By Hanah Van Borek, Social Media Camp Attendee
At Quality Forum 2012, the BCPSQC hosted Health Care 2.0: Social Media Camp – a full-day pre-Forum event exclusively dedicated to the topic of social media (SM). It has never been more important for health care workers to take advantage of tools like SM to improve patient care and their own practices. For this reason, the council created a day of seminars and invited leading experts on the topic to speak. Notably, this was one of the first events of its kind dealing with health care in Canada.
The day’s opening keynote was delivered by Pat Rich, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Online Content for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). As the developer of the CMA’s SM guidelines, Rich is well versed on SM and provided insightful ideas to a captivated audience.
Of course his talk couldn’t begin without a “prognosis” of the main stigmas associated with using SM within the field of health care, such as fears of privacy violation and a lack of regulation, time, resources and general knowledge. However, while these remain legitimate concerns, for every downside there is an equivalent or better upside to using SM.
Here are Rich’s 6 Reasons a Doctor Should Consider Using Social Media, along with some examples that were shared in the camp’s workshops.
1) Communicate more effectively with the public and peers.
Social Media Camp’s Twitter 101 workshop featured HootSuite Educator Kemp Edmonds. He illustrated how many leading health organizations have taken to Twitter as a means of outreach. Edmonds cited Phillip Baumann’s 140 Health Care Uses for Twitter as a great place to start.
2) Stay current on leading issues in health care.
In the world of SM, news travels fast – like how #SocialMediaCamp quickly and easily trended in Canada the morning of the Camp! With the ability to share and repost health articles from medical journals worldwide, it’s never been easier to access the latest information.
3) Securely exchange information with peers.
Rich’s “Physician Champions” offer a great example of how doctors are able to share and facilitate ideas through their own online networks. For example check out Dr. Allan Brookstone and Dr. Mike Evans.
4) Conduct medical research.
Social media is a great way to engage the public and solicit feedback. Speakers Ian Roe and Mark Gilbert from the BC Centre for Disease Control demonstrated how Immunization BC and Smart Sex BC online campaigns were able to gather data and provide more accessible information to the public.
5) Monitor trending health topics.
Health care workers can now engage online and be part of the conversation to help provide information on hot topics or debunk media circulated myths. Many participants learned how to do this at Social Media Camp’s introductory workshops.
6) Communicate with and engage patients.
Pat said this is a great benefit to doctors using social media, but they should do so with caution and respect patient privacy. A great example of this, albeit not from the health care field, was given by Vancouver City Councilor Andrea Reimer, who delivered the event’s closing keynote.
Andrea demonstrated how the value of using SM lies in the tremendous access it provides to large populations that would otherwise be impossible to engage. She used an example of how the city solicited feedback on its green initiatives – and received it from more than 35,000 residents! This proved that an effective social media campaign can engage a large audience – 35,000 people can’t fit in a conference room!