Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Study Finds Strengths of Social Media in Health Care, Room for Improvement



Social media in medicine continues to be controversial.  Those who are recent graduates and/or less than 35-40 years of age seem to have integrated social media within the context of HIPAA restrictions.  Most physicians do not use social media unless they restrict personal identification of patients. None offer treatment recommendations over an insecure connection, and their social media and web sites have a visible warning about information provided by their web site is for informational purposes only and not treatment.

recent study found that social networking websites like Facebook can be an important tool for both patients and providers but that such sites need to be further refined to fully realize their potential in health care.


In an iHealthBeat audio report by Rachel Dornhelm, experts discussed the future of social media and health care. The report includes comments from:
  • Timothy Hale, a research scientist at Partners HealthCare's Center for Connected Health;
  • Ben Heywood, co-founder and president of PatientsLikeMe;
  • Christina Thielst, a health administration contractor focusing on social media; and
  • Robert Wah, chief medical officer of Computer Sciences Corporation (Dornhelm, iHealthBeat, 8/20).

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