Arizona Telemedicine Blog Book - Page 8

Impact of Social Media in Healthcare and Telemedicine B y Yv o n ne Pr i c e o n November 20, 2014 Social media and health care Did you know that there are more than 75,000 health care professionals on Twitter? That 41 percent of consumers are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums to select health care providers? Or that social media can help track the spread of fast-moving illnesses like influenza? When you think of social media in health care, you might think it’s all about marketing. But experts agree, it goes beyond that. Farris Timimi, medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, said that social media in health care is a “moral obligation.” “Our patients are there. Our moral obligation is to meet them where they’re at and give them the information they need so they can seek recovery,” Timimi said. “This is not marketing; this is the right thing to do.” If it’s the right thing to do for doctors, nurses and other health care providers, then it makes sense for telemedicine providers too. After all, telemedicine is all about the innovative use of communication technology to improve patient care. Consumers and Providers Pretty much everyone agrees that patients and consumers were first to the table. They were using social media for health research, sharing and decisions before health care professionals finally arrived and joined the conversation. With a reported one third of consumers looking to social media for medical information, it seems like a pretty good place for providers of all sorts to be 8 sharing that info. And now they are, in ever increasing numbers. In March 2014, Creation Pinpoint published a video analysis of the growth of worldwide health care professionals on Twitter between 2006-2014. This very cool interactive video allows you zoom in on any place in the world and drag the timeline back and forth to see the growth explode before your eyes. Data, Data, Data When it comes to analyzing the data to find out exactly what health care professionals are doing on social media, it’s not easy. In Greg Matthews’ article, Physician use of Twitter: Examining the data, he points to a study by Dr. Katherine Chretien as the first of its kind to really dig into the meat of what physicians are actually doing and saying on Twitter. Not surprisingly, there is no equivalent