Great piece in ‘Orthopaedics Today’: Social media: Orthopedists discuss its role as surgeon’s friend, foe or both. The article is a discussion between a number of orhtopedists re potential positives and negatives of social networking.
A number of interesting points are made in the article:
Social media are here to stay (more than 1bn people using them). And healthcare/ health treatments are a big topic on social media. So it ain’t going away.
The doctors see merit in use of social media between themselves on one level and also in engaging with patients – on another level. At one level there appear to be real concerns about participating in any network which is not restricted to fellow professionals. At another level there is a recognition of the need to communicate with the public – and some potential benefits e.g. patients being better informed, being more aware of professionals, etc.
There are obviously a number of serious concerns about potential legal liability, confidentiality and, on a practical level, the potential loss of time while participating in social media.
Reading all of this – as a non medic, but a consumer of medical services – it seems to me too defensive/ negative. There is huge potential for much more collaboration between doctors and patients – many patients are more than willing to invest significant time and effort in researching their own condition, recording symptoms over a period of time (See sites such as patientslikeme. I expect the patient/ doctor interaction will change significantly over the next number of years – enabling doctors to provide improved and more personalised services to patients.