Practicing medicine in this “digital age” is quite an exciting prospect. Social media has transformed the way we communicate with each other. It has also made information easily available and has educated people a lot. Information is easily available and people are now more aware and educated about various situations. Medical practitioners are evolving and they are keen to adapt new technologies. This constant evolution has led to new therapies being implemented and new diagnostic tools being used. In fact, it is vital for physicians to embrace new technologies; especially if it aids in providing better care.
Nowadays patients too are active on social media where they try and find out information about various ailments. They do not hesitate in chronicling their illness journeys via blogs, discussion forums and so on. Hence, the interest to be in touch with the providers via social media is evident. Patients in fact would appreciate if their providers would use social media for setting up appointments and reminders, give out test results, share health related information and answer general questions.
Impact of Social Media on Healthcare
It goes without saying that social media has a lot of impact on healthcare. People try and get in touch with people with similar ailments and try and learn from their experience. They compare their situation with others and try to find out steps to improve their condition. They get emotional support from similar inflicted people. Patients even use social media sites to raise money for treatments too.
Physicians can use social media to get answers to complicated medical conditions. There are medical sites which are only for physicians where their credentials are vetted during registration. After proper verification physicians become a part of this group and they can discuss and get advice from their peers for treatment options.
Providers can decide to connect with their patients on social networks so that they can engage their patients and seem approachable. Practices have set up closed social media platforms where patients can actively participate in their care co – ordination. They can track their clinical progress too. Patients can for an enrollment fee request appointments when they need them urgently or they can chat with the physician in case of an emergency.
How social media can help in enhancing patient care
Physicians can use social media to understand what kind of treatments patients are willing to undergo for improving their health and what obstacles they are facing. Furthermore, physicians can use this media to answer queries and parry negative comments. They can use social media to clarify their stand or improve their services so that they can have satisfied patients. Another essential quality of social media is it helps in understanding the effectiveness of the therapy being implemented on the patient. More often than not patients tend to discuss about their ailments and what kind of therapy they are undergoing. Physicians can check on social media and understand what effective remedies can be used to treat ailments.
Finally, we can go agog about the uses of social media but we cannot ignore the flip side of it. If patients keep on giving negative reviews about a physician; it could effectively ruin a career. Moreover, just by reading online can a physician actually determine if the correct therapy is being prescribed to a patient without actually getting examined? These are a few questions which are worth considering. Do let me know your thoughts!