The evolution of social media in healthcare seems to be rapidly reaching a tipping point. There’s no shortage of speakers at hundreds of conferences, and there’s no shortage of activity on twitter elaborating upon many of the potential upsides. Thousands of physicians now utilize twitter as a means of communicating, sharing, learning, and staying in touch with long lost colleagues and friends. We follow conference hashtags from afar to stay up to date. We meet many new and interesting people who share a common goal. Serendipity and the power of pull enable us to grow our networks, foster our relevance, improve our knowledge base and reach out to assist others. Physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and ATCs are all collaborating and reaching out to their networks when they are in need of information. A few healthcare providers are curating content or sharing articles that their colleagues may find useful. The conversations are occurring far more frequently than in years past. The oncology, and more specifically, the breast cancer physician, nurse, and patient presence/interactions have been nothing short of astounding!
This journey has certainly been far more of a marathon (or long slow walk) than a sprint. Recognition of the value propositions have come slowly. Guidance for those on the fence, or those afraid to dip their toes in the water has been slow to emerge, and is often as murky as the water they’re dipping their toes into.
There is no shortage of physicians and other health care workers who tweet, blog or write about the benefits of social media in healthcare to themselves, their colleagues and their patients —BUT — far too few healthcare providers have set out to actively engage, and more importantly, educate the segment of the social media audience who most likely stands to benefit the most from what social media in healthcare has to offer : The patient.
To say Dr. Luks is a pioneer of using social media to connect, inform, and promote health care options is a bit of an understatement. In fact, he just might be the gold standard. The New York based orthopedic surgeon embraced social media long before it was commonplace and he now works to encourage other doctors and healthcare providers to do the same. As he puts it on his own website: “Human beings are innately social. Health is social. 1+ billion Facebook users can’t all be wrong.”
Our patients are confused, often ill-informed, scared and very thirsty for knowledge, and a helping hand. Far too physicians are actually taking the time to address the questions, fears, and apprehensions of a global audience thirsting for meaningful, actionable and useful healthcare information. We are missing the opportunity to help clear the windshield of doubt. By utilizing social media in healthcare we can push content, put forth in a manner that is easy to absorb, easy to understand, easy to put to use, and addresses most of their basic questions. This is what the patient segment of the social media in healthcare audience requires most.
Starting a blog, or a website has become far simpler than in years past. Addressing the questions you receive each and everyday in the office is the best place to start when it comes to content creation. Keep it short, keep it simple, and keep it targeted. In time, you will have a web presence full of great content. You will have a site you can be very proud of, and you will develop a very thankful audience who will be more than happy to share the information they have learned — and the provider they have learned it from.
Dictating your way to a website full of useful content. The “41st patient” content management strategy.
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.