Last week I wrote Why Social Media for Doctors Doesn’t Make Sense. Some read it and understood that my intent was to explain the challenges of physician social adoption. Others took the title and echoed about “the doctor who doesn’t get it.” Funny, funny people.
Honestly there are some sad truths buried in that little post – it’s a little painful to read. So let’s move on.
Perhaps it makes sense to take the counter argument: Why does social media for doctors make perfect sense?
Digital dialog confers a market advantage. Physicians today have the most remarkable opportunity to tell about themselves. And patients want to know. Patients want to be closer to their providers and understand how they think. The use of tools as you’re seeing right here represent the most remarkable opportunity for individual docs and organizations to make their mark.
It’s free. Back in dark ages a practice hired a guy to ‘build a site.’ Almost an antiquated concept. Of course static sites have a role for large organizations but social sites are where patients hang. If I were opening a small medical practice I would create a home base on Facebook or a blog with outposts on Twitter, Cinch, Flickr and YouTube. All for free.
Social is where the patients are. We got into this to work with patients. So patient engagement shouldn’t end with an office visit. This idea of real time dialog represents the best way for all of us to keep up and help keep our patients healthy, safe and informed. But we’re not there yet. Privacy, payment and documentation will be worked out over time.
The digital dashboard will be conversational. Once the spaces and boundaries of doctor-patient dialog are worked out, expect tight integration with the EMR. Large flat screen monitors that display our EMR will ultimately share space with applications that allow us to securely engage with other doctors and patients (aka Hello Health). The EMR will integrate with our conversations. It’s why social media for doctors makes perfect sense. It’s why we need to get used to correspondence in this format.
The culture of medicine will grow up to social. The next generation of physicians will be defined by technology, 3rd party control and patient empowerment. And as patients become more disconnected from the doctors who once made the decisions, we’ll circle back to some type of human connection facilitated IRL and digitally. While doctors and patients are further from each other than at any point in history, we’ll find patients again and digital dialog will be the facilitator.
The medical mob will solve the attention crash. Information overload will evolve to make professional life unbearable. All physicians will become dependent upon a panel of trusted social curators (the medical mob) to cull the spam from the sirloin. This is social media strictly as input – the easy part for doctors.
We’re ahead of the parade. Social media makes sense for doctors just like every other business that has leveraged its incredible power. We just aren’t there yet. The real power of all this will be realized when we hit critical mass. It’s amazing to think how things might look once we all arrive and medicine is populated with digital natives. Can you imagine Twitter with 50,000 doctors?
I could go on and on. Talk amongst yourselves.