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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Second Prophecy

Ok, ok, ok.  This one probably isn't really a prophecy as it is already happening.  I am of course referring to the proliferation of social media and the role that it has in medicine.

I guess the part that hasn't happened yet is that certain members of the medical fraternity still refuse to acknowledge the influence that it has and will continue to have in an increasing manner.  They seem to think of it as a tool for teenage girls to enhance their narcissism and spread gossip.  But it is far more than that.

Inside the world of medicine social media is increasingly being used by professionals to let others know of what they have done, what they are doing and share new ideas and their experiences.  It has been used for doctors to put live updates on an operation to the world via twitter.  Procedures have even been videoed.

And if doctors still decide not to embrace social media they need to understand it.  Why? Because their patients are using it.  Never before have individuals and patients been so informed about the ailments which afflict them and the treatments that are available.  If a doctor cannot talk candidly about the information a patient has found on the internet, the doctor will loose the confidence of that individual and patient care will be compromised.

One also has to be aware that for all the wonderful information there is to be found on the internet there is also nearly just as much bogus information and it will become the doctors job to assist the patient in deciphering the difference between quality information and bogus offerings by the snake oil salesmen.

Socialmedia is going to become more prevalent.  As it stands there is a forum some where to do with any disease and or treatment.  If doctors decide to ignore it they will essentially be disadvantaging themselves by keeping themselves from the latest information.

In short, social media and the internet is going to be a fantastic tool for both doctors and patients alike.  But make sure that you are wary about what you read and check everything as there is a great deal of bogus info on the net.  Until next time, stay well:)

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