How are physicians using social media and to what extent do they recommend it for their patients? A compilation of surveys by a social media strategy firm reveals that physicians’ use of social media groups such as Twitter and YouTube for professional and personal use has surged in the past three years. Although physicians are warming to referring their patients to online patient groups, physicians say litigation concerns stand in the way of greater interaction with their own patients online.
Still, online physician communities are the highest subscribed service and tower over the use of Facebook and even LinkedIn. Physicians are using them to learn from experts and peers, discuss clinical issues and talk about practice management issues.
Murrieta, California-based oBizmedia.com created the infographic for Mesotheliomapage.com to boost its visibility.
When it comes to patients, some of the biggest challenges to more online interaction with physicians concern potential liability and patient privacy. Nearly 40 percent of physicians surveyed encourage their patients to participate in patient forums and just over 40 percent would consider recommending their patients do the same. A little under 20 percent said they would be unlikely to advise patients to do that.
Organized Wisdom and HealthTap, which exhibited at the mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, are two companies that have illustrated the interest by patients in communicating with physicians online. Organized Wisdom has been working with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a pilot program to improve patient-physician interaction to improve patients’ understanding of complex surgical procedures. HealthTap’s platform gathers information from whichever participating physicians are available at a given time to respond to individual patient queries.
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