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17 Comments

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    Outstanding overview of the value for social networking in medicine and health. Twitter has become an invaluable “newsfeed” on the latest reports, conferences and connections on health care. Thank you!

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    Great article Barbara, it’s a pleasure reading such an article. Social media in healthcare is definitely here to stay. If we choose to learn it and embrace it now when social media in healthcare is still young and relatively unspoiled, it will certainly get us ready for a time when social media will be the way we communicate with one another, our patients, and our communities.

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    Hi Dr. Sikorski,
    Thank you so much. I absolutely agree–social media in health care is here to stay! It’s an untapped resource that’s not being utilized to its fullest extent!
    Best,
    Barbara

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    I know that many in my profession have deep fears about confidentiality when engaging in social media. They also have concerns about boundaries and professional relationships. However, I’ve studied this issue, and I believe that there is plenty of room for ethical, responsible engagement on social media. And I believe that we *need* to be defining those professional boundaries and expectation, not hiding from them.

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    As an ME/CFS patient, I have recently started using twitter. It’s so easy to find other people suffering from the same condition who therefore truly understand your symptoms.
    I can connect with others with my condition using #mecfs and those with invisible chronic illnesses using #spoonie (referring to @bydls spoon theory). It’s great to be able to connect with people sharing the same difficulties, who truly understand your struggle. There are also lots of people sharing the latest research and news, so you can keep up-to-date with developments in the field. Also, if you are looking into specific treatments, you can find out other people’s experiences.

    Social networking sites make living with chronic illnesses that bit easier, and I think it should be encouraged by doctors.

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    Great article about the value of social media. I’ve seen a lot of health care professionals turning to private online communities (patient-centric and profession-centric) . It allows them to benefit from social media — through exchanging ideas, networking and connecting — but keeps the audience smaller and more targeted. Plus security is less of an issue in a private online community.

    Thanks for bringing attention to the benefits of social media. It’s a communication tool and those who write it off as a “young person’s” toy are missing an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Of course, as much as I find value in social media, I must admit a tool is only as useful as those employing it.

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    As a physician who also suffers from a relatively rare neurological illness, I have realized the value of internet not only in recieving support, but also knowledge and understanding that helped me eventually find the optimal treatment for my illness. I was ashtonished to find out that many times patients know more then their physicians regarding their specific illness, and definitely have better tips on how to live with it. This experience has changed the way I now approach my own patients. It made me understand the true meaning of what we used to say in medical school-“the patient is the one with the disease”. Yes, the patient is the one that has to live with it 24 hours each day, even if it doesn’t fit the book. As opposed to the physician taking care of him, he doesn’t leave it in the hospital once he goes home.

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