It is obvious today that the ways in which we communicate are evolving. There is a far greater social element in the way we search for and share information, and this extends to medical information as well – but the temptation of ‘googling’ the vast array of official and unofficial healthcare websites leads to mixed outcomes, and can cause undue concern and distress.
So the question is, why do patients prefer to trawl through various internet sources, rather than speak directly to their physician? And what can be done to bridge this gap?
Some argue that physicians should actively seek out ways to interact more with patients, and that harnessing the popularity of social media can help to foster a more open patient-physician relationship.Farris Timimi a Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media, has been leading the way in how this can be done. In a recent article in BMC Medicine, he comments on how social media can be used as a powerful tool of communication between patients and physicians.
He also points out that in fact, physicians are morally obligated to do so. Dr Timimi explains that physicians are trained to respond to the needs of the patient, and the patient-physician relationship can be vastly improved if physicians ensure they adapt to how social media has changed the way people communicate.If patients are using Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms then physicians should be available there as well to ensure they can respond.
We’re interestedin your views on this topic and so BMC Medicine will be hosting a 1 hour Twitter chat on Monday August 6 at 1pm UK time (7am CST), with Farris Timimi (@FarrisTimimi) and Lee Aase (@LeeAase) Director of Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. The Twitter Chat will be moderated from the @BMCMedicine account.
The questions we’re going to discuss during this session include:
- How have you seen social media being used constructively in health care?
- How do you think social media can bridge the gap between patients and physicians?
- How do you see this evolving?
- Do physicians have a moral obligation to use social media to interact with the generalpublic?
Please join us to share your views on this topic, and use the hashtag #bmcmed in all tweets. If your question or comment is directed at a specific individual, include their @name at the start of your tweet.
We look forward to your participation! A transcript of the Twitter Chat will be published at Storify soon after the session.