A 2011 PWC Health Research Institute Customer Survey found that 32% of people surveyed used Social Media for healthcare purposes. Facebook and YouTube were at the top of the list with blogs, Google Plus and Twitter following close behind.
Many clinics and hospitals have a Facebook page, mostly for marketing purposes, and there are plenty of Doctors who have great blogs out there, but I want to share some examples of other medical uses of Social Media.
Getting a lecture on healthy living from your Doctor while you’re sitting in the exam room is like getting a Hallmark card, it’s really moving for about ten minutes. But Dr. Mike Evans’s You Tube visual lecture 23 and 1/2 Hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? packs a lot of information into an engaging video that can be watched over and over.
Social Media is speeding up the e-patient movement that the Internet started years ago. E-Patient Dave, author of Laugh, Sing and Eat Like a Pig, is one of the leading voices in patient empowerment.
e-Patients are equipped, enabled, empowered, and engaged in their care. They form empowered care partnerships with enlightened clinicians, sharing the load as well as the steering wheel. And they connect with each other, sharing knowledge and experiences in ways that were never before possible.
His blog is a plethora of links, articles and advice to empower patients, providers and promote participatory medicine.
Caring Bridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends. They’ve been around since 1997 and can now be found on Facebook, you Tube and Twitter. This is probably the best known tool for using Social Media to provide easy access to support for families in medical crisis. There are also support blogs for people dealing with any number of chronic diseases where patient can ask questions, offer advice and get support.
There are tons of great videos on YouTube showing exactly how treatments and procedures work to effect the body. Ammera -Advanced Medical Visualization has a YouTube channel with 64 different procedures clearly animated and explained. A simple search in YouTube will bring up footage of almost any surgery or treatment. This is a great way to help prepare patients for upcoming procedures.
Spend a little time finding the videos, blogs and online support groups that address your specialty area. Add links to your own web page or simple have a hand out ready to point your patients in the direction of the web tools that are out there to help them heal.