Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    The Relationship Between Doctors, Patients & Social Media

    Posted by admin on May 3, 2012 11:26:24 AM

    Re-posted from our friends at Methodical Madness:
    Health Care and Social Media

    A recent article in Information Week stated that the health care community in the United States doesn’t take full advantage of social media as a health care tool. Most healthcare organizations in the U.S. use social media solely for marketing.

    In contrast, hospitals in European countries such as the NetherlandsNorwaySweden, and the United Kingdom are embracing social media as a way to improve care management, engage patients, and communicate with other doctors.


    This is somewhat surprising considering the large number of physicans who use social media. A report on social media and physicians found that 90% of physicians use at least one social media site for personal use and 65% use at least one social media site for professional use. Moreover, 20% of clinicians use 2 or more social media sites for personal and professional use.

    Graph courtesy of Doctors, Patients & Social Media

    Many healthcare professionals see social media as a great educational resource for sharing medical knowledge and networking. In fact, there are doctor-only networks such as Sermo, Physician Connect, and Doximity. There are also public groups like, a database of physicians who tweet, has more than 1,300 doctors registered.

    The challenges healthcare professionals face with social media are mostly centered on maintaining patient privacy and complying with industry regulations such as HIPAA where there are severe civil or criminal penalties for disclosing personal information. A report showed that of health care professionals who did not use social media, 70% cited privacy issues as the main deterrant. The American Medical Association has issued guidelines for medical students and physicians. But the social media landscapes moves so quickly, keeping current is difficult.

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    Topics: social media, Health care, doctors, HIPPA, patients, American Medical Association, communication, medical school

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