Doctors are natural communicators - social media is extension of what they do every day

Doctors are natural communicators

My Google+ Circle labeled "Social Media in Medicine" now has 140 members - just one month after Google+ was launched. I think that's great.

Doctors are natural communicators and should do very well on social media platforms. Patients, and society in general, would only benefit from physicians who share ideas and focus on education.

Simple guidance for social media use

The suggested guidance for social media use by health professionals is very simple and based on a recent book by a nurse and social media advocate:

1. Remember the basics:

- your professional focus
- the laws around patient privacy (HIPAA in the U.S.)
- the professional standards of regulatory bodies and of your employers

2. After that, explore all the different social media tools that are out there.

Will Google+ have an effect on blogging? Undoubtedly. Will it "kill" blogging, as some have suggested? Of course not.

The Cycle of Online Information

Google+ is just another communication platform that fits nicely in what I called the "The Circle of Online Information" in 2009.

Here is how to facilitate the Rise of the ePhysican who works hand in hand with the ePatient:

1. Inbox for the web, receive information. Receive updates from selected RSS feeds (Google Reader) and Twitter accounts. See the list of suggested RSS feeds and Twitter accounts at the end of this post.

2. Digital outposts, share information on social networks. Share interesting links and ideas on the 3 main social networks, Twitter/Facebook/Google+, curate the inflow of information.

3. Get feedback. Get feedback from your followers on Twitter/Facebook/Google+, see what works.

4. Publish at your homebase, blog. Write a blog post using the ideas, updates and feedback from Twitter/Facebook/Google+. Expand on them. Aim for a blog post on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

5. Share your expert opinion. Share the link to your blog post via RSS and the 3 main social networks, Twitter/Facebook/Google+. Go back to step 1 to continue the circle.

Different styles/same goal

The two videos below show different communication styles but both are authored by physicians who use social media as extension of their everyday practice - they educate patients and colleagues and address their questions and concern.

The first video is by an orthopedic surgeon and the second by a pediatrician. They are both gifted natural communicators.

Do your patients speak "Doctor"?

Seattle Mama Doc 101 - Teething and Fever

RSS bundles of medical news

You can use the following RSS bundles to subscribe to medical news items. The bundles are exported from my Google Reader account. They update automatically several times per day. When in Google Reader, just select the ones that you find interesting and share them on Twitter. Add your own comments to some of the tweets.

Top Twitter Doctors

This is a list of the Top Twitter Doctors arranged by specialty in alphabetical order - feel free to add your own suggestions. The list is open to anybody to edit:

Comments from Google+:

Sina Neda - Good to see that the medical community is gathering on Google+, I'm still trying to find interesting people to follow in the medical field. Also want to remind everyone that is interested in MED-networking to add your Google+ and Twitter handles on the following list.

Neil Mehta - I for one would be very sad to see blogs go away. I find them to be the best place for "quiet" reflection, where you can think, write, cite, and then present to the society for feedback - a good example for social constructionism.

Art Gross - Every new social platform is always said to kill blogging. So far none of them have. Blogging is where content is created. Twitter, Google+ is where it is shared. Although the feedback on Google+ adds a new dimension and one that should add value to blogs. BLOGGING IS NOT DEAD YET! :)

Ves Dimov - "Blogging is where content is created. Twitter, Google+ is where it is shared." - Example: "The circle of online information"

Arin Basu - To some extent Google plus is essentially a microblogging/lifestreaming platform. As you wrote, it will change blogging but don't see how blogging will go away.

Related reading

Assessing Patients' Interest in Social Media: 83% used it, 56% wanted providers to use social media
The central part of medicine is patients - don't push them out of social media
Image source:, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Comments from Facebook:

    Crister DelaCruz: "This is slightly mis-titled. While many doctors ARE natural communicators, many are not. I have 15 years of in-hospital healthcare PR and I've coached many physicians in media relations, communications, and basic presentations. So for some, social media is not an automatic extension."