Health Care Social Media Review

By Jennifer J. Salopek

Screen shot 2012-02-22 at 10.07.49 AM_1We at Wing of Zock are very pleased to host our first edition of Health Care Social Media Review. This roundup of blog posts treating different aspects at the intersection of health care and social media is wide-ranging, both in terms of topic and origination point. However, as a blog about innovation in academic medicine, we are naturally drawn to posts that deal with medical education and professionalism.

Via Health Care Social Media Monitor, Marie Ennis O’Connor offers “Medical Students: Here’s How to Manage Social Media.” Rendered as an infographic, this thoughtful guide urges readers through such steps as: See for Yourself; Get Rid of What You Don’t Like; Go Off the Grid; and Don’t Be a Comedian (Unless You Are a Comedian). All sound advice that medical students would do well to heed.

Howard Luks, MD, penned “The Great Untapped Opportunity for Doctors on Social Media” for a May 23 post on The Doctor Blog. Noting that “recognition of social media’s value propositions have come slowly in health care,” Luks exhorts health care professionals to engage and communicate patients via social media. He writes:

By passing up this opportunity, we are missing the chance to help clear misinformation and doubts. When we make use of social media, we can put content forth in a manner that is easy to absorb, easy to understand, and easy to use. We can create an online knowledge core that addresses most of their basic questions. This is, in my view, what the patient segment of the social media healthcare audience requires most.

In “What an EMR Built on Twitter Would Look Like,” David Do, MD, resident physician at the University of Pennsylvania and chief technology officer at Symcat, offers the bold prediction that doctors will follow patients on Twitter to get real-time updates on patients’ health. In his post on The Health Care Blog, he notes that many physicians are unhappy with EMRs, finding them inefficient, redundant, and unreliable. On the other hand, social media can help organize immense amounts of information. Do offers a graphic mockup of a live-feed EMR and describes the ways it can improve on existing EMRs.

Austin Chiang, MD, a GI fellow at Brigham and Womens, is more than halfway through a six-part series of blog posts on health care social media. On May 30, he offered his thoughts on the public health impact of social media, reviewing such uses as behavior modification, epidemic tracking, and research.

In “The Elephant in the Room—Live Tweeting Conferences,” frequent Tweeter Skeptical Scalpel (who has more than 9,000 followers) notes that “lucid communication of a point made by a speaker… is difficult to capture in a tweet.” He mentions the wacky abbreviations and fuzzy photos that commonly accompany live tweets, and takes on Symplur’s formula for calculating impressions, writing that “there is no way to determine if anyone has actually read a specific tweet.”

In the inaugural post on his blog, Jones Surgery, Christian Jones, MD, offers the alternate perspective in “Live Tweeting: Totally Worth It.” Recounting his experience live tweeting from the Acute Care Surgery conference in early June, he notes that it was “grueling” and “difficult” but said that the self-imposed responsibility for live tweeting enhanced his participation and sharpened his attention. Other benefits included the making of new in-person and virtual contacts. Welcome to the blogosphere, Christian!

Wrapping up our edition this week is a post from the Advisory Board blog, Prescription for Change. In her post, “4 Ways to Get Messages to Your Physicians,” Megan Zweig notes that many chief medical officers feel they lack a reliable way to communicate important information to the physicians in their organizations. Zweig offers four tips, including the use of social media, but her most important point is the first: “Simply over-communicating is not a communication strategy.”

Jennifer J. Salopek is founding editor of Wing of Zock. She can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter @jsalopek.