For the past few weeks I have been following medGadget on Facebook. MedGadet is a weblog a group of MDs and biomedical engineers. They post interesting technologies and every once in a while they turn me on to something directly related to empowering patients through ICT! It was a lucky day when I saw this article on today’s amednews.com entitled Patients want to use social media tools to manage health care by Pamela Lewis Dolan.
The article discusses some findings from a recent PwC Health Research Institute survey of 1000+ patients, which show that patients are interested in a two-way conversation with doctors, via social media, to engage and inform them of health-related issues. The report also found that embracing social media could help doctors better manage their time by flexing communication hours through the use of social media.
Seattle Mama Doc is an example of a pediatrician who is doing a great job of managing her social media presence (although, I am sure she has the resources of the hospital and marketing team supporting her on this) by engaging parents through a social media platform—in this case, an interactive blog. With so much noise on the net, it is comforting to see a smiling pediatrician’s face (via an embedded YouTube video) to offer advice on your kid’s health and well-being from a clinical as well as personal connection (Mama Doc has 2 kids of her own).
There are still some details about social media and medicine that make many doctors nervous and need to be worked out—privacy, legality, etc.—but Don Sinko, chief integrity officer of the Cleveland Clinic said it best, “one of the greatest risks of social media is ignoring social media. It’s out there, and people are using it whether you like it or not.”