April 12, 2024

Some doctors tweet, join Facebook; others wary

Medicine and social media: do they mix?
While doctors are divided over whether
medical practices should be active on social media networks, Dr Jeff
Livingston says that Facebook and Twitter are effective tools for
educating patients and marketing his Texas OB-GYN practice.

Over the past two
years, MacArthur OB/GYN has ventured into the
world of social media, where doctors post news about their own practice
and the medical world at large. Its Facebook page has almost 700 fans.
“People are looking for information online,” he says. “I wanted them to
look at our page.”

doctors have been deterred from social media by concerns over time and
patient privacy.
“No matter how you parse it, doctors don’t avoid the Internet
and social media because they’re simply Luddites,” Westby Fisher, an
Illinois cardiac electrophysiologist, wrote last month on his blog, Dr.
Wes. “They avoid the Internet because they enjoy the benefits of
anonymity, privacy, efficiency and legal protection that come with
dropping off the grid.”

Livingston says that these have not really
been issues for his practice. In the two years since he launched the
Macarthur Obgyn Facebook page, he has only had to remove content posted
by others three times.  “What I’m watching for is that no private
personal health information gets relayed via social media,” says
Livingston, who says he keeps a close watch on the page with his iPhone
and iPad. ~USA Today, Jul 9

Jared Yee
social networking media