Social media may present doctors with important opportunities
Electronic communication options are quickly becoming major players in today's healthcare, and doctors who fail to get on board with these technologies may risk losing touch with many of their patients, particularly the younger ones.
A recent report issued by the American Red Cross showed that people are increasingly turning to social media in times of disaster. Their surveys indicate that people are very likely to look online for information about storms or other adverse conditions and to message friends and family on Facebook to discuss whether or not they are safe.
This can give medical professionals a powerful tool, officials said.
"The social web offers a chance for emergency responders to understand in real time what their communities care about and need," said Trevor Riggen, senior director of disaster services at the Red Cross.
Doctors are increasingly turning to social media because it is where the people are. The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that a survey from Manhattan Research found that 60 percent of physicians are active users of the technology.
While there may still be some issues regarding privacy, embracing these technologies can help practices reach out to new patients. In addition to electronic health records, this type of approach could bring many improvements to the delivery of care.