Some doctors join Facebook, Twitter; others wary – USATODAY.com – This article was brought to my attention by colleagues who wonder, “Is this what social media for physicians is about, marketing your practice?”
I think what’s in that question, and what the title of the piece creates the feeling of in my mind (am I wrong?), is that people want doctors to participate and communicate with them where they are to help them achieve their life goals through optimal health.
As I read the article more closely, it seems to me that the doctors interviewed, including well read @kevinmd , appear to be as inquisitive about social media as a health improvement tool as my colleagues are.
I think we’ll get there. Why?
We’ll learn that social media is about communication, not technology
Physician Michael Laccheo was quoted that he knows “amazing doctors who don’t know how to type.” I have a feeling that they are are probably amazing because they are good communicators. If the hurdle is learning the tools, and technology, that’s a far easier task than the hurdle of good communication.
A perfect example to me of this was a conversation I had just today with @ReginaHolliday . She told me over a warm beverage how she didn’t use computers at all before embarking on her patient advocacy work. No facebook. No twitter. If you see / hear her now, you can’t believe this was ever the case. She’s a great communicator that was liberated by the technology, once she had the need and time to learn them.
We’ve already learned that participating with patients online has significant benefits
The study this week published in Health Affairs demonstrating improved quality measures through the use of patient-physician e-mail at Kaiser Permanente shows this through published data.
Watch toward the end of this video where Michael Kanter, MD says that this is something that a “few thousand doctors and a few million members who are trying out a new means of medical care.” This speaks to a comfort level of one of the most important things social media brings – connection to patients where they are.
Patients will expect us to join them, and we like being there for our patients
We definitely need to use this medium responsibly. While there will be those who will be anxious about it, and those who will make others anxious about it (here’s an example I came across today), we are irresistibly drawn to the idea of “being there.”
Image from Wikipedia
We’ve never stopped trying to learn how to be better when we are physically present with patients. We’ll work to create the same benefit from just being “present.” Are there patients that don’t want us to explore this?