This is a large and ongoing debate for many people, whether social media can benefit the physician-patient relationship, or can cross the boundaries of appropriateness, and make things uncomfortable.
One of the benefits of social media in medicine is that it gives patients information they might need. Social media has re-humanized the medical experience by creating an opportunity for individuals to share details of their “personal relationship” with their illness or medication.
However, it can be taken too far; a physician may not realize that posting on the internet is more public than hospital elevator chatter. And, while elevator chitchat disappears after the sound disperses, internet posts do not easily vanish.
Policies have been set up to ensure that social media in medicine is not taken advantage of. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 prevents doctors from using email or text messaging, much less open platforms like Facebook or Twitter, to publicly communicate about a a particular patient’s care, without risk of being fined or fired.
The American Medical Association’s “Professionalism in the Use of Social Media” policy provides short and concise instructions on conduct in cyberspace. Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Addendum to Social Media Guidelinesare helpful in that they offer a dozen fictional but believable examples in which improper social media usage can occur, and they prompt readers to reconsider their own online interactions in a different light.
Some say that physicians should never interact with patients via social media; however, some think quite the opposite. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers,41 percent of patient respondents said they would share information with health care professionals via social media and 61 percent said they would trust information from health care professionals received via social media.
Practitioners can also utilize social media to share news stories and information in their community about their practice. But sometimes the stories can turn into hype, and may risk going ‘too far’. Some physicians notice that they are getting friend requests from their patients. Where do you draw the line?
The key is how and where the physician answers the questions being asked on social media. The use of social media in medicine is much different for physicians, as compared to the average person’s use of social media.
If a patient asks a sensitive or urgent question, one should take the conversation off social media and respond with a phone call or some other direct form of communication. Some physicians even go so far as to text patients if that seems the best way to communicate.
In conclusion, it is a matter of personal opinion and judgment as to how far the physician should go in using social media in medicine as it relates to thepatient-physician relationship. The key to using social media with patients is being professional and respecting both their privacy and your own.
If you would like more information about how Health Connexions™ can help you develop and implement a social media strategy, develop your website or manage your patient communications, please contact Adeola Fatuga at email@example.com
Traditional thinking in regards to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) has been focused solely on their product adoption process. That is, in adopting a new innovation (for example, a new service, a new medical device or a new drug), most people think that when a Key Opinion Leader influences another physician to become a new prescriber or new user … this is seen to be occurring by simple imitation.
How do YOU view a Key Opinion Leader’s role in the product adoption process and usage of new technology? … let us know your thoughts by posting on our blog, below.
Our full article is here: http://healthconnexions.com/blog/strategic-consulting/product-adoption-process
Twitter represents about 50% of all messages in the Social Media space; however, only 7 to 8% of all people are on Twitter. So, in your quest to do better Market Research around Social Media, and not just do monitoring (which collects reams and reams of non-actionable data), the key question to ask is … “Is My Data Balanced and Representative?” What are your thoughts on how Twitter impacts your Social Media analytics?
Our article is here: http://healthconnexions.com/blog/market-research/twitter-analytics … but, let us know your thoughts by posting on our blog, below.
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Health Connexions is here to help you succeed in a changing healthcare environment. We provide strategic healthcare solutions for your problems because our passion is to improve the healthcare system.
We service Life Sciences companies, Health Care institutions and the Government within the following divisions: Education & Training, Market Research, Healthcare Consulting, Communications and Care & Cost Management.