This edition of the Health Care Social Media (HCSM) Review explores the ever-debatable question, “Do health care providers use social media?” The question may simplify the issue because it’s not just about whether they do or they don’t but rather, for what uses, in what capacity, what tools and channels they use and ultimately how effective it is in reaching them and impacting patient care, but it gets to the major issues that I often encounter about the intersection of healthcare and social media.
So let’s see what the experts have to say on this.
Sociamediaphobe discusses current academic research on social media use among physicians in the article, Social Media in Pediatrics: A Risk-Laden Opportunity. The post provides specific implications and advice for pediatricians looking to implement social media in their practice. These include referencing the American Medical Association’s guidelines for social media use by physicians and strongly suggests that there is a need for more work in this area – especially for pediatricians because their young patients and their parents may be online and are increasingly likely to consult Google, WebMD, or Wikipedia before calling the pediatrician’s office.
In Lonnie Hirsch’s post, Pause Before Posting: New Social Media Position Paper Guides Physicians, Hirsch reviews a new position paper put out by the ACP and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) that offers key guidance for physicians in social media. These include keeping private and professional social media activities separate, not “friending” patients, documenting communication with patients in social media in their medical files, and clearly reviewing resources and materials before posting.
In a guest post entitled, Physicians Beware on the Twittersphere, by Dr. William Dillon on the blog, Dr. Wes, Dr. Dillon discusses how “one needs to be careful with comments placed on social media” and how his own comments were greatly misconstrued in this environment.
So with all these cautionary tales, what is working?
Health Business Blog is written by David E. Williams of the Health Business Group and focuses on business issues in health. In its most recent post, Williams interviews Healthbox CEO Nina Nashif as she discusses innovation in health care and how Healthbox is driving some of that innovation by investing in businesses that are focusing on this space.
HealthWorks Collective’s own Joan Justice’s recent post discusses the use of Twitter and Vine to record live surgery. Using 13 short videos and a series of photos and tweets, this surgery was archived via social media for all to see.
In Marie Ennis O’Connor’s recent post, How To Use SmartStream For HealthCare Tweet Chats, she discusses the plethora of health care and social media – or #hcsm – TwitterChats that are hosted and participated in weekly. According to the latest figures from Symplur’s Healthcare Hashtag Project, there are 9,130 participants in over 100 healthcare chats each week on Twitter. Given this heavy usage of TwitterChats, the recent announcement that TweetChat was going away came as an upset to many. However, O’Connor’s post proposes SmartStream as an alternative to TweetChat for managing and participating in TwitterChats.
Finally, a few other notable posts include:
- amednews.com writes in the post, Online Portal Leads Patients Back To Doctors’ Offices about how the use of secure electronic contact with physicians and medical records can increase patient involvement, leading to more efficient health care.
- Really interesting is this post on visualizing the rise of health-based communities on Twitter.
- Dr. Edwin Kruys offers some insight into reputation management for physicians in social media.
- And finally, while an older post, it’s a good one so worth including. Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor of Harvard Health, writes in his post, Tweets, Google Searches May Help Solve Migraine Mysteries, that reviewing tweets and searches can provide “a glimpse into how—and when—migraine and headache affect lives.”
So it’s complicated, I would say.
There are things that are working and there is still room for improvement. But there are experienced and talented people who are leading the charge and driving the conversation. Some of these thought leaders have been included in this post. With these folks involved, we are bound to find solutions to some of these challenges.
Thank you for all of your contributions to this edition! I look forward to the next one!
HealthCare SocialMedia Review has information about the next edition’s host and instructions on how to submit your posts for review in future editions.