While shutters went up in storefronts throughout the city, the city within Mass General continued to buzz and employees and patients continued to need things—a candy bar pick-me-up, a trinket to thank a coworker or a Mass General scrub cap.
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.
- Oct | 23 | 2020
Celebrating gives people the energy to press on during difficult times, said Joseph Betancourt, MD, vice president and chief equity and inclusion officer, in his introduction to the “Celebration of Unity, Heritage and Mass General Latino/a/x Front Line Staff” event.
- Oct | 22 | 2020
“Our goal with this triathlon—and the Medicine in Motion group—is to reduce burnout by building community through fitness and philanthropy,” says Logan Briggs, fourth year Harvard Medical School student and co-founder of Medicine in Motion.
- Oct | 21 | 2020
The need for blood at Mass General hospitals continues to be urgent. View a list of upcoming drives.
- Oct | 9 | 2020
To provide wigs for chemotherapy patients who are underinsured or who do not have the means to purchase one, the LVC Retail Shops have launched a program called Share for Hair.
- Oct | 9 | 2020
Not only were two MGHers honored with the annual Ernesto Gonzalez Award for Outstanding Services to the Hispanic Community, but one standout group was given the honorific name, “The Ernesto Gonzalez Service.”