MedGizmo: Social Media and Healthcare
It is well known that the Internet has drastically changed the Healthcare landscape, in particular, interactions of patients with doctors. Some points are:
- Before consumers address doctor – they go on-line and check the symptoms – using search engines, specialized Web-sites, on-line communities, applications, etc. They post questions to both peer-and expert-reviewed social networks.
- Some sophisticated users look for personal information on doctors – trying to judge their competence
- Once the health professional delivers opinions/advice, patients check on-line – just to compare their experiences; sometimes they rely heavily on other users’ reviews and experiences for health related decisions.
Generally speaking, social media healthcare platforms are used now for
- recruitment for clinical trials;
- professional development and training for clinicians;
- inter-professional communication/coordination;
- training simulations;
- health social networks and health and illness support groups;
- health advocacy and fundraising for health organizations;
- public health messaging;
- infectious disease monitoring.
As Huffington Post rightfully notes, the benefits include:
- Improving practice efficiency
- Making subspecialty expertise on rare diseases and conditions
- Facilitating patient-to-patient support groups
- Engaging medical professionals in online discussions
- Recruiting subjects for clinical trials
- Providing continuing education asynchronously and on a global scale
- Active dissemination of medical myths and misinformation by self-interested propagandists.
- The proliferation of physician and hospital rating and review sites, which often lack sufficient patient participation to provide an accurate reflection of satisfaction with services.
Read the full post HERE
The Forbes recently had a post that criticizes bloggers that use Pinterest and Instagram:
Who are these people and how much knowledge do they have about what they are discussing or pinning? No official statistics exist. But one has to wonder how many true health experts are posting health information on Pinterest. (“Pinter-what?” was a response I got when I told an older physician about this site.) Pretty much anyone can “pin” something on Pinterest in the name of science. Some pins seem grounded in facts, such as the claim that bunnies are the major cause of peace because maps show wild bunnies are located in regions of fewer military conflicts. (So, of course, proper military policy should consist of airlifting bunches of fluffy bunnies to areas of strife.) But others pins such as governments using routine vaccines for population control do not seem grounded in any scientific evidence.
Read the full article HERE
Perficient- the leading digital transformation consulting firm points two significant trends:
How is social media in healthcare used today?
- Managing population wellness
- Converting unknown consumers into patients
From the selected studies, seven key uses of social media for health communication were identified for the general public, patients, and health professionals (Table 3
Read the full report HERE
So, what are the sources for information that we may currently look at?
A couple of year ago Google attempted to provide coverage on two big issues with Google Flu Trends and Google Dengue Trends based on search patterns. However, the project failed, and is no longer existing. However, the other project is a success - Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN)
The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), developed by Health Canada in collaboration with WHO, is a secure Internet-based multilingual early-warning tool that continuously searches global media sources such as news wires and web sites to identify information about disease outbreaks and other events of potential international public health concern. GPHIN is one of the most important sources of informal information related to outbreaks. More than 60% of the initial outbreak reports come from unofficial informal sources, including sources other than the electronic media, which require verification.
This graph shows how it works
And one of the latest maps:
Another global project is HealthMap
HealthMap, a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital founded in 2006, is an established global leader in utilizing online informal sources for disease outbreak monitoring and real-time surveillance of emerging public health threats. The freely available Web site 'healthmap.org' and mobile app 'Outbreaks Near Me'
deliver real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse audience including libraries, local health departments, governments, and international travelers. HealthMap brings together disparate data sources, including online news aggregators, eyewitness reports, expert-curated discussions and validated official reports, to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. Through an automated process, updating 24/7/365, the system monitors, organizes, integrates, filters, visualizes and disseminates online information about emerging diseases in nine languages, facilitating early detection of global public health threats. Download our brochure to learn more.
Here are some social media communities:
Our mission at esperity™ is to contribute to a better quality of life of patients by giving them a tool to empower themselves, share information and learn from each other. Our main goal is breaking patients’ social isolation, as well as understanding the relationships between treatment outcome, quality of life and genetic indicators. These relationships can provide us with insight to detect patterns, which in turn can lead to hope.
The Health Impact News Communities.
Hosted entirely within the Health Impact News secure cloud, networking and secure chat is now possible with no personal data being collected and shared with advertisers or parties interested in knowing your identity.
The current eight communities mirror the same eight topic areas covered in the Health Impact News network:
- Vaccine Impact
- Medical Kidnap
- Medicine Watch
- Real Food Nutrition
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Alternative Health
- Coconut Health
Mayo Clinic Social Media Network
Since 2010, MCSMN has evolved to include a collaborative learning community whose members include hospitals, healthcare communications professionals and medical providers, as well as patients and caregivers from around the world.
We offer nutrition advice, health-and-fitness tools, a highly engaged and supportive community, and resources that are 100% free. Our proven system inspires, motivates, and supports our members to build healthy and sustainable habits. Far beyond just weight loss, SparkPeople helps everyone learn to eat better and exercise regularly—for life.
Currently, SparkPeople has nearly 16,000,000 registered members, and growing fast!
Image by MedGizmo