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Physicians Leveraging Social Media to Educate Patients

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media, May 3, 2012

Making social media easy to use 
Swedish has developed user-friendly processes to help its physicians get involved with social media, says Lewis. Currently, the health system has hundreds of physicians on social media—in part thanks to its huge video series. But it also has physicians producing pod­casts and contributing content on Facebook and Twitter, and a couple of dozen docs who blogged this past year.

One of the nice features of Swedish's blog is that it's still on the main website and is tied to the physician profile system, says Lewis. The benefit of that structure, Lewis explains, is if a physician wants to blog 80 times, they can, but for the doctor who wants to blog once, that is fine too because there is not one person holding up the blog.

"It takes off a lot of pressure, because they can blog once and it can go on their profile and then we can put it on the main blog and get attention that way and it shows well in search," she says, adding that it's also important to show physicians that a blog post can be as simple as one to two paragraphs and a link or a video recorded from a smartphone. 

Figuring out what physicians' interests are, what they are trying to achieve, and whether they have specific goals or are just exploring the platforms is essential to help­ing them use social media effectively, says Lewis. "Some [physicians] are very interested in the mechanics of social media—they want to know how to create a Twitter account and Tweet. Then other ones may just want to do a blog post, but even then there is a range—do they just want to email me a Word doc or upload it themselves?"

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2 comments on "Physicians Leveraging Social Media to Educate Patients"


Erick Kinuthia (5/9/2012 at 3:40 PM)
Fantastic post. Physicians should see social media as a way of reaching out to patients and helping them. Even though they won't be expecting it, they are more like to gain in the long-run. Erick Kinuthia Team MDwebpro

Hart Oldenburg (5/3/2012 at 7:17 PM)
Tell me please, how does the expenditure of a trillio dollar to 'heal' obesity patient fit into a positive health program? It stinks! I own the discovery and correction of obesity with its [INVALID]of related deseases. I condemned food guides and diets in 1992, all wrong, weight gain promoting. No publicity? They own the news and their jobs. Hart Smart Oldenburg is ambarrassingly simple, we can retire 90%, any age into comfortable resign and gain a few new healthy years.