Saturday, March 31, 2012

Social Media and Disseminating Medical Information

I attended a one-day conference on Social Media yesterday.  It was really fascinating to see how many tools are out there to help measure, improve and monitor a social networking presence (for both persons and for companies).  I have previously mentioned that return on investment is not critical to my presence in social media.  However, this conference opened my eyes to the importance of this, and I now believe it should be absolutely taken into account, especially if one goal is to disseminate information, enhance communication and learn from others.
Some ask why I, as a medical educator physician, have become involved in Social Media.  My reasons have not changed.  I do it because physicians need a presence for social networking, since the majority of patients who use the internet are already looking for medical information online.  Physicians have an obligation to society to disseminate clear, succinct and truthful health care messages to combat online misinformation that is unfortunately too common; what better way than to use social networking to accomplish this?  Let’s meet our patients where they are, which is on social media.  Add to all of this the importance of role modeling the intersection of social media and medicine with learners, all the while maintaining a professional demeanor.
I gave a presentation on social media in medicine and medical education two days prior to this conference, as a Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds.  This was my first formal scholarly presentation on this topic.  It was simply a blast to be able to present this information to my colleagues.  The conference was very well attended.  Some were skeptical, and a few probably remain skeptical.  Some came up to me later and in emails and asked “How can I get started in social media, for the betterment of my patient care?”  This was the biggest compliment of all (and bigger than more Twitter followers, in my opinion).  It demonstrates that people listen and are willing to learn and try new things, and want to put patient care first and foremost.
Here are a few examples of how social media and mobile technology have the potential to improve patient care:
What are your thoughts on using social media to help improve patient care?

[For those interested in the tweets during the Grand Rounds conference, please see the hashtag #IUPedsGrRounds, with the transcript available here.]


  1. Fantastic. Any chance you can share the slides?

  2. I just discovered your site because you pinged our recent story about social media and donor procurement. First, thank you so much for linking to the story. We're attempting to deliver a very important message with this and similar stories about social media's increasingly important role in medicine and patient care.

    I find it interesting (disturbing?) though, that the segment we're finding it most difficult to convince is the one belonging to the primary care and other pro health care providers themselves. The lay public is already convinced. They're the choir. We've got to get the physicians and other first line health care pros to believe, to convert -- if you will.

    Do you find that physicians and other licensed providers sit on one side of the fence or the other? To me it seems that none of them are sitting on the fence and the ones on the side that distrusts the value of social media and similar platforms prove the hardest to convince.

    Samantha Gluck
    Association of Health Care Journalists
    Certified SEO Specialist

  3. Aaron,
    We are working on getting the video of the entire presentation (which includes slides) available soon, but need to do some minor editing.

    Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I agree with you that some physicians are hesitant to take the leap into social media.
    In my opinion, the way to "move the hesitation" is to continue to push out truthful, timely, helpful information for all. In time, I do think physicians will begin to accept it.


    Alex Djuricich

    1. I think you're right on about the overall strategy, but we need specific action items laid out in a logical and relentless strategy. It involves lots of think-tanking, lots of back and forth in the planning stage, but it'll be well worth it. I'm working on getting my #worldtakeover plan from brain to page now. Would love your input when it gets to a point that people (other than me and G-d) can read and understand what I mean. ;-)



      P.S. I have a very strong opinion about blogging platforms as well, if you're interested. #theblondetake

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