When Boston began to take COVID-19 pandemic precautions last year, the Boston Lyric Opera had just opened a production of Bellini’s Norma. Artistic director Esther Nelson turned to a longtime friend of the organization to help them determine whether the season could go on.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, emojis – like the ever-popular smiley face – have crept into text messages, tweets and emails.
Shuhan He, MD, an MGH emergency physician, says he hopes to take emojis even further by making them a bigger part of patient-provider communication and the electronic health record.
Last week, He took a major step toward that goal after two digital icons he helped create – an anatomical heart and a set of lungs – were among the 117 new emojis to be rolled out to all smartphones later this year.
He says there has long been a desire – inside medical circles and on social media – to see an accurate-looking heart and lung in the emoji lexicon. He and his co-authors used that information to pitch their pictograms to the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit organization that meets every year to review applications and vote on the newest emoji submissions.
“Chest pain and shortness of breath are two of the most common complaints we hear in the emergency department,” says He. “There are times when a patient can’t communicate that, either because of a language barrier or for some other reason. And in situations when seconds count, emojis like these could help us greatly.”
Emojis aren’t just a hobby for He. With a dual role as a physician and the associate director for the strategic alliance initiative through the Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare, He is sharply focused on the ways the cartoon-like emoticons could help improve patient care and outcomes.
“We’re interested in working with leadership from all departments to ensure emojis stay clinically relevant for our patients,” says He.
He says he also hopes his two new emojis and any future medical emojis will benefit patients by educating them about heart and lung health, vaccinations, antismoking efforts, medication adherence and other lifestyle interventions.
- Feb | 26 | 2021
Merle Adelson and Paul Freedman had planned to marry on Friday, January 22, 2021. But instead, their nuptials took place on January 11, in a Jewish ceremony inside one of Mass General’s intensive care units.
- Feb | 26 | 2021
Employees were invited to celebrate the virtual launch of Black Excellence @ Mass General Brigham. The group provides a new affirming space for Black employees to create a community of support to encourage the welcoming, success, and advancement of Black employees at Mass General Brigham.
- Feb | 4 | 2021
In January, Mass General staff had the opportunity to take part in three virtual celebrations to honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and illuminate his goals of racial equity and justice.
- Feb | 4 | 2021
David Brown, MD, chief of the Mass General Department of Emergency Medicine, first arrived at Mass General in 1989 as an intern and has remained here ever since. Soon, Brown will wear another hat, as he takes on the role of interim president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
- Dec | 10 | 2020
David N. Louis, MD, and Robert H. Young, MD, have received the 2020 Patricia R. Austen, RN, MGH History Award. The award honors individuals or groups who have worked to promote or preserve Mass General history.