I think it is beginning to happen but in a fairly small way so far. What's different in the US is scale. Major US health insurers like Aetna are making big social media investments in firms like iTriage as part of an emerging strategy to use these technologies to delibver more cost effective and responsive services.
For me one of the key arguements used by Dr Swanson is that clinicians and health professionals must join patients in the channels they occupy - social networks and online.
But doctors and other clinicians have got to want to do it. I think its the DIY early adopters who will be the most disruptive, rather than waiting for the BMA to issue a policy position -- likely to be a long wait...
So no easy answers but sharing best practice and ideas can't hurt. EHI has a best use of social media category in our awards again this year.
The US is definitely ahead of the UK in terms of how social media is being used to engage with consumers and patients. In healthcare the whole health 2.0 wave of experimentation of how to mobilise and activate patients to take control of their healthcare is also a lot further along.
The way www.patientslikeme.com/ for instance connects patients with similar conditions strikes me really tapping the power of Web 2.0.
And I think that its patient demand that will help make this happen. Why should health be the one important area of their lives that isn't responsive and convenient?
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