Use of Social Media in Healthcare

Trendspotting with Kristen Smithwick

There’s been plenty of talk in recent months about the impact of social media on the future of healthcare. Many stakeholders are carving out their own space within the social media sphere, with customized strategies that fit their respective ambitions and external pressures, such as regulatory guidelines.

Biopharmaceutical companies are beginning to craft social media strategies and experiment with different activities; the FDA is reviewing potential social media guidelines; and medical professionals are individually using social media in a variety of ways. A recent article in MedAd News says that “according to Manhattan Research, 89 million American adults used social media for health in 2010”. That’s a staggering figure –nearly 30% of the American population used social media sites to discuss health-related issues. Evidence that the use of social media in healthcare is here to stay has even hit pop culture, when last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy featured Dr. Bailey tweeting her surgery play-by-play. Upon seeing how much visibility his department could attain within the medical community, even Chief Webber jumped on board!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/212786/greys-anatomy-dr-bailey-tweets-her-surgeries

At Thought Leader Select, we’re also examining how to better understand the ways that thought leaders in the medical community use social media. In our quest to stay on top of the trends among medical experts, we’d like to ask you, our readers, for  your input. Which kinds of social media venues do you trust most for health-related information? Formal physician-to-physician sites (like Sermo), independent physician-authored blogs, Twitter updates by medical professionals themselves, Facebook pages, or something totally different?

•What types of healthcare conversations are best suited for social media outlets?

•How widespread do you think the use of social media in healthcare will be by the end of the year?

•What are the pitfalls of discussing health-related issues via social media avenues?

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