How social media can enhance your practice

July 1, 2012

Social media is opening up what you can do with your practice.

Key Points

Social media, defined as various forms of online and mobile electronic communication with user generated content, is having a transformative impact on society and the way we communicate on a daily basis. No traditional medium would omit mention of its current blog, Twitter handle, or Facebook page. Social media is the common tool that allows viral communication ranging from the minutiae of a celebrity's daily routine to a rallying cry for political revolution in the Middle East.1

Social media, however, has not been as rapidly embraced and integrated in the medical community.5 Although many healthcare providers have social media accounts for personal use, that does not necessarily translate into professional applications.6 Lack of use may be due to barriers such as liability and patient privacy issues. Even though healthcare applications are not as robust as those in other fields, there are growing examples of the use of social media in healthcare, including health information and support, healthcare communication (physician-patient and patient-patient), public health improvement (and surveillance), patient care, and marketing.