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    Good summary, Barbara – thanks!

    Not mentioned here, though, is that while social media makes communications better and easier among professionals, and between professionals and patients, it also means that we can’t just let down our hair with an “anything goes” attitude that seems to be so very prevalent in much of social media.

    As you know, I write for patients and focus on how they can empower themselves.  I am now recommending they comb social media to get a better sense of their provider’s personalities and attitudes to be sure it’s a relationship they want to develop – or keep.

    Personalities and Attitudes – Learning More About Doctors from Facebook and Twitter 

    That will either be good news or bad news for professionals who spend a lot of time with social media.  I hope it will help them realize that being helpful goes much further than obscenities or wise cracks.  I’ve seen both approaches.

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    Hi Trisha,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You make an excellent point and thank you for sharing your link about “Personalities and Attitudes-Learning More About Doctors from Facebook and Twitter.”

    Social Media is informal communication; however maintaining a professional and comfortable relationship with your health care provider is essential.

    Thanks again Trisha, I’m a huge fan of your work!


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    Hi Lucien,
    Thanks for sharing the link about hospitals in Europe using Social Media–“Based on the latest review the Netherlands still are leading in the use of SoMe in Europe, and the overall use of it is taking off.:—Very interesting!

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    For people who live with diabetes (any type) and those who care about and for them, check out the weekly Twitter chat, Diabetes Social Media Advocacy, on Wednesdays at 9 pm EST. Follow hashtag #dsma for a fast-paced hour of questions and responses from member of the diabetes online community.

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    Barbara – this was a great summary and a nice review of an evolving field. As a physician, having a presence on social media sites has helped me develop a more focused voice for my practice, as it has expanded my audience beyond my consultation room. I also agree with Trisha Torry’s comments – patients should be using all available tools to find the right physician. The doctor-patient relationship is an investment of time and trust – as a patient the more you know up front, the more comfortable you will be entering into that relationship, and the more successful that relationship will be.

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    Barbara..excellent article and accurate as far as it goes but the picture you paint is only a very small slice of the health care pie. As a pr consultant with several health care clients, I can tell you that most doctors, nurses, podiatrists, and other health care professionals do not use social media in the way it’s intended.  And I would argue that most of the hospitals mentioned in Ed’s list have only Youtube pages (which really aren’t social or interactive in most cases) and they use Twitter and Facebook to push our their news releases and engage in one-way conversations.  The fact is that a lot of health care professionals dont like social media (or even email for that matter!) and we need to look at new strategies to help doctors and others truly embrace it.  Health care has always marched to a different drummer on marketing trends and social media isn’t much different.  I think we need to start exploring this nuance and stop talking about the minority of docs who do use it.  It’s time to start a new dialogue on social media and health care professionals.

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    Great post Barbara, thanks for compiling this list of resources. It is great to see so many medical professionals embrace social media, notably for sharing real-time information. At the end of day, healthcare is about collecting, processing and disseminating information, and the adoption of new technologies by primary and acute care providers will enhance the efficiency and quality of care. We are noticing the same social media trends in Canada, it seems that every hospital now has a Youtube channel and more and more physicians are blogging and “tweeting”. The benefits (or ROI for the hospital CFOs out there) is still not clear, but that will come with time. Your post highlights some of the early benefits, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. As more and more medical professional jump onboard, we will learn more about the true potential of the social web and its impact on healthcare.

    Great job!

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    One strong request or recommendation when a health-care facility or provider uses social media: Remember that not all internet users are without disabilities. Many use assistive technology, such as speech recognition and screen readers, to access their computer. Most websites and social media are not accessible to persons with disabilities – perhaps, ironically – but this can cause further health-care disparities for those most at risk: people with sensory or physical impairments that impede their full access to information (in print or digitally).

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    At Johnson & Johnson, we communicate with consumers and the patient community through blogs (JNJ BTW, Kilmer House), Twitter (JNJComm, JNJStories, JNJVideo, JNJHistory), and the Johnson & Johnson health channel on you tube, which I manage. On all our platorms, we try to provide useful healthcare and company-related information to help put a “human face” on our company. So far the response has been very positive and rewarding. The JNJhealth You Tube channel has well over 3-million views and JNJStories on Twitter has over 1000 followers, and our Facebook page has over 10,000 subscribers.

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    nice and quite informative article. It has all the details that a health care consumer (and provider as well!) might be looking for before venturing into online media for addressing their health issues.
    Thanks a ton..

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    Hi Dr. Attai,

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I agree, “The doctor-patient relationship is an investment of time and trust – as a patient the more you know up front, the more comfortable you will be entering into that relationship, and the more successful that relationship will be.” Respectful communication and collaboration with your doctor and other health care providers is essential. Here’s a post I wrote on the doctor-patient relationship: Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.


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    Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much! There are many doctors, nurses, and other health professionals that do use social media to share informative health information. You mention that you’re your experience you find that “most doctors, nurses, podiatrists, and other health care professionals do not use social media in the way it’s intended.” How are these professionals using it (from your experience)? Social Media in health care is very exciting, and it’s such a powerful platform. The opportunity for health professionals to engage in social media to help influence and to share critical health information is priceless. What recommendations do you have to “start a new dialogue on social media and health care professionals?” Thanks again.


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    Hi Robert,

    Thank you very much for sharing your information. That’s great that Johnson and Johnson is embracing social media. Communicating with consumers and patient communities through social media is invaluable.


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