.  From the nurse-technology interface applications that enhance our patient care, to the harnessing of social media and apps to support wellness and health in potentially limitless ways, ‘nursing informatics’ will be a subject that allows us as bridging RPN to BScN students to understand and participate in the evolution of health care with a unique perspective.

            One of the most comprehensive definitions of ‘nursing informatics’ in the literature today takes into account the goal of patients taking a larger role in their own healthcare. “Nursing informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice.  Nursing informatics facilitates the integration of data, information, and knowledge to support patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision making in all roles and settings.  This support is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology” (Staggers & Thompson, 2002, p 260)

            From a nursing perspective, ‘informatics’ as a concept does not belong to one specific profession, and must be defined and described from a nursing perspective in order to allow nurses to use technology to enhance patient care in a manner that corresponds with nursing values and goals. The nursing profession has only recently begun incorporating the concept of nursing informatics into its higher education curricula and established clear learning outcomes related to the subject (Booth, 2006).

            With a solid understanding of what ‘informatics’ means, what do we nurses do with this information? Patricia Flatley Brennan, PhD, RN, and the director of the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine proposes that “fundamentally nursing is an information processing discipline…Informatics is…about making sure nurses have the information they need for practice in a way that is trustable, accessible, and available at the point of need.” (Carter-Templeton, 2019, p188). Nurses are encouraged to be proactive in the development of information technology that reflects the needs of nurses and the patients that they care for, and are in a unique position to provide valuable insight for future developments in our healthcare system.

Booth RG. (2006). Educating the future eHealth professional nurse. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 3(1), 1–10. Retrieved from

Carter-Templeton, H. (2019). Patricia Flatley Brennan on Nursing Informatics and the National Library of Medicine. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 37(4), 187–189.

Staggers N, & Thompson CB. (2002). The evolution of definitions for nursing informatics: a critical analysis and revised definition. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 9(3), 255–261. Retrieved from