One candid and enlightening discussion about the rewards and risks of physicians using social media can be found in a recent round table chat sponsored by Orthopedics Today at http://bit.ly/IAG01u. Half a dozen orthopedic surgeons explain how and why they are using some social media platforms, but not others, to reach specific audiences for specific reasons. The discussion offers thoughtful and responsible “best practice” nuggets for the use of social media by professionals.
Orthopedic physicians seeking to exchange clinical and business practice ideas that can be openly challenged by peers are turning to restricted-access forums (“collaborative practice communities” with firewalls) such as www.orthomind.com and www.beckerorthopedicsandspine.com and www.Doximity.com .
Physicians seeking more to “educate patients and improve their online reputation” are creating websites or blogs that allow deep Web 2 integration with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to Howard J. Luks, MD., who has developed a social media presence that is a model for others. Another way for physicians to educate the public and gain an online presence is through consumer Q&A websites such as HealthTap, ShareCare and Avvo.
The forum addresses sensitive issues of patient confidentiality, legal ‘phishing’ and who in a medical office should be responsible for participating and monitoring blog, Facebook and Twitter posts. This discussion is worth more than a cursory read and shows how social media can compliment traditional marketing and public relations.