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Social media an “ethical duty” for docs

29 February 2012   Jon Hoeksma

From Dr Swanson's blog

Doctors have an “ethical duty” to use the communication channels used by their patients to provide them with good medical advice beyond the occasional ten minute consultation.

This was the impassioned rallying call given by inspirational American paediatrician, mum and blogger Dr Wendy Swanson at HIMSS12 last week in Las Vegas.

Dr Swanson told her audience that people have moved en-masse online, with many now effectively living their lives within social networks, but healthcare professionals have yet to follow.

If doctors want to influence their healthcare and lifestyles they need to “join their patients” in the spaces they inhabit, she said.

Although patients are searching for good health advice and information online, too often they are not finding it, she added.

Instead, they are being influenced by celebrity pseudo-science, which confuses experience with evidence.

As the author of the popular Seattlemamadocblog.com, Dr Swanson not only practices what she preaches but is also a board member of the influential Mayo Clinic for Social Media.

She argues that social media offers opportunities for medicine to engage with patients at a personal and immediate level, and offers the ability to positively influence many more patients than can be achieved through one-on-one consultations alone.

She also urges more medical colleagues to see social media as an opportunity to forge a new relationship with patients as family health advisor and mentor.

Read more about Dr Swanson’s presentation – and some of the barriers she identifies to doctors forging a new online relationship with patients – in this week’s Insight section.


Related Articles:

1 News: Twitter founder is the Biz at HIMSS12 | 23 February 2012
Insight: Call to 'join patients online' | 29 February 2012
News: US health IT vendors hunt Vegas jackpot | 23 February 2012
Last updated: 29 February 2012 17:26

© 2012 EHealth Media.


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re: Pragmatism

mrtablet 111 weeks ago

>How long for the NHS to catch up?<

Probably after it finds enough money to fund superlative care of the patient in the room with the clinician i.e. never.

In the meantime it is IMO the ethical duty of clinicians NOT to waste time proselytizing health soundbites in cyberspace to the worried well with whom they have no contract of care.

IANAL but avoiding such contacts may also be a medicolegal imperative.


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Pragmatism rules ..

Steve Fuller 111 weeks ago

How long for the NHS to catch up though :-(


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