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Tips For Physicians Who Want To Get Involved In Social Media

My old friend and mentor, Ves Dimov, MD at Clinical Cases and Images shared some great instructions about how to start using social media as medical professionals.

– Start on Twitter, expand to a blog as natural progression.

– Input your blog posts automatically to a Facebook like/fan page.

– Listen to the leading physicians, nurses and patients’ voices on Twitter, and reply.

– Comment on blogs.

– Do not be afraid to share your expertise.

– Comply with HIPAA and common sense.

Also here is what Ves thinks about using Twitter.

I have published a series of similar entries on my Medicine 2.0 page.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

A New Way To “Blow Up” Twitter: Tweet Fit App Tweets For You While You Exercise

Tweet_Fit is an amazing idea that is similar in nature to Kickbee. Here are the details:

Developed by a UK design student, the connected gym accessory attaches to the end of a standard dumbbell and sends updates to your Twitter account when you start and stop your workout. Take it offline and it guides you through the perfect curl. Tweet_Fit’s designer points out that it offers a novel way for trainers to keep track of their clients, and can be used to spur healthy competition between friends.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Why You Should Use Twitter: Instant Medical Crowdsourcing

I’ve been building a medical community on Twitter for years and now I have about 6000 followers including doctors, medical students, patients, medical librarians, scientists, etc. Whenever I have a question about my profession, PhD, or social media, generally I receive a valid and relevant answer in minutes. I don’t always know who might have the answer for my questions, that’s why it can be beneficial to put that into a large pot full of people with similar interests and wait for the answer. There is always someone with an answer or there is always someone in the communities of my community who might have the final solution.

That’s why I use Twitter for everyday communication, even though my main platform is my still blog.

It’s an honor to be included in the world’s top 10 medical Twitter users’ list. Last year, I was selected by The Independent and later my Twitter story was mentioned in the New York Times. Although, I publish the core content of my activities on my blog instead of Twitter, but now that is the place to track interesting medical stories. According to Peer Index, I’m the 6th in a list of 1000 medical Twitterers. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Female Surgeon Propositioned By Patient Via Facebook

There is an interesting article in E-Health Europe about how patients try to contact doctors on Facebook, the popular social networking site, and how doctors shouldn’t respond to them. In my “Medicine and Web 2.0” university credit course, we cover this important issue several times and I try to provide students with useful pieces of advice about how to avoid such problems.

The Medical Defence Union said it was aware of a number of cases where patients have attempted to proposition doctors by sending them an unsolicited message on Facebook or similar sites.

The medical defence body said it would be “wholly inappropriate” to respond to a patient making an advance in such a way. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Clay Shirky: Physicians And Patients Need To Fuse Their Online Conversations

New Media guru Clay Shirky was the keynote speaker at the Management of Change conference in Norfolk, Virginia. His recent book, Here Comes Everybody, is considered a must-read by most web 2.0 enthusiasts. Clay and I escaped the conference for a tête-á-tête at a local Starbucks where we wrestled with the thorny issues of healthcare and crowd sourcing.

Dr. Val: I’ve noticed that there is a difference between being right and being influential. Doctors are having a hard time adjusting their tone to be more compelling in a social media culture. What do you think physicians can do to be more influential online?

Shirky: The problem is that, since we all die eventually, everyone will be unhappy with their healthcare at some point. This creates a social dilemma that’s neither transitory nor small. First, there will always be snake oil salesmen peddling “eternal life,” and second, there will always be an unhappy faction who rail against the medical establishment. You should not try to stamp out that faction, but referee it. Federalist Papers No. 10 states that faction is the normal case of government – the trick is not to allow factions to gain disproportionate power. Physicians need to realize that patients have different priorities than they do, and speak to those as much as possible.

Dr. Val: What do you mean that we have different priorities?

Shirky: Take Medpedia for example – physicians are eager to write about rare types of liver cancer, but they don’t want to write about the basics of biopsy technique. For the physician, it’s perfectly obvious what a liver biopsy entails, so he/she doesn’t think to write about it. But the patient is probably more interested in learning about biopsy procedure than the scientific details of a rare liver cancer. The entries in Medpedia strongly reflect physician interests and priorities, though the resource is ultimately supposed to serve the educational needs of patients.

Dr. Val: What’s the best way to close that gap in priorities?

Shirky: We need to fuse the conversation between physicians and patients. The more they work together, the more valuable the content will be.

Dr. Val: What do you think about the trend towards “user-generated healthcare?”

Shirky: It’s important to have checks and balances. When lay people discuss medicine, their unguided conversation can degenerate into vitamin hucksterism. I think that whole movement was initiated when the FDA decided not to regulate the supplement industry – people have been used to getting input from others who aren’t scientifically qualified. Now everyone gives medical advice, and people listen.

Social media is a very new phenomenon. We have not figured out how to apply good checks and balances yet – amateurs’ opinions and voices can drown out the experts. We want to believe that everyone’s opinion is equally valid – but that’s just not the case. In the end, quality and clarity of messaging is a source of power.

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Latest Book Reviews

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