As a novel communication tool, Social Media will improve doctoring.

Wendy Sue Swanson (or @SeattleMamaDoc) is a pediatrician, mother, wife, patient, caregiver and blogger.

In the embedded video below, she speaks about the online revolution and the power of social media to enhance the good that doctors can do. I am a believer.

What if you could read a post/tweet every time your doctor had an idea about a new study, a new medicine? Why shouldn’t [many] patients learn from the whiteboard presentation that just occurred in the exam room with one patient?

Some patients get only 15 minutes per year with their doctor. That’s not much. No wonder 80% of folks go to the Internet for health information.

And it is more than just informational; our presence on social media can transmit empathy and understanding–our humanness. Dr. Swanson uses the example of vaccines. My example might be AF. A patient coming to see my can find out that I had AF–and it sucked.

Yes, this is a special time we live in.

This TEDx talk is worth 9 minutes of your time.

Congrats Doc. Beautiful talk.

JMM

P.S. Another great example of the future: my colleague here in Louisville, Dr Kathy Nieder, a primary care doctor, has an outstanding online presence.

4 comments

  1. Nicely done presentation! – Dr. Swanson certainly captures (and keeps!) your attention as a speaker. One clear advantage of being “out there” (on internet) – is that instead of that one-to-one you may reach thousands … THANK YOU.

  2. Am I the only one who looks at these ‘revelations’ as an outsider and thinks – why isn’t this stuff considered obvious?

    Your patients are coming in for years (over a decade?) with reams of internet printouts and it takes a Ted talk to point out that physicians could communicate that way too?

    Do medical offices realize that they’re the only ones who use fax machines anymore, EVER? Do they realize that many people see having to make a phone call, or sit on hold, or leave a message is seen as a backwards and painful means of communication?

    I suspect I’m preaching to the choir here, and I mean no disrespect to Dr. Swanson or anyone who does make an effort to communicate via modern methods AND encourages their colleagues to do the same. It’s just amazing to this outsider that so many smart people (the established medical community) don’t see these ideas as so obvious that they need no explanation.

    For all the truly cutting edge and amazing things we all know that modern medicine is capable of, it sure can seem a backwards place to be at times.

    P.S. Why aren’t books like ‘Tribes’ standard reading for any Doc with a traditional practice?

    1. Joe – I agree with you. Having said that – it takes tremendous effort and time to establish and maintain interesting/relevant ongoing blogs and interactive e-mail correspondence with a patient panel. Dr. John is amazing in the way he maintains and constantly adds to this blog. I have managed to do the same in my specialty interest area – but while I was full-time practice and academician (for 30 years, until I retired 2.5 years ago) – there was no way I perceived having the time to venture forth in this area. This became especially true during my last year before I retired when EMR (electronic medical records) became required in our practice – with result that no less than 15 additional hours were added to my work week (each week) on top of an already overloaded schedule. So as obvious and as important (and as efficient) as the potential tools in Dr. Swanson’s talk are – it is a true challenge to implement … There are only so many hours in a day ….

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