3 Best Health Care Tips – mHealth to Social Media Networking

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

As a registered nurse, here are three of my top health tips for taking charge of your health. These aren’t the typical how-to-tips; rather, they help empower you by getting you involved in a hi-tech and social world.

1. Get involved. You are the most important member of your health care team. You are the biggest stakeholder in your health care, and you have the choice to live a healthier life. Become a proactive and empowered health care consumer, and become engaged in your health care. Partner with your health care providers and be part of the decision-making process. Remember to speak up and ask questions.

2. Get tech savvy. Technology can help move your health forward for a healthier you. Health apps continue to soar and mobile technology, “or mHealth” is transforming health care around the globe. Imagine having a conversation with your doctor or other health care provider that goes beyond what medications to take. Instead it involves communication about technology.  Imagine having access to your electronic medical records (EMRs) and/or electronic health records (EHRs) via your mobile phone. Picture your health information captured in electronic health records that could be available to all your doctors and health care providers no matter where you are.

Or what if your clinician suggested health apps that are right for you?  In fact, Happtique, Inc. is doing just that. According to a press release,

“Mobile app prescribing will add an entirely new dimension to my ability to care for patients,” said Steven Magid, M.D. of New York-based Hospital for Special Surgery. “In this increasingly connected and mobile world, the use of Happtique’s mRx™ will improve doctor-patient communication, patient engagement, compliance, and ultimately patients’ health.”  “App prescribing will enhance the provider/patient connection and facilitate healthy behavior changes, potentially reducing costs for providers, payers, and patients,” said Happtique CEO Ben Chodor. “mRx™ is the next evolutionary step in the field, and we are confident the provider community will agree and embrace app prescribing as a way to better engage patients in their own health and improve clinical outcomes.”

Now picture you and your doctor or other health care provider communicating via text, email or video.

Text Messaging
Wouldn’t it be fantastic to get text messages with reminders or motivational messages? Research conducted at the Center for Connected Health, showed that “sending people a text message each AM with the weather report and a reminder to put on their sunscreen increased sunscreen use dramatically,” said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Founder and Director at the Center for Connected Health.

If you are pregnant or a new mom Text4baby messages (founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson) are free text messages for pregnant women and new moms even if the individuals don’t have a text message plan and if they have a limited texting plan, these text4forbaby messages don’t take away from that limit.

Imagine patients being able to communicate with their physicians and other health care providers easily and effectively.  For instance, patients can input their health and biometric data from consumer monitoring devices that measure blood sugar, weight, and blood pressure (to name a few) into Smartphones or PCs; which then, safely integrates into the electronic health record (EHR, PHR, EMR) for instant communication and feedback from physicians and other health care providers.

Or, imagine late at night, a patient interacting from a cell phone or a computer with a physician or other health care provider that could help save a trip to an emergency room.  Envision patients monitoring their chronic diseases independently while living at home.

American Well is a technology company that brings health care into homes and into the workplace.   While this software telehealth company’s site is for professionals, take a look and find out what key features are possible.  Begin the conversation with your health care providers.

Gaming is huge and it can help you achieve your health and wellness goals. What if your health care provider suggested you played Kinect or offered other suggestions for gaming for better health?

3. Get social. Sure, hanging out with your friends face-to-face is always a great way to interact, but I’m talking about getting social in the social networking space with health experts who can inspire you, lead you to action and offer trustworthy health information.

Tap into health experts

By engaging in social networking , you can tap into health experts that you trust.  Here is a short list of the many wondering health educators.

There are many health experts engaging in social media networking to help provide you with valuable information. I’ve been involved in a few Sharecare’s awesome Twitter chats—powerful real-time question-and-answer sessions—and I must say that two hours tweeting health information, engaging and interacting with the twitter audience on topics like sleep, heart health and genetics was very cool.

Twitter is one powerful platform that offers the opportunity for nurses, doctors, and other health care providers to help educate consumers. We are privileged to listen to the community, engage with consumers, collaborate and hopefully inspire people to live a healthier life.

Engage in online health communities

Communities are a great way to find emotional support and reassurance from other people going through the same experience. You can collaborate and share information.  Inspire is one example of an engaging community.

Patients can help transform health care and may help drive innovation and behavior change by engaging in the power of mobile devices and social media networking.

The conversation between you and your doctor or other health care provider needs to change. Technology needs to be part of the conversation. You can play a huge role in the adoption and deployment of health technology.  Help drive innovation.

The technology is here, now it needs to get in the hands of patients and consumers.

Your turn

We would love you to share your insights in the comment section below.  Are you an engaged and empowered consumer? What are your thoughts on health care technology? Are you for or against it? How do you feel about social media networking? Do you engage with health care professionals?

Connect with me | Stay in touch

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  1. 1

    Great post, Barbara! 🙂

    The online health communities, that’s a big one. There’s certainly a need for health professionals to be engaged on social media but it’s incredibly important for support communities to thrive. Even better if medical pros and healthcare facilities get actively involved in those online areas as well.

    Keep putting out the great content.

    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community

  2. 2

    Hi Jason!

    Thank you! I absolutely agree with you. Online health communities are vital for patients and caregivers, and having health professionals and health care facilities actively involved in them would be beneficial. Thanks Jason for sharing your thoughts, I greatly appreciate it!



  3. 3

    Excellent post, Barbara!

    You definitely nailed it, especially in regard to online health communities. We have seen the power of what can happen in terms of support and reassurance at our online cancer support network, WhatNext.com. People are getting insight into the treatments, decisions, and experiences of others who share their specific diagnosis and role (i.e. patient, caregiver, etc.). With cancer and many other health conditions, you have to make many decisions and it can be really hard. It can mean so much to hear what it’s REALLY like for others who’ve made these same choices.

    Thank you,

  4. 4

    Hi Karen,
    Thank you so much! I agree–Online health communities are powerful. They provide connection and collaboration. Thank you for letting us know about WhatNext.com — http://www.whatnext.com/ — and for sharing your insights. Thank you for your valuable time.
    Best regards,

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