By Sandra Hughes, MD - Written for Connecticut Academy of Family Physicians Newsletter
Social media, what does that term mean to you? I'm not sure it had much for me, I simply ignored it. After attending the Annual Leadership Forum in Kansas City, MO. Over the last 3 days, I have learned that it is a force that cannot be ignored in our profession. It is actually a crucial tool for our technology driven society where people check their email and Facebook before even getting out of bed in the morning. It is hard for me to believe I am saying this. I thought Facebook was for catching up with friends! Twitter, well, I never quite knew what that was for. And hashtag (#) clueless.
After attending two lectures on its importance, I am finally a believer. This conference had 6 (yes 6!) lectures on social media. Thanks, AAFP, I get it! As Dr. Mike Sevilla, social media guru at www.familymedicinerocks.com stated, we need family physicians out there teaching our patients. Why should we allow specialists like cardiothoracic specialist Dr. Oz to be the main spokesperson for medicine? We are in the front lines of medicine, that should be our job. In this day and age, our patients are turning to the Internet for advice. We as family physicians, should be giving it.
We need to be at the forefront of medical advice, not others. We can't expect people to be savvy enough to know good advice from bad. We need to show and teach them. It is time for us to change. Harrison Coerver in his lecture entitled, "The Race For Relevance," states that the majority of chapters still spend more money on postage then technology. In this age, it is time to change. We need to reach out to our patients and members.
While in Kansas City, I began updating the Connecticut Academy of Family Physicians Facebook page and started a twitter account @CTAFPDOC. Mark Schuman, Mary Yokose, our chapter executives, and I will be updating the CAFP twitter and facebook accounts. Now, we just need YOU to follow along.