Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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Social Media in Medical Education: The Debate

This debate took place between Dr Damian Roland and Dr Rakesh Patel at the University of Leicester Medical School on 26 June 2013.
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Social Media Connections: The Rise of Virtual Courses for CMEs

Social Media Connections: The Rise of Virtual Courses for CMEs | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In this column, I’d like to explore what our world might look like in the near future and answer the question, “What impact will new social learning technologies have on the future of medical meetings and medical education?”  

 

So here are my predictions for the next three to five years:

1. The number of medical meetings will decrease by up to 50 percent.

2. The amount of online medical education will increase by up to 300 percent.

3. The vast majority of emerging online medical education will be received through “virtual course” models.

 

Here is why I think these things will happen:


For the past few years I have been looking for trends in how learners access medical education, and one is that live meetings are falling out of favor with learners due to the high costs and inconveniences they entail. This trend has been confirmed in data we have recently gathered across hundreds of clinicians—the future will include fewer live meetings and more online learning.

 

Online learning has evolved, and now the integration of new social learning technologies is accelerating this evolution. There is an clear opportunity to use online channels to offer more convenient, more interactive, and less expensive education.

 

Clinicians are increasingly comfortable engaging in online learning communities. And, perhaps even more critical, we are learning (through published research) how to structure these learning communities to increase their “perceived usefulness” for clinicians. We can apply this research in practice by designing competency-based curricula delivered within smaller, safer, closed virtual classrooms. When you leverage social learning technologies in the design of virtual courses, you enable learners to sustainably engage with faculty, interact with “classmates,” and absorb content efficiently.

 

As for the timeframe—three to five years—the reality is that this evolution is unlikely to be linear. The evidence we have already gathered, coupled with trends we can see in other disciplines, suggest that changes will more likely be exponential. As more learners experience these new models, and as they see the benefits of learning and sharing together, then we may very well see changes happening even more quickly. The question is whether the expectations of learners will soon outpace the capacity of the medical education community. So my question for you is: Will you be ready to lead this change?

 

Brian S. McGowan, PhD, has dedicated the past 12 years to medical education as a faculty member, mentor, accredited provider, and commercial supporter. The opinions expressed are McGowan’s and do not represent the views of past, current, or future employers. Contact him via Twitter: @BrianSMcGowan.

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"Social Media Residency": Essential for Tomorrow's Physicians

"Social Media Residency": Essential for Tomorrow's Physicians | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Should doctors undergo a formal social media training program? The answer from Mayo Clinic is “yes.”



The healthcare system’s social media training program, “Social Media Residency," will for the first time will be offered at another hospital. The program will be held at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City this June.

Although there have been many doctor advocates for social media, there are still limited social media training resources for doctors, especially for young doctors.

 

One can argue that doctors should use their common sense to guide their online presence. But as social media and digital technologies progress, the implications of these emerging channels are beyond their functions as communication platforms–innovators in healthcare have been exploring social media for other functions such as clinical recruitment, mobile medicine, hospital re-admission reduction and patient adherence. Some of these explorations have shown promising results and physicians may be able to utilize these new tools in a clinical setting soon.

 

Thus, training physicians on the use of social media is more than about telling them how to maintain a professional online profile when patients search their names; more important, the training should be about the future trends of the online world, and how physicians can bridge the knowledge in medicine and digital techniques to ultimately advance medicine and enhance healthcare delivery.

 

There are three reasons why a social media training program like “Social Media Residency” is essential for tomorrow’s physicians.

 

Physicians will be a driving force in medical innovation  

Physicians are the stakeholders in healthcare who directly engage patients and touch different segments of the healthcare system—from ordering tests, prescribing medications, checking medical record, coordinating with other specialists and even handling billing. Therefore, insights from physicians are unique and valuable for healthcare innovation.

 

As the healthcare system is shifting to a patient-centered model, non-medication intervention will play a more important role in patient management. Prevention, early diagnosis, better integration and improved patient communication can all contribute to driving outcomes. Many of these improvements can be driven by social media and digital technologies. As physicians work together to deliver cost-effective healthcare for patients, they not only need to understand how these emerging tools work but also use insights to identify opportunities to improve them.

 

Social media has redefined the relationship between physicians and patients

 

With free and easy access to medical information, patients are much more educated today. According to a study published on the Journal of Health Communication, 70 percent of surveyed patients planned to ask their doctor questions about the information they found, and 40 percent had printed the information to take to the appointment.  Meanwhile, patients are also using online channels and mobile tools to counsel peers, share experience, track progression of their condition and log side effects of treatments. In some disease state with extremely active patient advocates (e.g., diabetes, cancer, rare diseases), patients are powerful enough to influence policy making and business decisions made by pharmaceutical companies.

 

Physicians who play a leading role in healthcare delivery cannot react to the trend by ignoring it. To manage the new physician-patient relationship properly requires knowledge in social media and digital—where patients are discussing the condition, what websites contain the most reputable medical content, what mobile apps might add value to disease management for patients and what a proper way would be to convince patients about diagnosis or treatment when it is different from what they found online.

 

The bottom line is about adding value in healthcare delivery

The essence of patient-centered healthcare is about adding value. As Michael Porter discussed in his famous paper What Is Value in Health Care back in 2010, achieving high value for patients must become the overarching goal of healthcare delivery and value should define the framework for performance improvement in healthcare. Thus, the reason why we need to train physicians on social media should also be about adding value.

 

Although researchers and the industry are still figuring out ways to measure the value of social media in a clinical setting, some indirect or qualitative findings illustrate social media can enhance value in healthcare.

 

For example, many studies have shown social connections can be beneficial for mental health. Peer counseling and support groups—things patients do in social media each day—foster such connections and help patients to better cope with their conditions. When I was doing research for a client in ALS drug development, I encountered this comment: “I desperately needed to adjust my ‘new life’ to this ‘new reality.’ Social media has helped with that adjustment by empowering me and other patients.”  This is just one of many revealing patient comments that I have seen in the last couple of years.


Efforts to drive the value of social media in healthcare have also been made by businesses. Forbes reported a company called Healtheo360 has recently launched a patient study designed to measure the advantages of Virtual Social Therapy, a social media-based service developed by the company, in patients with diabetes.

 

Mayo Clinic’s “Social Media Residency” program indicates leading healthcare organizations have realized the necessity to incorporate social media into the formal training channel and started to experiment emerging tools in a clinical setting. It is a great starting point, but more still need to be explored from multiple perspectives before physicians can ultimately utilize social media to deliver measurable, meaningful and consistent outcomes.

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