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.
Curated by nrip
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Interventional Cardiologist performing PFO closure through Google GLASS

Interventional Cardiologist performing PFO closure through Google GLASS | Social Media and Healthcare |

In the past, fellow GLASS Explorers like Rafael Grossman and Heather Evans have demonstrated how Google GLASS can help doctors obtain important recommendations from other experts via live-streaming.

In a recent sequence of serendipitous events occurring at UAMS a Pediatric Interventional Cardiologist from Arkansas Children’s Hospital provided valuable insight to a team of interventional cardiologists who  performed  a Patent Foramen Ovale  (PFO) Closure.

PFO closures are usually performed in children and adolescents who have symptoms secondary to significant Right to Left shunts, in non-medical terms, significant non-oxygenated blood mixing with oxygenated blood.  On occasion, secondary to anatomical changes in adulthood, a PFO which was not significant can turn into a defect which needs correction. Such was the case we recently encountered. A PFO closure is not something performed frequently in adults, and an even an expert interventional cardiologist could have accumulated 25-50 cases through their career. Even though the procedure could have been done safely by the operator, we decided to contact a pediatric interventional cardiologist, who performs this procedure  more frequently.

This is where we saw an opportunity to  use of Google GLASS as a way of Livestreaming the procedure to the telementor and obtain his advice in real time. The next step was obvious, before anything, I spoke in detail with the patient (which by the way I will be disclosing his name soon because he wants me to do so as well as his family). I explained to him how we would use GLASS and Hangouts to stream the procedure to an expert who has abundant experience on PFO closures on children, and if needed he could instantly provide his advice. Needless to say, he understood the potential of such a dynamic and was excited to be part of it.

Nov 19 the procedure occurred. We initially had planned to stream the hangout to the tele-mentor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, but due to heavily leaded walls in the catheterization lab affecting the current data connection, and GLASS being a beta-gadget, we decided to have the expert nearby in case we needed him.

Patient was anesthetized, intubated, and  Transesophageal echocardiogram  performed to guide the implantation of the Amplatzer closure device. Shortly after, access was obtained with a femoral sheath and the device was inserted and advanced to the left atrium across the PFO. At this point in time, the interventional cardiology team spotted a mobile artifact within the tip of the amplatzer highly suggestive of thrombus. These images were transmitted live to the tele-mentor who agreed on the diagnosis and suggested at this point to retrieve the device to avoid the possibility of a thromboembolic event. When the device was retrieved, we confirmed our suspicion, a thrombus in the tip of the amplatzer was observed. The tele-mentor further guided us on how to flush the sheath and adequately clean the thrombus from the device. At this point in time we decided to end transmission and ask the tele-mentor to come to  the cath lab to provide further recommendations.  Soon after the device was reinserted, deployed with excellent angiographic, echocardiographic and physiologic results.  Procedure was a success and patient was subsequently discharged with adequate arterial oxygen saturation, effectively treating his problem.

After discussion with my colleague and Google GLASS pioneer Rafael Grossman MD, we agreed that this was the first time that the advice given by an expert through Google GLASS directly impacted and helped the decisions made in a medical procedure.

Example of looking at TEE monitor with GLASS to demonstrate quality

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26%Globally, Who Use Medical Apps, Say Recommendation Came From Medical Professional

26%Globally, Who Use Medical Apps, Say Recommendation Came From Medical Professional | Social Media and Healthcare |

One quarter (26%) of those in 27 countries who regularly use any medical, health or fitness-related apps say that it was recommended by a medical professional. Three in four (74%) respondents say a medical professional did not recommend its use. The findings reflect a new poll of 3,382 online respondents who regularly use a medical, health or fitness-related app conducted by Ipsos OTX – the global innovation center for Ipsos, the world’s third largest market and opinion research firm.

Most of those who say they use a medical, health or fitness-related app with the recommendation of a medical professional are from: Turkey (56%), India (49%), China (45%), Mexico (37%), Saudi Arabia (35%), Argentina (30%), Indonesia (29%), Russia (28%), and Finland (28%). Those in the middle of the pack are from: South Korea (26%), Spain (26%), Brazil (25%), Hungary (21%), United States (19%), France (17%), Canada (16%), Germany (13%), and Belgium (12%). The least of those who say they use apps are from South Africa (12%), Australia (10%), Poland (10%), Great Britain (9%), Italy (8%), Japan (8%), Sweden (5%), Netherlands (3%), and Norway (1%).

Demographic variables appear to indicate that those who say they regularly use a medical, health or fitness-related app with the recommendation of a medical professional are more likely to be male (30%) than female (24%), as well as married (29%) than not married (24%).

About Survey

These are findings of the research led by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (Ipsos OTX) collected by Ipsos Global @dvisor as part of Socialogue, an ongoing publication that features conversation-starting commentary on social media trends and behavior. The research was conducted on the “G@46”wave between June 4-18th, 2013. The monthly Global @dvisor data output is derived from a balanced online sample in 27 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 3,382 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and one of 500 is accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points in their respective general populations. In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output is weighted to reflect the general population. Of the 27 countries surveyed, 15 yield results that are representative: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The nine remaining countries surveyed –Brazil (45.6% Internet penetration among the citizenry), China (41%), India (11.4%), Indonesia (22.1%), Mexico (36.5%), Russia (47.7%), Saudi Arabia (49%), South Africa (17.4%) and Turkey (45.7%)—have lower levels of connectivity therefore cannot be weighted to be general population representative; however, the online sample in these countries are particularly valuable in their own right as they are more urban/educated/income than their fellow citizens and are often referred to as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.

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3 Ways Healthcare Can Leverage Social Media

3 Ways Healthcare Can Leverage Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

As important and relevant as healthcare is in all of our lives, it's gratifying to know that many healthcare companies are actually doing a whole lot right online.  They’re building connections with their current and potential patients with each additional useful piece of information and improved digital experience.

I recently hosted a webinar about how healthcare companies are using social media.  Thank you to everyone that attended and contacted me with additional insights and questions.  (If you missed it, you can still check it out here.)  For several years, I consulted with leading healthcare companies to help improve their patient experience and marketing.  Social media offers a great channel to connect with key stakeholders, provided it is appropriately used.  Here are some essential ways to leverage social media for success:

Actively Engage with Potential Patients

In healthcare or any industry, the key to successfully connecting with potential customers is to provide value – always provide value from your customer’s perspective, not value to your company in that you’re raising awareness of a brand, idea, or promotion.  In healthcare, providing value means providing useful information, which may mean highlighting your own organization’s research or summarizing other research in ways that regular people can understand (not just people who work in healthcare).  Additional important ways to engage with potential patients include:

  • Leverage the unique opportunity of social – be active on social media and provide relevant info where people are looking.
  • Offer insights into healthcare changes – leverage this unique time to be a resource to confused consumers and businesses.
  • Enable online scheduling, doctor searches, and relevant info.

Successfully Connect with Caretakers and Loved Ones of Patients

Most successful healthcare organizations have probably already figured out that patients aren’t the only ones who matter.  The loved ones and caretakers of patients are incredibly important.  The Pew Internet and Health survey reported that 54% of online health searches were on behalf of someone else.  

Since people are searching online for health information for others, you must provide information that helps them care for and advances health conversations with their loved ones.  Ways to connect with caretakers include:  

  • Build relationships through online communities – They provide a valuable way to manage the tricky balance between intimacy & anonymity, so caretakers can be open about their experiences and concerns.
  • Offer resources specific to their perspectives – Suggested conversation starters and checklists can provide valuable comfort to caretakers.
  • Provide info, advice and empathy – Realize caretakers are impacted by a patient’s health too, and offer a forum for support.
  • Enable easy sharing with the patients – Make sure your content can be forwarded, posted, and printed so caretakers can easily pass the information to their loved ones.

Attract Top Tier Talent

Leveraging social media can give your organization a chance to present a brand and experience that will attract potential employees.  The almost unavoidable (necessary evil?) job sites have been around for years… but that’s unlikely to be your actual recruiting path for the best hires.  Over time, your organization can build connections with passive job searchers.  When they’re ready to leave their current jobs, they’ll think of you. 

  • Network where they are and through their peers & groups – Your current employees can provide valuable connections to future employees through their friends, previous coworkers, and classmates. 
  • Make it easy to get to know you – Formats like videos and blogs can help bring your brand to life for potential employees.
  • Follow relevant hashtags and handles – Forums like Twitter chats can help you listen to perspectives on key topics and offer a chance to raise awareness of your organization’s key points of view.  One you can check out is #hcsm for healthcare and social media on Sunday nights at 9pm EST. 
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Social Media Can Boost Medical and Dental Marketing Efforts

Social Media Can Boost Medical and Dental Marketing Efforts | Social Media and Healthcare |

Still unconvinced about the value of social media? Here are some social media statistics to help you make a more informed decision.

YouTube is the number-two search engine in the world. That makes it a great source for leads and traffic to your website.

The Relevancy Group reports that around 700 YouTube video links are being shared on Twitter every minute while about 500 years worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every day.

With more than 1 billion users, Facebook is the king of the social media hill. According to Hubspot, around 70 percent of business-to-consumer marketers gained their customers through this site. Which makes it a potentially great source of new patients for healthcare practices.

About 43 percent of all US marketers have acquired customers through LinkedIn. If you’re looking to increase your web leads and traffic, LinkedIn is a great site. It’s also a great site for attracting and engaging professional referral sources.

Did you know Twitter’s fastest-growing demographic is the 55 to 64 age bracket? If you want to reach out to this group, why not try Twitter? It’s a good platform for online medical and dental practice marketing.

Google Plus
While it may seem like a deserted social media platform, Google Plus ranks high from a usability standpoint by integrating Plus’ features like hashtag search in its search results. Being active on your Google Plus account will also give you an edge on search engine results. Make sure your Google profiles are populated with the right information and keywords.

More and more patients use the above social media accounts on a daily basis. Make sure you get your share of this patient base by having a branded and active present.

- See more at:

Mary Weidner's curator insight, October 8, 2014 1:11 PM

Building relationships with social media and showing your integrity through your interactions and on

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Social Media and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Medical Device Firms

Social Media and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Medical Device Firms | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a phenomenon that has replaced email as a primary means of communication in recent years and is especially popular among youth. Following the news of Twitter’s initial public offering (IPO) on November 7, 2013, the online social networking and microblogging service rapidly sold 70 million shares for $26 each, and is poised to overtake Facebook in usage. Twitter is a high growth company that demonstrates a trend in internet communication methods. The question then arises as to how social media can be a force in the medical device and healthcare industry. 

Social media efforts by medical device companies so far have been abysmal overall, with very few firms having a strong presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Pharmaceutical firms play a much greater role in social media, as it has been more integrated into their marketing efforts. Patients are more apt to give feedback and be swayed by communication from manufacturers regarding drugs. This has not been exactly the same for medical device companies, although social media still presents a major opportunity for those firms that take the first step. 

With medical devices, patients are still more swayed by their physicians’ opinions. Even so, Stryker had a direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing campaign that was successful. This campaign helped rebrand its Triathlon knee product and was based on the model where patients go to their orthopaedic surgeons and inquire about or request it. The financial figures have demonstrated the success of the campaign, as the company’s knee business grew from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion from 2011 to 2013. It is also important to note that this product has been around for over five years. Similar to the DTC marketing approach that Stryker has taken, a strong supplement to that would be social media...

seanhoneycombe's curator insight, October 1, 2014 10:01 PM

Today's society is heavily influenced by technology and more specifically, social media. This article discusses the potential for medical device firms to take advantage of the huge following on social media sites such as a Twitter, Facebook etc. 'Stryker' ran a 'Direct-to-Consumer' campaign which in two years took them from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion. In my opinion there is a huge market for medical device firms to market through the social media channel. 

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Social Media & Physicians

Mike Sevilla, MD talks at Social Media & Medicine Panel at 2013 RWJF Aligning Forces For Quality Annual Meeting #AF4Q in Austin, TX on November 7, 2013. Also...
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Top Trends in Social Medical Marketing

Top Trends in Social Medical Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare |

Wrangling in new patients is difficult in areas with competitive healthcare. This is especially true for specialty clinics and small hospitals that are dwarfed by large hospitals, though there are strategies via social medical marketing that can help boost your local exposure.

As everyone knows, having a strong online presence is a necessity for every industry. Marketing teams over the last few years have researched and developed strategies for generating likes, shares, followers, and other Web disciples to no avail, largely because theInternet is always changing. Simply put, every online strategy needs to be unique based on a business’ personality. As a healthcare specialist, you need to find ways to ensure your online followers know that you are an authority in your field and a practice they can trust.

Building up a reputation as an expert with social medical marketing is easy with the right approach. Firstly, you need to develop a strong social media presence by securing accounts on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform you think will help. Not only do these allow you to share information and stay in touch with patients, you are also taking control of your practice’s (your brand’s) name. Even if you decide to leave one account alone because you’re not seeing results, you can always go back to it later.

Next, you need to fill your profiles full of information that makes it easy for patients to find out who you are, what you do, and where your practice is located. This links back to branding basics; you need to develop a marketing platform, brand imagery, and messaging that relays info back to your patients that is easy to understand. Stay consistent throughout your profiles, too, in order to reduce any confusion.

Incentivizing Social Media
Having media accounts is useless without followers. Few patients have a reason to follow their doctor on Facebook — it’s up to you to convince them otherwise. Start by asking patients to like your pages and profiles (put your info on a business card, perhaps?) and even incentivize the process with deals. Or, if you’re really into making a splash in the online community, send patients information via social media about upcoming appointments and health information they may find informative. The same idea applies to emailed newsletters, text message appointment times, and other reminders.

Marketers have found that people react better to bright, attractive imagery rather than boring blocks of Web text. When you’re making posts or publishing blogs on social media, accompany them with multimedia like videos, infographics, and images. People are more likely to halt their newsfeed scrolling if they come across something that pops off the page. Think visual when you start out on your campaign and find pictures and graphs that accurately reflect your information.

Website Linking
Websites are like secondary storefronts for modern businesses. In terms of social medical marketing, link to and from your website with your social profiles and keep it stocked full of new, original, and accurate information about your practice and the healthcare industry. As mentioned, the best marketing campaigns set you up as a professional authority in a field. Writing pamphlets, articles, and blogs can help support this idea — all you have to do is link them through to your website.

Enlisting the Masses
It would be impossible for you, a busy doctor or healthcare professional, to do all of this on your own. Instead, enlist help from your staff and other experts. Did you get a new x-ray machine? Call up a radiologist and have them write up a few hundred words that you then publish on your website. Don’t be afraid to try new things, either; sometimes the most successful strategies are the ones no one has ever tried before.

Going Forward
The most important thing to do is to keep at it. Don’t give up if you don’t have every Facebook follower in town; focus instead on the long-term goal of creating an online brand and presence. Healthcare is a difficult, competitive field on the Internet. It is your job, and you should employ social medical marketing in order to support your practice as an authority and to provide patients with information.

Sedra T.'s curator insight, November 25, 2013 6:10 AM

SMEs should have a strong online presence to stay competitive in online market and, particularly, produce unique and valuable content.

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Create a Greater Voice: How to Get Doctors and Nurses to Write an Engaging Blog

Kimberly Schrack, public relations and social media manager for Magee Rehabilitation Hospital presented at the 2013 Health Care Social Media Summit held at M...
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Social media brings academic journals to general readers

Social media brings academic journals to general readers | Social Media and Healthcare |

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Dermatology shows that a handful of academic journals have successfully leveraged social media to reach many times the readers of the journals themselves. But the majority of journals have yet to embrace social media and so lag behind professional organizations and patient advocacy groups in their ability to disseminate information in a culturally relevant way.

If a  journal wants to educate people, this is a way to do it," says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dellavalle also manages the Facebook page for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Fittingly, Dellavalle worked on the project remotely, collaborating with a handful of medical students now included as co-authors.

The study evaluated the social media presences of 102 dermatology journals and also dermatology organizations and patient-advocacy groups. The social media followings of the most popular patient advocacy networks were about double the followings of the most popular professional organizations, which were about double the followings of the most popular journals. For example, at the time of study the Skin Cancer Foundation had 20,119 Facebook followers, the Dermatology Network had 11,251 Facebook followers, and Dellavalle's Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Facebook page had 5,286 followers.

That said, "you look at the New England Journal of Medicine and they're getting hundreds of thousands of reads through their social media presence. They're not getting nearly that many reads on the journal itself," Dellavalle says.

The study also showed that more prominent journals tend to have stronger social media followings. "Especially in terms of Facebook followings, the journals with the highest impact factors have the most followers," Dellavalle says.

At the time of study, the New England Journal of Medicine had 439,022 Facebook followers. However, as good as the leading journals undoubtedly are in creating and managing social media presences, there's a steep decline in the usage and success of lesser-known journals. Of the 102 dermatology journals studied, only 12.7 percent had a Facebook presence and 13.7 percent had a Twitter presence.

"Some journals haven't recognized the potential of fully embracing popular social networks," Dellavalle says. "Even in the community of academic researchers, there's an ever-changing goal post of relevance. If you don't remain active, you fall behind the times. With continued technological evolution, organizations that fail to recognize the opportunity provided by social networking sites risk becoming marginalized by their inability to assimilate to social media as an expected form of communication."

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Physicians and social media: #Innovation

Physicians and social media: #Innovation | Social Media and Healthcare |

Can social media be used to modernize medical education?  The modern medical education system still uses didactic lectures and objective testing as the main method of education. The traditional “Grand Rounds” has evolved over the years, from a primarily case-based discussion about a patient’s diagnosis (as written by William Osler himself in JAMA in 1910), to a didactic lecture. Some educators and learners in medical education have even questions its relevance as an educational venue entirely.

In order to meet their patients’ and students’ needs, some physicians are embracing social media and applying it to their own learning. In particular, social media has proven a great forum for physicians to connect and share ideas. Through various platforms (particularly the microblogging service Twitter), physicians can build connections with mentors and collaborators at other institutions and in other disciplines.

Since 2011, participants have “live-tweeted” the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds. Each week during the conference, faculty, students and others create tweets (less than 140 characters, for the Twitter novices) using the hashtag “#IUPedsGrRounds”.

The hashtag functions as an indexing tool, allowing faculty in attendance to provide real-time information about the content as well as commentary. This allows other physicians and interested parties to follow along and providing evidence of a reach beyond just the participants in the room. When broken down into different themes of Research-related, Clinical-related, Education-related, or Advocacy-related, those sessions on Advocacy provided the highest number of “retweets” or comments about the content.

Like most new technology, social media is accompanied by positive and negative consequences, both intended and unintended. Maintaining a professional and informative tone is a necessity to make this type of endeavor successful. Additionally, the benefits of a social media presence are still being undetermined, as are the metrics of success. One certainty is that the connections provided by social media are changing the face of health care; patients are using these platforms to connect to information and each other, and health care providers must do the same to stay relevant.

Digital-Opportunities's curator insight, November 25, 2013 6:56 AM

Superb Article on How Technology is Breathing Life in Our Lives !!!

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Does age affect doctors’ adoption of technology?

Does age affect doctors’ adoption of technology? | Social Media and Healthcare |

I love the dialogue happening today on Susannah Fox‘s blog, where a group of readers ponder whether there’s a generational divide in regards to physicians’ use of digital technology. The post is in part a response to a post from Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH, who argues that technology will lead to massive changes in health care only “when the under-40 generation takes control.”

One physician wrote to Fox that she felt “there was a divide, but it doesn’t seem to pattern itself on gender, or age, or comfort with technology.” She told a story of implementing a secure physician/ patient e-mail system and being surprised when some of the “young, online natives” – those she thought would full embrace the program – had issues with it.

Another reader agreed, saying he believed it’s “not just a technology and/or age issue but a mindset issue. I’ve encountered a number of MDs who are very authoritative in their interactions with patients. I believe new technologies – especially those with a significant social component – can be seen as a challenge to authority.”

And speaking of social, a pediatrician wondered about the connection between his patients and his social-media activities. He’s fairly active on Twitter, he said, but most of his followers are other doctors and those in health care. “The overwhelming majority of health-care is still done in a face-to-face setting and I feel it will continue to be so for a while to come,” he wrote. “So, how does what I do in the on-line world actually benefit my patients? Do they actually see what I do online as having benefit for them?”

A commenter named Erin expressed her desire for evidence on such patient benefits:

I believe that docs who engage with patients outside of the traditional clinical space are showing their willingness to collaborate and learn things together. If there was data to show some sort of relationship between [social media] doc usage and patient involvement/ adherence/compliance whatever, more clinicians might be willing to embrace the idea, regardless of age, seeing the value of its use.

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The Socio-Digital Doctor

The Socio-Digital Doctor | Social Media and Healthcare |

I come across many people using the terms social and digital interchangeably. Some doctors are digitally savvy. Yet that does not mean that they are practiced communications experts, or that they have the skills to make the most of today’s digital social tools. I thought this might be a good opportunity to open up this discussion.

As physicians, we were among the first professionals to adopt smartphones and iPads into our workflow – and healthcare leads the way in proliferating new, innovative apps. From diagnostics to practice management, healthcare technology is giving digital doctors the chance to make their workflow more productive and efficient.

However, while social media has become ubiquitous in countless professions, many digital doctors are only “social” when it comes to physician-to-physician social media. The real promise, in my opinion, is using digital technology to improve physician-to-patient communications.

Don’t get me wrong: Using social media to advance industry knowledge or to grow a professional network is very important. But the incredible scope of insights, knowledge, and understanding we can get from patients, patient support groups, and individuals who are seeking health information online is something we shouldn’t pass up.

There is also much more patients can learn from us, their trusted advisors. Being a social doctor means you are interested in collaborating, sharing information, and lending your expertise, be it clinical knowledge or your ability to facilitate patient-to-patient connections and even physician referrals. When we draw on not just social media but also other digital tools to do this, we start to translate what it means to be a doctor in the online world. We go socio-digital, if you will.

These are the challenges for the 21st century physician: Bringing what we do to where our patients increasingly are – online. How do you use digital tools for effective social communications with peers, and with patients?

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An Exploratory Infodemiology Study on Electronic Word of Mouth on #Twitter About Physical Activity in the US

An Exploratory Infodemiology Study on Electronic Word of Mouth on #Twitter About Physical Activity in the US | Social Media and Healthcare |

Twitter is a widely used social medium. However, its application in promoting health behaviors is understudied.

In order to provide insights into designing health marketing interventions to promote physical activity on Twitter, this exploratory infodemiology study applied both social cognitive theory and the path model of online word of mouth to examine the distribution of different electronic word of mouth (eWOM) characteristics among personal tweets about physical activity in the United States.

This study used 113 keywords to retrieve 1 million public tweets about physical activity in the United States posted between January 1 and March 31, 2011. A total of 30,000 tweets were randomly selected and sorted based on numbers generated by a random number generator. Two coders scanned the first 16,100 tweets and yielded 4672 (29.02%) tweets that they both agreed to be about physical activity and were from personal accounts. Finally, 1500 tweets were randomly selected from the 4672 tweets (32.11%) for further coding. After intercoder reliability scores reached satisfactory levels in the pilot coding (100 tweets separate from the final 1500 tweets), 2 coders coded 750 tweets each. Descriptive analyses, Mann-Whitney U tests, and Fisher exact tests were performed.

Results: Tweets about physical activity were dominated by neutral sentiments (1270/1500, 84.67%). Providing opinions or information regarding physical activity (1464/1500, 97.60%) and chatting about physical activity (1354/1500, 90.27%) were found to be popular on Twitter.

Approximately 60% (905/1500, 60.33%) of the tweets demonstrated users’ past or current participation in physical activity or intentions to participate in physical activity. However, social support about physical activity was provided in less than 10% of the tweets (135/1500, 9.00%). Users with fewer people following their tweets (followers) (P=.02) and with fewer accounts that they followed (followings) (P=.04) were more likely to talk positively about physical activity on Twitter.

People with more followers were more likely to post neutral tweets about physical activity (P=.04). People with more followings were more likely to forward tweets (P=.04). People with larger differences between number of followers and followings were more likely to mention companionship support for physical activity on Twitter (P=.04).

Conclusions: Future health marketing interventions promoting physical activity should segment Twitter users based on their number of followers, followings, and gaps between the number of followers and followings.

The innovative application of both marketing and public health theory to examine tweets about physical activity could be extended to other infodemiology or infoveillance studies on other health behaviors (eg, vaccinations).

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The value of sharing in the healthcare profession

The value of sharing in the healthcare profession | Social Media and Healthcare |

I’ve written previously about the growth in platforms allowing healthcare professionals to share information and insights.  Whilst there is evidence that doctors do value the opportunity to converse with other doctors about medical issues.

A study by John Hopkins University earlier this year shed some light on the extent of usage.  The study revealed that one in four American doctors are using social media on a daily basis.  They’re not using it for casual purposes though, but rather to scan or explore medical information, with another 14% contributing to the body of information already on social media.

Sixty-one percent of the doctors said they use social media once a week or more to look for information, and 46 percent said they contribute new information once a week or more, according to the study, which appeared recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

It’s in this context that the following TED talk was made.  It sees Stefan Larrson from the Boston Consulting Group talk about the importance of doctors performing their role in a collaborative way.  It’s no longer acceptable he says for the standard of care to differ so widely from hospital to hospital, and doctors should take the lead in ensuring that best practice approaches are shared amongst the profession.

Could health care get better — and cheaper — if doctors learn from each other in a continuous feedback loop?  With the cost of healthcare rising around the world, it’s a question well worth asking.  Enjoy the talk and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Survey Highlights Healthcare Professionals’ Use of Social Media, Mobile Technology

Survey Highlights Healthcare Professionals’ Use of Social Media, Mobile Technology | Social Media and Healthcare |

It’s a pretty good bet that many of the doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists in your organization have a smartphone and use it on a regular basis.

But what are they using it for? To connect with friends through social media? To search for healthcare information relevant to their jobs? To network with others in their profession? Yes, yes, and yes.

AMN Healthcare recently released the results of its 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals: Job Search and Career Trends. The results showed that healthcare professionals are constantly refining their use of social media, as well as their use of mobile technology.

According to the survey, three out of four healthcare professionals now use a smartphone, with a growing number using their smartphones to access healthcare-related content and job information.  In fact, the use of social media for job searching purposes has almost doubled since the first social media survey was conducted in 2010, and now reaches 41 percent.

The implications of social media’s role in the job search

Clinicians are becoming increasingly discerning about their job searches, based on this year’s healthcare social media survey. Overall, they are using fewer resources to look for employment than in previous years. The most frequently cited sources for job searches this year were direct contact, online job boards and referrals.

Many use social media as one of their job search avenues. They primarily use it to look at job postings, research companies, search for professional contacts or to network. As social media evolves, healthcare professionals will be able to use it in a more sophisticated way to aid them in a job search.

“Now candidates are moving beyond job searching,” said Ralph Henderson, president of healthcare staffing at AMN Healthcare. “You can use social media to find out what the culture and work environment is like before you apply.”

That means that healthcare organizations that utilize social media to attract job candidates will want to take a good look at their social media presence to make sure it fully reflects their organization. Just as healthcare organizations have a branding strategy that explains to the public what they stand for, they should also have a branding strategy for employees and for recruiting future employees.

“Companies need to make sure that their employer branding strategy comes across on their website, their mobile site and other social media,” said Henderson.

People want to see fresh content, Henderson noted, and they don’t want to get frustrated looking for what they need. If a potential job seeker views a health system’s LinkedIn page or Facebook page and can’t find useful, current information, they’re going to move on to a competitor. If organizations are using social media to recruit employees, they must have professionals who maintain those social media platforms to keep them updated and relevant.

“Reputation matters,” said Henderson. “If you’re not monitoring and managing your online reputation, you’re missing out on great candidates.”

The rise of LinkedIn

Another key finding from AMN’s 2013 healthcare social media survey is the growing preference that healthcare professionals have for LinkedIn.

The survey revealed that while Facebook was the first choice for a social media site for professional networking, LinkedIn has closed the gap.  In fact, when respondents were asked to choose just one general social media site to use for career purposes, they chose LinkedIn over Facebook, 58 percent to 24 percent.

Additionally, clinicians looking for jobs are spending more time on LinkedIn, while their average time spent job searching on Facebook has dropped. According to the survey, pharmacists and physicians have the highest use rate of LinkedIn, with respective means of 1.6 and 1.5 times per week.

Having a well-established LinkedIn profile is a good move for a job seeker, noted Roger Bonds, executive director of the American Academy of Medical Management. It shows that a person is technologically savvy, and it gives them a chance to show off their credentials and experience. It also gives a healthcare professional the chance to shape his or her own image online.

And employers can do the same, he added.

Physicians use social media less than other healthcare professionals

The survey also noted that physicians tend to rely on social media less than their colleagues in pharmacy and nursing. Just because a physician has a smartphone in the pocket of his white coat doesn’t mean he’s posting regular status updates to Facebook--or posting questions about medical issues and hoping for answers from colleagues. 

The survey found that 31 percent of physicians used social media for professional networking, a decline from 42 percent in 2011.

But that’s not too surprising, noted Harry Greenspun, MD, senior advisor for healthcare transformation and technology for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The average physician doesn’t always have extra time to spend networking on social media platforms. Additionally, the most popular forms of social media don’t facilitate the type of communication that a physician may want to have with other physicians, due to privacy and security concerns. A doctor can’t obviously post details about a patient, a colleague or situation at work on Facebook, said Greenspun.

“We need to find ways to make social media more accessible, to make it easier to exchange more private information,” he said.

There are some secure social media sites designed for physician use, such as Doximity and Sermo. These types of resources could grow, Greenspun said. Sermo claims to have 200,000 licensed physicians in their online community, while Doximity claims to have 220,000 active physician members. Twenty-one percent of the physicians surveyed in the AMN survey said they prefer those sites when asked to choose one healthcare-social media site.

The survey also found that only about 28 percent of physicians reported using social media for job searching.  By contrast, about 43 percent of nurses use social media for the same purpose.

Networking is still the way that many physicians tend to find new jobs, said Bonds. Recruiters and referrals are the top two sources cited by physicians in the AMN survey.

But social media could change that in the future.

“We think social media is going to grow much faster in the coming three years, and it will be as strong a way to source doctors as many of the other ways,” Bonds said. “Right now, it’s still an add-on with doctors. You don’t have to do it to find your doctors.”

Henderson agreed that fewer doctors are inclined to use social media for this type of purpose now, but that the use is still on the rise.

“You can’t ignore it,” he said.

About the 2013 Survey  

AMN Healthcare’s 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals: Job Search and Career Trends was conducted in the spring of 2013.  More than 87,000 nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and pharmacists were invited to participate, and results are based on 1,902 completed surveys. 

Other key findings:
•  Pharmacists are the most likely to use social media in a job search 
•  Physicians are the most likely to access the web with a mobile device.
•  44% of the registered nurses surveyed reported using social media for professional networking
•  More than half (51%) of RNs report using for job searches.
•  Of the 85% of healthcare professionals who said they use social media, 55% use it primarily for personal purposes, 19% for personal and professional reasons and 11% for professional reasons. 
•  20% of clinicians have opted to receive mobile job alerts, a doubling since 2010; RNs and allied health professionals are the most likely to choose this option.

Peter Wilkinson's curator insight, November 30, 2013 2:03 AM

oin us at ‘The social Media Business Club's Christmas special’ on 18 December in Piccadilly 


Here is the link for more info

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Healthcare Marketing Tips: How to Engage and Inspire Social Sharing

Healthcare Marketing Tips: How to Engage and Inspire Social Sharing | Social Media and Healthcare |

A curious challenge within the art of hospital and healthcare marketing is that large segments of your target audience simply don’t care. They don’t have an immediate need for your services or facility.

Individuals with a current or pressing medical need are one thing. But there’s always a significant slice of the people who are not in the market…at the moment. As the well-traveled axiom goes, the challenge is to engage consumers today for solutions they may need tomorrow.

For the sake of this list, let’s assume that your Internet marketing plan has all the fundamental tools—website, blog, social media accounts and the like—a specific plan, and someone who is responsible (and accountable) for regular updates.

Here are several tips and ideas to help create engagement, inspire action and encourage social sharing.

Interesting content. Material that rises to the level of “only adequate” isn’t going to attract or retain readers. Raise the bar on creative content, and if it isn’t truly relevant or interesting (or if you can’t find an interesting angle), don’t drive people away with boring information.

Know your audiences. That’s audiences, plural. You will have more than one, big, generic audience. Although there will be overlaps, drill down to the specifics of exactly who you are talking to, what is relevant to their needs and interests, why you want to reach them, what formats or media reach them best, and precisely what you want them to know.

Listen at least as much as you speak. Stay tuned into the conversation, comments and feedback that play into the “voice of the customer.” Support and extend topics and ideas that are of greatest interest among the audience (even if they are a surprise to you.)

Keep it fresh with frequent updates. Content gets stale faster than yesterday’s fish, and it’s just as welcome. New and updated content attracts attention, but visitors assume that slow-to-change material holds little or no value. (See “boring,” above.) What’s more, search engines also like regular updates and don’t like static pages.

Three useful categories…

Depending on your goals and the platform(s) that you are using, information that fuels engagement, inspires action and/or encourages social sharing can be organized under one or more of these broad headings.

  • Authoritative advice, direction and/or answers. Audiences appreciate “how-to” information that is practical, easy to do or follow, and convenient to share with others.
  • Surprising, unusual or little known info. Facts or data that register as unfamiliar to the reader make a mental impression, but they may require evidence or explanation for believability and acceptance. People are eager to share refreshingly different ideas.
  • Open-ended, provocative conversation extenders. This would include direct questions, surveys, calls to action, opinion solicitation, “What do you have to say about this?” entries, or“Who do you know that would appreciate having this?” directions.

Consider how any given factoid or bit of information might play out under each of these categories and use the approach that gives your info the greatest impact. Also, rotate your work among these approaches in order to give your content variety, and so you are not always giving advice or always asking a question.

Engagement is a continuing process that contributes to your branding and ongoing “top-of-mind” messaging. Tell us what we might be missing here. How do you engage your target audience or readers? We’d love to hear what you would add to this list.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s curator insight, December 18, 2013 12:55 AM
Websites, SEO, Digital marketing, Social Media Profile Management, and more managed by our expert team at Technical Doctor inc. Connect with us to see the possibilities, email at: - Technical Doctor Team
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Connecting with Social Media—The Doctor Will Tweet You Now

Connecting with Social Media—The Doctor Will Tweet You Now | Social Media and Healthcare |

As an ob-gyn and active user of social media, I enjoy being able to connect online with friends, family, and colleagues. Turns out, I’m in good company: Nearly all physicians in the US are now on social media, and more and more of us are using social for professional purposes.

Social media opens up an exciting new world for physicians and health professionals: Sharing important health messages with the community, promoting your practice and services, or communicating with colleagues via professional social networks, to name a few.  And the medium is great for relaying information quickly and easily: With the touch of your finger, you can relay a message or post an image about anything to a few people or the entire world, and we can truly make a difference with social media.

With the great possibilities and benefits of social media also comes caution for those of us in the medical community. Instantaneous access to information is great, except when it’s information that may be misinterpreted, misunderstood, or may contain inappropriate or unprofessional expressions or images. It can result in health professionals being seen as insensitive and unprofessional, and even more seriously, violate privacy law and HIPAA.

OK, but you’re thinking—I would never post anything inappropriate, and this doesn’t happen very often anyway, does it? Unfortunately, there are more and more online incidents like the above examples involving health professionals. A recent survey of state medical boards revealed some surprises about professional violations: About 92% reported at least one online violation that led to major actions such as license revocation, and the problems occurred across every age and demographic group.

The offending examples of what caused the problems may also surprise you. One ob-gyn was scrutinized for venting her frustrations online about patients’ tardiness.  A patient is suing an anesthesiologist who put stickers on her face, and the nurse shared it on social media. Posts such as these have caused strained relationships, public complaints, and led to disciplinary action from employers, medical boards, and judges.

As health professionals, we need to harness the power of social media while avoiding the issues and risks. To help make this possible, ACOG has developed a Social Media Guide, including some do’s and don’ts of posting. There’s also a short video that I produced with my colleagues from the ACOG Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council, which shows the type of behavior to avoid—including how humor online may be misconstrued and taken out of context.

Here are five of my essential tips to ensure social media professionalism for health professionals:

  1. Pause before you post.
  2. When in doubt, leave it out.
  3. Avoid posting pictures from your personal life that could be misunderstood when viewed in a professional context. This might include pictures involving alcohol (including alcoholic glasses, cups, or bottles); tobacco/smoking, being intoxicated or using other substances; or pictures of you or others in suggestive or provocative attire such as bathing suits.
  4. Avoid posting about specific situations related to your work or a patient, even if you’re not identifying anyone in particular.
  5. Remember that it’s easy for your personal life and professional life to blend together online, so avoid personal expressions of anger, grief or venting online.

What are your favorite tips on social media for health professionals? I believe that it’s our responsibility to help each other learn how to use social media to interact with our colleagues and patients. As the medical and technology fields continue to change rapidly, it’s important for health professionals to share critical medical knowledge that the public depends on to make sound medical decisions. We have an opportunity to provide medical facts and advice, and the public wants to hear from us.

Paulina Deik's curator insight, November 26, 2013 8:41 AM

Think before you Tweet.

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How Social Media can Help your Medical Practice Get More Clients

How Social Media can Help your Medical Practice Get More Clients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Most medical practice websites today rely on some form of social networking or social media marketing to help their company reach strategic goals. Social media websites do an excellent job at sorting their users into smaller networks. It makes your job of targeting them much easier with your message. This article will discuss the powerful concepts behind social media marketing.


You must first understand what a social media website is before you can truly utilize the features that it brings to the table. All social media sites require you to create a personal profile. You will use this profile as your business card when encountering the rest of the world. Sites like YouTube focus on user-published content and grouping users that find the same content relevant, engaging or entertaining.

Social media allows medical practices to spend less money on securing a place for their content or advertisement. They can put their saved money into producing quality advertisements instead. The networks and media will handle most of the marketing for you if it is a well-designed piece of content.

Social media has a variety of popular sites and strategies. It is best to choose social media sites that have a substantial user-base. Each different site will have its own strengths, features, and audiences that you can utilize. Start by listing the different sites used most often and finding out if your clients use them.

As long as you can produce excellent content, you can easily incorporate social media into your medical marketing strategies. It may begin as simple as a bookmark, favicon, or embedded video, but it will get your practice exposed to the public. The traffic will begin following close behind. The further your video spirals through your client’s friends list, emails, and social networks that you target, the more people will become exposed to its content.

If your media catches on once, don’t let it stop. You should post your content on a regular schedule. When your posts catch on over a period of time, potential clients will want to know when they can expect your content. When certain content makes noticeable changes on your practice, find out what the clients liked or disliked about the content. Alter your strategy when it doesn’t work.

There are many potential clients looking for answers. Apply the tips above and return with the content that answers their needs.

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Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine

Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine | Social Media and Healthcare |

Dr Joe-Anthony Rotella, in a letter to the editor in the latest Early View issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia, the journal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, describes his investigation into the use of Twitter by individuals or organisations involved in clinical toxicology and poison control. 

With Dr Anselm Wong and Dr Shaun Greene, all from the Victorian Poisons Information Centre in the Emergency Department of Austin Health, Dr Rotella conducted an audit of Twitter in August 2013. 

Using the in-built search engine, with "poison", "poison control", and "toxicology" as search keywords, the audit yielded a sample of 51 relevant accounts with an average of 1,084 followers. 

Nearly 34 were organisations (including @Erowid, a user reporting and harm minimisation website for recreational drug use), of which 20 were poison control center accounts. 

17 were individual clinicians working in the field of clinical toxicology and/or poison control. 

Of those accounts, 38 accounts had sent out a tweet relating to toxicology in the past 90 days: 1418 were tweets with information relating to diagnosis, management, investigation or conferences; 1042 contained links to articles via journals, PubMed or other websites; 10 were photos of relevant material; and 8 were links to videos. 

Also observed were a number of hashtags, such as #FOAMtox, which provided another means for users to discuss matters relating to clinical toxicology. 

"Emergency medicine clinicians can use Twitter as a means to further enhance their knowledge and obtain up-to-date information on toxicology," Dr Rotella said. 

"Social media also offers a means for similarly interested individuals to connect across the world," he said. 

"Whilst informative, as with all medical literature, the same process for critical appraisal should be applied to information obtained from Twitter." 

Twitter has been previously reported as a rapid means of disseminating medical information, specifically the H1N1 epidemic.

Read more: Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine | Medindia

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Medical Imaging Software enables sharing to social media

Medical Imaging Software enables sharing to social media | Social Media and Healthcare |
Anonymizing selected CT, MRI, and X-Ray images, Medical Image Sharing Module allows users to share images to social-media platforms from reading workstations or dedicated viewing apps. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow shared images to be uploaded to private healthcare and hospital social media groups in secure and HIPAA-compliant manner. Security-focused module incorporates preview mode to validate that images are anonymized before being posted. 

Paxeramed, a leading medical imaging solution developer based in Boston, MA has launched the industry's first medical imaging sharing module to social media.

The image sharing module anonymizes selected CT, MRI and X-Ray images and allows users to share it to social-media platforms from their reading workstations or dedicated viewing apps. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow the shared images to be uploaded to private healthcare and hospital social media groups in a secure and HIPAA compliant manner.

"Paxeramed image sharing module allows radiologists to share images to social media for second opinion or interactive teaching purposes. Patients can also post their medical images from their patient healthcare portal (PHR) via Paxera image sharing module," Dr. Shoura, Managing Director of Paxeramed said.

"The tool grants easy access for radiologists to share anonymized images and allows users to interact with peers, referring physicians and students for a more proactive and meaningful experience. By utilizing a powerful resource like Facebook, we empower the radiology community to access millions of medical images on the Facebook network. Radiologists can instantly learn peers' feedback by consulting an image through social media's likes, shares and comments" Dr. Shoura added.

The security-focused module incorporates a preview mode to validate that images are anonymized before being posted. The tool delivers enterprise-grade security control through enabling or disabling the feature based on administrator-configured retention policy.

The tool is 510(k) cleared and is set to be a breakthrough in leveraging radiology training and lifelong teaching.
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Social Media Marketing for Doctors

Social Media Marketing for Doctors | Social Media and Healthcare |

The Internet is a gathering place for information, services, and products. Everyone is taking advantage of social media websites to help promote and sell products. Physicians and other healthcare industry employees can utilize social media to market their services as well. They can also keep in close contact with patients while they are not in the office. Here is some information about how many medical professionals are taking advantage of the marketplace that has been created on social media websites.

Understanding the Average Patient

To understand how medical professionals are using social media websites, you need to understand  the average patient that they see today. A large number of people, long before they ever think about going to a doctor, look up information on how to treat or what they can do to treat their ailments on the internet. They find an answer that will subdue them for the time being and return to their daily lives. If the problem gets worse or does not go away, they will then search out the help of a doctor.

SEO Strategy and Digital Marketing for Medical Professionals

The first thing that this tells you is that Search Engine Optimization for doctors and healthcare professionals, is handled much differently than other industries. The custom content that gets developed with SEO keywords in mind will have to do with the diseases or issues of a patient. Put yourself in the shoes of a chiropractor. When deciding on what custom content and keywords that will work best for your site, you must think about what someone that was suffering from something you treat would ask a search engine. So keywords and content will focus on something like” how to crack your back”, “what causes back pain”, or “how to stop back pain”.

Another Useful Tool

There are much better resources available to medical professionals that can help bring even more quality traffic to your website. By connecting with users and current patients on social media websites, you can build an reputation for yourself and attract a few of the million social network users that log on every day. Something like this is time consuming and takes a lot of dedication. To get the best results, contact adigital marketing firm and discuss with they can do for you.

Social Media Marketing

As the popularity of social media sites grows, so does the popularity of healthcare professionals using the services to advertise. By having someone posting original content to a social media site on a daily basis, you can hopefully attract some customers. If the SEO professional that you hired  is really doing his job, then your would have fresh  and relevant custom content posted on a daily basis that linked back to your website.

The Next Step

Once you have built a website full of custom content rich in keywords, have brought your brand to the world through social media sites, and began to spend time in the online community talking to prospective clients about the things that are bothering them, you should start to see some results from your hard work.

Building and Online Review Strategy

Once you have made an effort to be a member of the social community and start connecting with some of your old clients, you should ask them to leave you a review on your website. If you do not have somewhere that visitors to your site can leave reviews and discuss information, make sure that you do it. You should also print the web address to your site’s little online community on your business card and ask every client you see to leave reviews. Reviews are a powerful tool that can drive sales remarkably. Even though visitors to your website do not know who is posting at all, they trust their advice. This is just another thing that proves just how powerful word of mouth advertisement is.

As a medical professional, there are many things you can do online to boost your sales. By creating custom content with key phrases that are relevant to what a medical patience would ask, visitors will come to your site to find information and find themselves a doctor instead. By connecting with your clients on social media websites, you can build an online branding that people are talking about and offers informative and interesting custom content to the world that draws visitors from Google. Finally, by having a review section on your website and your social media site, customers will be more likely to trust you and your work.

Social Jeanie's curator insight, December 4, 2013 12:34 PM

So very true. Online is the new word of mouth advertising.

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Social MD: The Many Benefits of Social Media

Social MD: The Many Benefits of Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Using social media to interact with patients will certainly drive traffic to your site, but have you ever thought about how social media can help your patients?

Here are a few examples of ways 
doctors and hospitals can use social media to engage, inspire and even motivate patients.

  • Engage: Mayo Clinic engaged a number of patients in a groundbreaking research project regarding the rare heart disease spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). Because of the rarity of the disease research in large numbers was difficult until the doctors used social media as a way to contact and connect with diagnosed and potential sufferers—culling the largest study to date for SCAD.
  • Inspire: Boston’s Children’s Hospital has an active Facebook page that is, in and of itself, inspiring. With regular posts that call out the hospital’s accomplishments, highlights donation opportunities and even shares success stories of former patients (with their consent) .
  • Motivate: Use your social media page or newsfeed to motivate patients to make, or keep appointments, disseminate information or send messages of positive reinforcement.  One doctor, a bariatric surgeon, uses his Facebook page and Twitter feed to send out messages like “you’re closer today than you were yesterday to your goal weight, keep up the good work!”

No matter what your message is, social media is a great way to keep your practice fresh in your patient’s consciousness or at the very least in their newsfeed.

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How can physicians use social media to their benefit?

How can physicians use social media to their benefit? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has become the new medium where people from all walks of life are interacting and sharing their experiences. Be it on the micro-blogging website, Twitter, or the more interactive and engaging Facebook or even the video-sharing portal YouTube, there is hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of data being shared across some of the most famous social media platforms every day.

Healthcare industry has largely benefited from the advent of social media. Physicians, hospitals, healthcare centers, specialists and professionals are using the platform to connect and share knowledge-base in order to improve the health of an average American. As per an estimate, nearly 44% of US adults are using social media platforms to research about their illnesses and seek answers for their issues.

Let me share a few tips for aspiring physicians who have not joined the social media bandwagon as yet.

  1. Join LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the biggest professional networking platform. It helps you connect, share and receive updates from not only healthcare providers, but also from industry leaders and professionals. Join as many groups related to healthcare industry as possible and it will serve as a great source of news every day.
  2. Follow hashtags on Twitter: Look for specific hashtags related to a practice or medical topic and start following it regularly to receive updates from everyone present on the network. It can serve as a great source through which up-to-date information can be shared or discussed.
  3. Related videos on YouTube: A picture speaks a thousand words. A video? Maybe a million. Videos are a great source of learning for anyone. Look for videos related to the industry and any particular specialty that is of concern. Many EHR vendors are promoting their videos on the network in order to educate the physicians and help them understand the industry better. One such vendor is CureMD. Click here to find out more about the product on YouTube.

In addition to these, there are many other social media platforms which a physician can use to enrich his understanding on a subject and remain updated with industry trends. Social media is the future of communication for sure and physicians who are not familiar with the trend might be left behind.

- See more at:

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Social media “likes” healthcare

Social media “likes” healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has invaded health care from at least three fronts: innovative startups, patient communities and medical centers. The Health 2.0 movement has nurtured dozens of startups with creative concepts to revolutionize health care: tools from vertical search and social networks to health content aggregators and wellness tools.

Patient communities are flourishing in an environment rich with social networks, both through mainline social communities and condition-specific communities. Meanwhile, hospitals and academic medical centers are diving into the social media mix with more than 300 YouTube channels and 500 Twitter accounts. Hospitals are moving from experimentation (Twittering from the OR to Flipcam videos) to strategic use of social media to enhance brand loyalty and recruit new patients. They are taking on monitoring and monetization of social media.

At the same time, health care organizations find challenges in adopting social media. Hospitals and medical practices are risk adverse and generally cautious about new technology trends without clear value. There are questions about whether social media use by hospital employees is a waste of time, or even worse, or leaking proprietary information. Hospital IT departments are concerned about security risks, such as the use of, which can mask malicious Web sites. Privacy concerns, particularly the vulnerability of social media accounts, are also cited as a reason to avoid social media.

Current Trends in Social Media

Current trends to watch in social media in health care include:

Managing a conversation;
Engaging e-patients;
Convergence with personal health records; and
Social media for providers.

An important distinction in this two-way conversation is between medical advice and medical information. Hospitals and providers need to walk a fine line between giving specific medical advice in the relatively public forums of social media and providing more generalized medical information.

At the same time, there are ways to create a conversation with health care consumers. Sites like have provided this kind of information using medical experts to answer patient-submitted questions in general terms. For instance, promoting wellness is a win-win; medical information relevant to many is provided without specific medical advice for a patient’s medical condition.

The rise of e-Patients creates many opportunities for engagement. E-Patients are defined as those “who are equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged in their health and health care decisions.” E-patients can provide feedback not only on improving hospital Web sites but also as participants in quality improvement within the health system.

PHRs and Online Communities

As the similarities between online patient communities  and PHRs begins to blur, will PHR information from providers be shared with online communities with the appropriate privacy settings so that the user can decide what to share?

Recording one’s medical condition online and abandoning privacy are part of the “Quantified Self” movement.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Project Health Design uses the concept of “Observations of Daily Living,” which extends the quantified self to behavioral self-observations. The next step in quantified self is self-monitoring, also known as home monitoring and telemedicine. Being quantified in terms of one’s weight, blood pressure or blood glucose provides another way of self-monitoring and participatory medicine.

Some are predicting that in the near future, multiple monitoring devices will be phased out to give way to connections with smart phones that will record and transmit medical monitoring data directly to a PHR. Innovators, such as Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault, as well as edgy startups, will provide the conduit from smart phones to the cloud.

Social Media for Providers

Finally, a relatively untapped resource is the use of social media among medical professionals. If anything, there have been negative stories about abuses and misuses of social media by health professionals and questions about the ethics of connecting with patients online.

Currently, few health care professionals see the value in social networking with other physicians, or they are not convinced that the benefits are worth the time. Although well over 90% of physicians use the Internet for continuing education, medical reference and e-mail with colleagues and a majority of doctors have a smart phone, taking the leap into online communities is less common.

Perhaps current business models dependent on financial incentives and industry sponsorship in exchange for private data have not engaged physicians. Could a different model that provides privacy and collaboration in the context of a community of similar interests demonstrate value and promote adoption?

Future Evolution of Social Media

Social media is here to stay in health care, but it will evolve quickly. Patient engagement will continue to characterize this change. Organizations will use social media tactically within their overall marketing and communications efforts — videos and mobile technology will likely dominate these approaches.

Online patient communities will expand and will become a rich source of information for others. Physicians and other health care providers will discover social media, which will have the potential of progressing medical research.

There may be regular news reports of privacy violations, dangerous misinformation and fraud promoted via social media, but these reports are not likely to stop a wave of innovation and conversation.

Tina M Carrington's curator insight, June 17, 2015 1:54 PM

I see the innovative startups, patient communities and medical centers are only the beginning of the media invasion of healthcare.  Privacy violations have been happening long before this invasion, so steps need to be taken to ensure patient protection.  

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