This is an interesting topic because you can look at it from a number of different ways. Do you want to be friends with your doctor on Facebook, or do you just want him/her to see what the community thinks? To what extent should they be using social media for?
I currently go to Mount Sinai in NYC to see my GI doctor. In the past couple of years they have started using a system called MyChart. It is a system where you can have access to your charts and labs but also, and this is the part I love, you can send a message to your doctor and have him/her respond back. I have used this a number of times and it is definitely faster than email. Yes, it isn’t social media, but it is a first step.
So what is social media. Those words get thrown around a lot, but do you know what it is? Wikipedia describes it as the following:
“Social media employ web- and mobile-based technologies to support interactive dialogue and “introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.” Social media are social software which mediate human communication. When the technologies are in place, social media is ubiquitously accessible, and enabled by scalable communication techniques. In the year 2012, social media became one of the most powerful sources for news updates through platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.”
Now, should your doctor be accessable on sites like Twitter and Facebook? Remember your doctor is spending a lot of time treating patients in their practice and then probably spend time in the hospital seeing patients or doing procedures. Do you want them to spend less time with patients so they can tweet “Going to stick a scope up a bum..Wow..What a view”? Personally, I don’t mind that I can’t chat with my doctors in chat rooms. It means that they are working and I like that. We shouldn’t be pals or friends with them. The relationship should be kept professional.
Now, what about the practice themselves like a hospital or lab or even your doc’s private practice. Now a days, businesses have Twitter and Facebook accounts to help drive business. I am not against this. It would be nice to be able to get information from these sites instead of trying to call. I remember a couple of years back when I was getting Remicade infusions. There was a big storm the night before and I didn’t know if anyone would be there to administer the medicine. It turns out there wasn’t. I had to rely on the phone though to get this info and getting through was not easy. It would have been nice to just log on to Twitter and see a tweet..”Big storm, nurses snowed in, no infusions today..please reschedule” Not only would this save time in contacting everyone but I would know not to bother trying to get in.
I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this topic. I am sure there will be a big debate on this. Please leave a comment and let’s get the discussion rolling.
I think I definitely agree with you on a lot of it. It would definitely help a lot if the practice and lab, etc had something to check so you could see if they are running on time or majorly behind, no one likes sitting in the waiting room or the exam room for an hr if he’s running behind, that is our precious time as well. But the doctor patient relationship should always be kept professional and there if definitely a chance for it to be ruined if you were a personal twitter follower and such. I wish my practice had that program you’ve got, it would help me a lot, I hate the back and forth between us and the nurses who then have to go to the doctor and then come back to us and realize they understood us wrong and then have to go back, never ending cycle would hopefully be broken.
Robin, you should ask your doctor about getting a system like MyChart, or have him talk to someone in the practice. I am sure it is something they can afford. They just might not know about such programs. Also, it never hurts to ask…worst case, they say no.