Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    14 Ways Social Media May Soon Change Your Doctor’s Visit

    Posted by admin on May 25, 2012 1:36:47 PM

    Re-posted from Medical Billing & Coding

    In 2006, Pew Research Forum discovered that 80% of American adults used the Internet to research medical information. By 2011, data (separately) compiled by Frost and Sullivan and QuantiaMD showed between 87% to 90% of physicians used at least one social media site for personal reasons, with a further 67% to 75% opting for more professional postings. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogging, and the like stand poised to change the face of healthcare in the exact same manner it pretty much did for most other industries. Medical professionals — not just doctors — have discovered some creative (and not-so-creative) ways to apply the technology to many different aspects of their field, meaning savvy, Internet-literate patients should stay on the lookout for what might lay ahead.

    1. Better information & Support
    PatientsLikeMe serves as a social media site for individuals with various conditions to connect and share their experiences and treatment options that work and do not work for them. As the site grows, so too does participants’ knowledge of what’s happening to their bodies, making it easier for them to communicate with their doctors about possible treatments, rare and common symptoms, and more. In addition, banding together with others in their situation offers necessary comfort and understanding patients might not necessarily receive from even the most well-meaning loved one.

    2. Greater Risk of Compromised Confidentiality
    Don’t panic; the vast majority of doctors probably won’t be Alexandra Thran, a Rhode Island physician fined for posting enough information online for readers to recognize her patient. All the same, though, savvy consumers should pay attention to their new and old doctors’ Internet presence for signs of breaking confidentiality. The threat might be minimal, but that doesn’t mean patients should grow complacent when it comes to their health and safety.

    3. More Balanced Drug Information
    In order to counterbalance Big Pharma’s massive social media presence, doctors such as immunologist and allergist Ves Dimov utilize their Facebooks and Twitters to perpetuate more scientific studies proving and disproving the information advertised. Doing so, they feel, will better educate their patients about what drugs they may or may not need when seeking treatment. Be forewarned that many healthcare professionals receive kickbacks, so stay wary of those who seem to eagerly push one specific brand over another. Researching and asking around will dredge up the most trusted professionals speaking on the subject.

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    Topics: education, Facebook, pharma, healthcare, social media, Twitter, U.S. News & World Report, primary care, coding, hospitals, medical billing, patients, PatientsLikeMe, Pew Research Forum, treatment options, Frost and Sullivan, QuantiaMD, Social Media

    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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