About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

9 comments on “Social Media in Healthcare… an *Intriguing* Continuum

  • Hi Howard

    A thoughtful intuition pump to use the “continuum” .

    There’s definitely a staging to all this social media stuff.

    It begins with awareness, moves on to education and eventually – at the extreme but difficult end – “care” (however we define that in the 21st Century).

    Agree – we need more people in the game.


  • Hey Howard
    No surprise that I agree there’s a continuum of engagement. From my perspective, I think it’s linked to issues relative to community development.

    All social worlds (real and virtual) have a life cycle and the ones created by social media need to be better appreciated and understood by observers and participants. I say we need to understand the growth and development of virtual communities in general, then move on to considering how this development might differ for different cohorts before we drill down to the “person.”

    My more-than-two sociological cents!

  • Everything spreads thru a society or group along a curve that we are all familiar with: The Difusion of Innovation Curve. There’s always going to be early adopters and then the rest of the group or society catches up. Perfectly normal really. Doctors are no different from those who said that mobile phones would be a niche market and very few PCs would ever be sold.

  • Great points. Perhaps we haven’t yet reached the tipping point of social media in healthcare. Lots of evolution still needs to occur before we see true integration of social media in healthcare delivery.
    Pam Ressler (@pamressler)

  • The social health conversation is a continuum in as much as continuity is one of its characteristics, but perhaps what we are reaching for here is an acknowledgement of its concurrent complexity.

    That need not be a great thing, however. What are we going to do with that observation?

    I mean yes, it’s true that there as many facets to this discussion as there are participatory voices within identifiable communities of interest, but acknowledging and analysing this takes us on a long and circuitous journey to travel a very short distance.

    If we revel in the pleasure of discourse, we can make the health conversation as amorphous and hetergeneous as we like.

    However, as Phil remarks in the post Howard cites above, if there’s no change in behaviour as a consequence, we may as well all be doing something else.

    The tough question we all need to ask ourselves every day is: what have I done today that has made a difference? How can I do better tomorrow?


  • I believe there are three inherent reasons physicians are skeptical to begin participating in social media:

    1. There is risk, which is not well defined
    2. The benefit is also not yet well defined.
    3. Most importantly, though, physicians are extremely busy. They are some of the hardest working people on the planet. Writing on a blog or post, with the existing first two problems looming, is just very far down on their to-do list.

    As successes emerge, as rules and expectations are more clearly defined and as they feel a sense of comfort with it by observing mentors, more and more physicians will join in the conversation.

    For now, there are a small group of us out on the field, playing as well as we can. Our game is improving, the rules are becoming more clear, and it is a joy to be a part of this new frontier.

    • Thanks for your comments Kelly… I agree with you. It has been interesting that we have seen an uptick in # of MD’s on twitter, and even medical students on twitter. We’ll leave the light on for all newcomers :-)

  • I think we are just beginning to see the full potential of Social Media. The concepts of crowdsourcing problems, social media collaboration, creative commons licensing, and open source projects are still in their developing stages. While these technologies have the potential to free up time, it’s tough to point to media innovations in the past that have slowed down our lives, giving us more time to interact with each other.

    I agree with you and Phil that now is the time to get more people in the game. While Social Media are developing, we still have the ability to steer it in productive directions to create platforms which are truly social, both in terms of the aims and mode of interaction. I think the tone of discussions in many of the healthcare twitter communities is great, really supportive, compassionate, and fun. This is something I hope will continue to develop. There is also healthy skepticism within these communities, which is not something you see too often in other healthcare media. It may be one of the most valuable assets of the social media movement.

    On the horizon, I see social media and healthcare moving from discussion focused to problem-solving. Collaborative projects, crowdsourcing, and creating valuable health resources filtered by the community at large. I believe as these platforms develop, the value will become increasingly apparent to those who remain hesitant. We may not be there yet, but I definitely see it growing and evolving!

Sorry, comments are closed.