3 ways doctors can use social media today

A continuing series on physician online reputation.  Created in partnership with The Doctors Company as part of their social media resources for physicians

Let’s talk about three ways that physicians can use social media today.

The first way is to filter information. More patients than ever are going online to research their diagnosis and treatment options but sometimes the information that they’re reading online isn’t always the most reliable. Social media gives doctors a platform where they can share reliable health information or guide patients to better health websites.

A second way that doctors can use social media is by connecting with their colleagues so they can learn from them. Did you know that there are over 20 million articles on Medline and the volume of medical literature grows by 10 percent every year. In the given year there are 24,000 new cancer articles which averages to about 62 new manuscripts every single day. It’s very difficult to keep up with all that information.

One way is with social media like Twitter because on Twitter you can follow thought leaders in any area of medicine and health care. You could listen to what they have to say, you can read the articles that they share. I have a Twitter list that have 40 health care thought leaders that I follow dozens of times a day. I listen to what they have to say, I read what these thought leaders share. To me it’s one of the most powerful ways to stay up to date in any area of medicine and health care.

A third way that physicians can use social media is by using it as a platform to make their voices heard. We live in an era of health care reform but a lot to the decisions are being made by policy makers and politicians with little clinical training. It’s important for physicians to make their voices heard, to share their story so we can have an influence on our evolving health care world around us.

Those are three ways that doctors can use social media today.

Kevin Pho is an internal medicine physician and co-author of Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices. He is on the editorial board of contributors, USA Today, and is founder and editor, KevinMD.com, also on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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