What Social Media Apps Work In China?

So you’re planning a trip to China. . . congratulations! You’re going to have an incredible experience visiting majestic sites, learning about China’s incredible history and delving into China’s amazing culture. Of course no vacation experience is complete in this age without sharing your experiences in real-time via social media. As someone who spends much of his time at the intersection between health care and social media, I was particularly interested in learning more about how American social media and tech apps would work in China. As I am sure you have learned when researching your trip, China blocks several social media sites. Plus, many things that we take for granted, like paying with a credit card are things that we may not be able to do in China. 

During a recent trip to China, I wanted to look at exactly how social media and technology apps that are ubiquitous to life in the U.S. would work in China. I’ve compiled my findings into this quick and to-the-point guide. If your findings are different, or if you have questions, please let me know. 

Does Facebook work in China?

–The facebook app can opened and old posts can be viewed. 

–Timeline will not update and new posts can not be uploaded. 

–Facebook Messenger will not work for chat, audio or video calls. 

Verdict: Facebook has almost no functionality in China. Your timeline can be viewed but is essentially frozen from the moment you enter China. 

Does Instagram work in China?

–Similar to Facebook, the app will open and display old posts, but will not update. 

–You can not post new content to Instagram. 

Verdict: Like Facebook, Instagram has almost no functionality in China. 

Does WhatsApp work in China?

–WhatsApp app will open, new posts can be viewed and updates can be posted. 

–WhatsApp messaging, audio and video calls will work in China. 

Verdict: Surprisingly, and despite what many sites on the internet will tell you, WhatsApp maintains excellent functionality in China. 

Does LinkedIn work in China?

–The LinkedIn app will open, but will generate an error message. Old posts can not be viewed. 

–You can not post to LinkedIn when in China. You can not communicate with contacts. 

Verdict: LinkedIn has no functionality in China. 

Should I download WeChat for my trip to China?

–Most Chinese tourists companies use WeChat to communicate with their customers. 

–WeChat’s interface works similarly to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Like those apps, it supports instant messaging and web calling. 

Verdict: WeChat is an indispensable tool for tourists travelling to China, and the best way to keep in touch with your tour agency. 

Does email work in China? Does Gmail work in China?

–Email including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail work in China. Gmail attachments can be problematic to download. 

Verdict: Despite China’s block on Google search, Gmail works in China, though Gmail attachments were difficult to access. I do not know if this was a network issue or something to do with how China blocks Google. 

Do credit cards work in China?

–U.S. credit cards will work in places that accept credit cards, which unfortunately are very few.

–Hotels and some restaurants at tourist sites will accept credit cards, but hardly anybody else does. This includes even “American” places like McDonalds and KFC. Most people in China pay with phone based apps like Alipay or Wepay. 

–You can download the Alipay app, but will need a Chinese bank account to link it to. Alipay offers a way to link to a credit card, but a websearch shows that most American tourists who try this are unsuccessful, and I was no exception.  

Verdict: Cash is king. You should assume that most places you go in China will not accept your credit card. 

Will Apple Pay work in China?

–U.S. based payment apps like Apple Pay, G Pay, Samsung Pay do not work in China. 

Verdict: Again Cash is king for American tourists and you should not rely on electronic payment when travelling in China. 

Does Google work in China?

–Google search will not work in China. 

–Other google services including Google Pay, Google Maps are similarly non-functional. 

–Google Chrome works well in China.  Searches through Chrome are diverted to a local Chinese search engine. Many of the results are in (I assume) Mandarin, hence not very helpful unless you can read Mandarin. 

–Google Maps will not work in China, nor will google reviews or any app which uses Google Maps. 

–Some Google services will work, including the Play Store, Google Drive, Google Photos. 

Verdict: Google’s most useful services, Google Maps, search, G Pay, and Reviews will not work in China. Google’s storage services (Drive, Photos) will still work and can be used to free up storage on your device. 

Opioid lawsuit: We’ve seen this before, and it didn’t go well.

When you live in Tobacco Road region of North Carolina, the local news tends to focus on 3 things; Duke basketball, UNC basketball, and Duke vs.UNC basketball. So it was a little surprising to see in the front page of my local paper that my own county is joining a lawsuit against three of the nation’s largest opioid distributors.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, given the scope of the opioid epidemic. Opioid related deaths have topped 40,000 in recent years. The drug overdose death rate in in my home state of North Carolina jumped by nearly 24.7% from 2015 to 2016 and area hospitals including my own ICU can certainly attest to this.

Multiple state and county governments are joining lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors to recoup costs which they allege were due to the crisis the companies helped create. And in a bit of sweet, sweet irony, even JCAHO (aka Joint Commission) a not-for profit entity responsible for antagonizing accrediting health care organizations is getting sued. I can tell you that no doctor will shed a tear over that one. Continue reading “Opioid lawsuit: We’ve seen this before, and it didn’t go well.”

Doctors’ Prescription to Reduce Gun Violence

Image result for sandy hook elementary school memorial

Like a lot of people, I get pretty numbed to gun violence on television. I stopped watching the local news because all they seem to show is news about shootings. The general public’s perception about gun violence is that it’s always somebody else, that the person  who was shot had somehow been involved in crime. The numbness we feel to gun violence often ends for most of us when things hit close to home, when you or someone you know is affected. Continue reading “Doctors’ Prescription to Reduce Gun Violence”

The Shocking Truth Behind “Shocking” Healthcare Social Media Statistics

As a regular follower of social media, I am keenly aware of changes in the healthcare landscape as it relates to social media. While there’s much talk about the impact of social media in healthcare, most of the action sits on the consumer side of the equation. Much of the medical world has to yet to tap into its potential. For most healthcare providers social media engagement amounts to little more than watching as others dip their feet, testing  the waters. A few watch as they anticipate their own entry into the arena. Still many others watch with the expectation that the water would soon become bloody.

So its with a burlap full  of salt that I read various healthcare social media stats promulgated in various infographics, twitter feeds, and blog posts celebrating Medicine 2.0 powered by social media. Collectively they hash and rehash a series of surprising statistics that aren’t exactly bogus, but aren’t exactly completely factual either.

A recent one caught my eye with the claim was that “53% of physicians practices have a facebook page”. This was curious to me, because as I read this in the physician lounge and  took my own poll, the results was much closer to 5% than 50%. Continue reading “The Shocking Truth Behind “Shocking” Healthcare Social Media Statistics”

Me and My A.E.D.

“Everyone should have BLS training. . . we’ll all be better off because of it”     -Me.

I arrived at my designated gate at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  The run there kept the adrenaline level up in my system, though the hubbub was now well behind. I pulled the crumpled boarding pass out of my pocket as I caught my breath. No that’s a hotel receipt. Check the other pocket, there it is, Zone 3, that can’t be that bad; I thought,  there’s gotta be, what maybe 6 or 7 zones, right? “Welcome aboard American Airlines flight to Flint, Michigan” the gate attendant announced. We welcome our platinum medallion, gold medallion, silver medallion, bronze high-flyers, copper star club, as well as plastic fantastic, and purple star members, followed by zones one and two” The last of the passengers was already through the jetway. “Now boarding zone three, welcome aboard”.

After handing over my crumpled boarding pass for scanning, I made my  down the jetway and onto what appeared to be a small but fairly packed little jet. Passengers on each side of the aisle eyed me as I walked past, a few noticed that my jeans were soaked from the knees down. Some caught the odor that  trailed behind, a light of recognition igniting in their eyes as they realized what it was. Does he really smell like that? Is he the one that’s dragging that awful scent through this cabin?

6 hours earlier things had been going very differently for me. My colleagues and I had just given a well received talk at the annual Chest convention. I had reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t seen since training.  I had just personally  thanked Kevin Pho (of KevinMD fame) in the hotel coffee shop for giving our keynote address and getting our membership fired up about the future of medicine and social media. It was with this sense of excitement and renewed enthusiasm that I boarded my plane to catch a connection at O’Hare.

I also distinctly recall that, at the time, my pants were absolutely one-hundred percent completely dry. Continue reading “Me and My A.E.D.”

The Ones that Emory Didn’t Save

It was with much fan-fare that 2 American aid workers were airlifted from across the world and brought to Emory University Medical Center where they began experimental treatment for Ebola. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for them and others like them who do God’s work.

But it appears to me that lost in this conversation are myriad others who need help but never get it. Right now, humanitarian work is being done all over the world, and in very dangerous places. These people  knowingly put their life on the line for others. Yet  tragically, some of them are injured or sickened in the service of others. But for them, the call from the CDC offering to med-evac them out never came. There was a girl, who died of malaria while in Kenya. Or the young man who was serving in Egypt. Or a myriad other aid workers who die while serving their fellow human beings.

Also at issue, and it needs to be asked, at what cost are we saving lives? Who decides who gets what may have been, all told, a hundred thousand dollar medical evacuation? Susan Grant, the Chief Nurse for Emory Healthcare, in an article for The Washington Post rightly downplayed the infection risk posed by bringing these patients here. She went on to say:

“The purpose of any hospital is to care for the ill and advance knowledge about human health. . . As human beings, we all hope that if we were in need of superior health care, our country and its top doctors would help us get better”

This statement brings to mind others that need saving. They don’t work in far away lands, they live here in the U.S, right across town, in fact. They don’t have fancy, exotic diseases.  Their conditions have names like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and lung cancer. Right now many of them are getting collection notices for their inability to pay from medical centers like Emory University. Others have been trying to get appointments at tertiary centers  like Emory. Only they’re told that their insurance is not accepted there, or their co-pays and deductibles will be more than they can afford.

How would Ms. Grant justify the incredible expense spent on this endeavor to those people? What would she say about the necessity of this experiment, a clinical trial with an N = 2? Could she really  tell those sweating in the Atlanta heat after their electricity got shut off that this was all really for their benefit?

I don’t know how to solve the ethical dilemma here. While I am hope for a cure on the one hand, I cringe at the highlight this places on those at the bottom end of America’s healthcare disparity gap. Perhaps someday in the distant future they can take solace in knowing that they didn’t suffer for naught. Because if they ever contract ebola, there will be a cure waiting for them.