Why Doctors Should Be On Social Media

| February 15, 2016

Docs on Social Media

To stay updated, interact with patients and become recognizable, some of the benefits of social media

“I no longer have to sift through piles of journals to pull out articles of interest – social media delivers the relevant content to me,” states Doctor Deanna Attai (@DrAttai), breast cancer expert surgeon at UCLA Health and President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons. Dr Attai is one of the thousands of doctors around the world who use social media to stay updated, share information and interact with patients-and particularly Twitter, the network of choice by most health professionals. With nearly 11 thousand followers, she is one of the #BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media) chat moderators that take place every Monday (9pm ET). “Patients are thirsty for good credible information, as well as guidance and support. Many patients seem to appreciate having a physician in the online space. Interacting with patients online also gives me the opportunity to correct myths and misconceptions in real time,” explained Dr Attai in an email interview with Mobile Health Global.

And the fact is that, in a digital world in which society-and particularly patients-are so present, doctors cannot be missing. For many doctors the use of social media has become another of their professional tasks. Despite the fact that staying active in social media is rather time-consuming, its many advantages are worth it.

Doctor Miguel Perales (@DrMiguelPerales), oncologist specialist in hematology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering of New York, a world-renowned cancer treatment and research institution, is also active on Twitter and has more than 3 thousand followers. Director of the Digital Education group at The American Society of Hematology (ASH), he has promoted the use of social networks in the research teams he collaborates with. According to Dr Perales, Twitter has become another one of his professional day-to-day tasks.  “For Twitter, there are several advantages including: open access, brevity of the messages, ability to add links and images, the ability to use hashtags, and the fact that many MDs now use the platform. I do not use Facebook as I consider that a platform sued more for personal use.”

Dr Perales also uses social media to interact with patients, but he never answers specific questions: “Since it’s an open forum, I make sure to not provide medical advice and discourage patients from sharing [their] medical information.” He has co-written the article Social Media and the Practicing Hematologist: Twitter 101 for the Busy Healthcare Provider, where he explains how social media is changing the way in which health professionals interact with patients and the general population.


Category: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.