Social Media Tips For Physicians

How should physicians utilize social media in their professional lives? In the video above, I was interviewed by Family Practice News at the 2011 American Academy of Family Physicians Annual Scientific Assembly meeting in Orlando. Check out this blog post where there are slides of my presentation at that meeting about social media. (Also FYI, as of this posting, the video above has the most hits of any on the Global Medical News Network channel - Yay!)

Especially for Family Medicine, using social media is very important, in my opinion, to help tell our story. For too long, I believe that we, as a specialty, have let others define who we are. Social media has a chance to change that.

As far as initial use of social media, I advise physicians that they are probably already using facebook for friends and family purposes. So, they should try experimenting with things like posting updates and pictures. When they are comfortable, then I advise physicians, for professional purposes, that they should create a facebook page for their clinic or office and post things like "We got our flu shots today," or, "Were you aware of the meningitis case at the local high school. Here are some things to keep in mind."

As I discuss in my social media talks, I do NOT recommend physicians talk about patients at all on social media, except if you have their explicit permission to do so. There have been a lot of cases of physicians getting in trouble for sharing confidential patient information on the internet.

Above all, I let physicians know that the people that will drive physicians to social media will be our patients - and this is why physicians should be aware of social media. Definitely physicians do not need to be as involved as I am with different social media platforms with blogging, twitter, facebook, youtube, etc. Having an awareness of how some of these things work will be key moving forward in the future.