Social media provide HCPs with tools to share information, to debate health care policy and practice issues, to promote health behaviors, to engage with the public, and to educate and interact with patients, caregivers, students, and colleagues.
When used cautiously, social media can provide the obvious advantages such as professional networking, clinical education, and patients’ health promotion. However, when used unwisely, social media has its disadvantages such as violation of patients’ confidentiality and privacy and can lead to formidable consequences.
Social media is a proactive means to establish and manage reputation and public awareness. … It has also become a primary means for healthcare providers interact with the public to engage and attract new patients as part of an overall marketing plan. People buy from people that they know, like and trust.
It can be hard to know how to navigate the challenges of social media in healthcare. Providers, agencies, and brands need to create engaging social content. That content also needs to be informative, timely, and accurate. At the same time, you need to follow all relevant industry rules and regulations.
Social media is a key way to raise public awareness about new, emerging, and annual health concerns.
“Health care systems must provide trusted information on immunization, flu virus, therapy, ebola, you name it.” That solid advice comes from Michael Yoder. He’s the social media consultant for Spectrum Health.
Sometimes raising awareness is as simple as reminding followers about common sense health practices or addressing common healthy living concerns.
Social media can be a great resource for doctors. But it’s not without its risks. The standards expected of doctors do not change because they are communicating through social media rather than face to face or through other traditional media, but new challenges can arise.
Social Media, Doctors and medical students use social media for sharing ideas and
information, campaigning, debating health issues and, like everyone else,
for fun, to keep up with current events and more. Because using social
media has the potential to blur the boundaries between the professional
and the personal, it is possible for ethical tensions to arise, and if it is
used unwisely there can be risks, but these can often be avoided through
common sense and by following GMC guidance.
Below we highlight a few things to think about to help you maintain a
positive social media presence, whether you are a doctor or a medical
student. If you are new to social media, refer to our ‘Social media –
practical guidance and best practice guide’ to help you get started.
Social media by their very nature help spread information quickly to diverse groups of people. That’s great when the information is fact-based, helpful, and clear. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of health misinformation on social networks.
Sometimes the misinformation comes in the form of untrue statements. These are relatively easily debunked. You can simply cite published research or the latest information from a credible health source like the CDC or WHO.
But sometimes, the creators and disseminators of misinformation use a reputable institution’s name to give their statements credibility. In this case, it’s important for the institution named as a reference to clarify that they are not the source.
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