Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Social Media for Medical Practitioners

This blog post lists down some examples of how medical practitioners can use social media. Check out the weblinks to see it in practice. Hopefully these examples will inspire people in government to use social media in more creative and effective ways.

By Liz Azyan , in General , at May 17, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , ,

This blog post is sponsored by Semantix Ltd.

I’ve recently conducted some research on how medical practitioners are using social media in their profession. This blog post lists down some examples of how medical practitioners can use social media. Check out the weblinks to see it in practice. Hopefully these examples will inspire people in government to use social media in more creative and effective ways.

Social media for medical practitioners

No. E-Channel Overview or related articles Weblink
1. Second Life The PREVIEW project have been exploring the use of virtual worlds, Second Life in particular, as an environment for problem-based learning (PBL) for care professionals and paramedic students.The care professionals are using open-ended PBL scenarios using a chatbot engine to create characters who can guide, act out eDramas and interact with students within Second Life. Paramedic students are using fixed-ended PBL scenarios which require them to conduct patient assessment and treatment on virtual patients in Second Life. The project is best summarised by the video below in the video link section. BlogYoutube
2. Twitter Should doctors use Twitter?Early physician adopters say the social media site can help you promote your practice and communicate with colleagues.Doctors who keep tweeting stick around because they find it can be useful. Physicians most often use Twitter as an extension of their Web presence, a patient communication site, a marketing tool or a virtual water cooler with their colleagues. Or, maybe a combination of all four.
3. Detailed surgeries on twitter Aurora Health Care, parent of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, is one of a handful of hospital systems that have detailed surgeries on Twitter. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to connect with patients, and potential patients, and perhaps get a little media buzz.The procedure Aurora decided to tweet was not randomly selected. It was a new, less-invasive approach to bilateral knee replacement, using customized tools created from virtual images of the knee.Aurora reported more than 180 questions and comments in reply to the 250 tweets posted during the surgery. At least 75 of its messages were forwarded, or sent as “retweets,” by other Twitter users. This expands the reach to other groups of followers.

The hospital’s surgery tweeting was profiled on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” and got a mention on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Within a week after the surgery, the number of Twitter users following Aurora grew from 930 to 2,240. By mid-June, that number had passed 3,900.

Within a month of the surgery, Dr. Wallskog saw at least 10 new patients, all potential candidates for the surgery. Dr. Wallskog suspects the seed has been planted, and as the year unfolds, more new patients will come for a consultation as a result of Twitter.

4. Twitter as an extension of web presence Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, (@DrGwenn) a Massachusetts pediatrician who is CEO and editor of the Web site PediatricsNow, already had a pretty devoted Web following. She decided to join Twitter earlier this year as a way of extending her Dr. Gwenn brand. Dr. O’Keeffe has made contacts through Twitter that have expanded her work as a writer and media source. @DrGwenn
5. Twitter How doctors use Twitter.

  1. Were hangin’ with everyone else.
  2. Not talkin’ about sick people.
  3. Lots of talkin’ about ourselves.
  4. Medical mindcasting.
  5. Goofin’ off.
6. CardiologyLinks.NET. (User-Generated Content site) CardiologyLinks.NET is a user powered cardiology news portal. On this social content voting site, all news is submitted by its users. Any member can submit cardiology related content to CardiologyLinks.NET, and this will enable the content to be viewed by all.The content will be promoted or buried depending on how much it is liked by the community. The more votes the submission gets, the more popular it is. With enough votes, the piece of news will be showcased on the Front page of CardiologyLinks.NET. Website
Scan Grants
ScanGrants™ is designed to facilitate the search for funding sources to enhance individual and community health. The funding sources listed here may be of interest to virtually anyone associated with the health field – medical researchers, social workers, nurses, students, community-based health educators, academics and others.Funding sources most frequently listed here include those of private foundations, corporations, businesses, and not-for profit organizations. Finding and listing less traditional funding opportunities is also a priority. Federal and state funding sources are typically not included on ScanGrants™ because they are readily available on other sites (e.g. www.grants.gov).ScanGrants™ was developed as a tool for Samaritan Health Services and its collaborators, but it is also available for use by the general public. The listing is selective and is intended to supplement other search methods. In many instances, grant announcements have been abbreviated for the sake of brevity. To view the full grant announcement, click on the link to the source URL provided for each funding opportunity. WebsiteTwitterRSS
8. Twitter in the ER -Onze Lieve Vrouw Hospital in Belgium The team at Onze Lieve Vrouw Hospital in Belgium has made strides in improving the clinical flow and processes in their ER by incorporating the use of twitter as a novel channel. It was interesting to see that new social media technologies can be embraced seamlessly into critical system environments. They use twitter in the same way as other users but shrink the community down to just the ER. The idea is to create awareness of flow and process in emergency services. Managing and running an ER involves lots of processes inside the ER and outside, twitter makes it possible to streamline communication. It communicates assignments for dispatch, triage, doctors, and nurses. It allows one to become aware of other people and what they are doing. It can inform you of alerts, new patients in waiting room, patient overview and status, and new lab results. The instant delivery of information to the appropriate users has enabled patients and staff to be better informed and aware of what is going on in the ER.The department uses closed group twitter accounts. No patient names are included in the tweet, just ids to maintain privacy. Accounts have access to filters to sort tweets applicable to them to reduce unnecessary chatter or information. There is no need for expensive hardware – simply create the twitter group and filters.This case study has presented a novel way to communicate with twitter in a critical care setting and one that is as chaotic as the ER. Despite the diverse processes and at times hectic nature of the ER, twitter was shown that it can smoothen clinical workflows and improve efficiency by enabling access to augmented reality in the palm of your hand. Article

Hope this was useful!

Liz Azyan


  • This is an interesting round-up, particularly from a UK National Health Service perspective (I work for the UK Department of Health).
    I like the idea that doctors are using Twitter to build professional communities – does anyone have any figures for how many doctors are doing this?
    The Scan Grants website also looks interesting. In the UK we have taken this a step further, using a crowdsourcing platform to encourage people to vote for ideas that may be eligible for a grant, for social care projects. You can see the results here: http://big.dh.gov.uk/

    • Hi Tim,
      Thank you for your feedback. I currently don’t have the figures of doctors using Twitter to build professional communities, but I will let surely let you know once I do. 🙂

      Thank you as well for the link to the Big Ideas Grant. What a great way to encourage people to submit their ideas. I wish I would have heard about it sooner. Thanks for letting me know!


  • Hi Liz.
    Not sure if you would have seen this- it was an event in Birmingham we supported, discussing how the Embarrassing Bodies show pulls in links, photos and uses the practice of social networking, then build it into their programmes, giving big hit rates for the NHS & PCT’s, engaging with viewers, and sharing good practice.
    The video of the live event is in 3 parts, so the viewer will need to put aside an hour or so to get the full picture.

    Not a shameless plug (honest)- hope it helps.


    Paul Hadley.

    • Hi Paul,

      That’s really interesting but also shows how social media doesn’t exist on its own. I like the idea of taking things online to offline to TV! TV is still pretty much dominant in many people’s lives and its a great way of reaching out and delivering links of information to citizens. Not only do we share the cost for publicising and encouraging the use of public services; creating cost efficiencies, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ uses real life case studies which really engage with people. Not a shameless plug at all! Thank you for sharing! 🙂


  • Hi,Liz. Thanks so much for the nice write-up. Very much appreciate the notice of ScanGrants. We have recently launched ResearchRaven http://www.researchraven.com/ and that has even more cool bells and whistles than ScanGrants–most of the listings are downloadable as PDFs, for instance. Our hope is to become the first stopping place for lists of professional conferences, calls for papers and other research-related materials in the health sciences.

    Your blog is new to me–my Google Alert on ScanGrants brought me here. Thanks, Google!

    • Hi Hope,
      It was my pleasure. Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment. Appreciate the ResearchRaven link! Its great to see such a great resource to be made available for those who are interested. Am happy Google Alert has brought you to this blog. Pls look out for more posts regarding health 2.0 coming up very soon. Hope you will find it useful!!


  • Hi, Liz. Thanks so much for keeping us in the know of what is out there in terms of new and useful resources in the health sciences.

  • Hi Liz, Thanks for this article. Great use of examples.

    Social media awareness amongst the health community in the UK is rising dramatically. Although I don’t often discuss social media with medical staff I do speak with numerous professionals providing various therapies to the community and to hospital patients. All of them recognise the need to create an online presence using social networks.

    On the whole they tend not to find facebook a very useful tool for attracting clients or for keeping in touch with them. Twitter is far and away the most popular tool amongst therapists. Since so many therapists are self-employed they can often feel lonely at times. Many are drawn to twitter as they enjoy meeting other professionals. As twitter apps evolve and we see more and more location orientated twitter search apps, I think we’ll see therapists signing on in their droves.

    You might be interested to check out our site http://www.cocoonhealth.co.uk We’ve built a social network specifically for the UK’s therapists, fitness and wellness professionals. I think it’ll interest you. I keep a blog too at http://www.cocoonblog.co.uk where I discuss the use of social media within the context of healthcare. Hope to read your comments there some time soon 🙂

  • Hmm…social media is definitely good in my opinion. And the fact that medical professionals have definitely incorporated it into it…it’s definitely an interesting practice.

    Using twitter, second life, it is definitely a way to introduce more aspects of the medical community