While a few physicians are still not able to figure out ways in which they can use social media to bolster their professional prospects, there is so much happening as far as “medical” footprint on social media is concerned. There are reports suggesting that the line between the “personal” and “professional” is clearly blurred when it comes to physicians’ behavior on the social networking sites. While positive social media relations or rather exploits can append to your career, inappropriate behavior – on the other hand- has the potential to damage your prospects beyond measure.
How can physicians use Social Media?
At the very onset – there’s that one question which might confound you – how should doctors or physicians use social media? You can look up the contents of research that clearly show that physicians demonstrate minimal training in professional online behaviour. They are hardly found connecting with colleagues on ways to solve patient problems. Instead, so many of them are actually associated with strictly unprofessional social media behavior which includes profanity, sexually suggestive advances, and serious HIPAA violations. Notably particular inclination towards violations has been noticed among professionals across all stages of their career – including recently-graduated physicians, attending physicians and resident physicians.
What most of the physicians haven’t really realized so far is the fact that if leveraged properly, social media can actually turn out to be a major boon for medical professionals looking to secure a reputation-boost.
What they are saying
Matt Dull, MD – is yet to start his critical care fellowship stint (at the time of writing this article) at Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. He developed an interest in professional social media usage after hearing a keynote speaker at a national medical conference. The discussion was primarily based on the expectations of patients as far as the physicians’ social media behavior was concerned. He said that the speaker had stressed on the need for reaching out to patients on social media He admitted that as a resident he wouldn’t really be needing to reach out to patients outside the hospital but he will definitely require substantial social media engagement to connect with patients in future.
How can you harness digital media for improved prospects?
One of the biggest advantages to be derived by physicians is the ability to connect with colleagues and work on their diagnostic skills. Plus physicians can always access informative medical journals, discussions on therapies and medical blog posts to bolster medical knowhow.
The figures don’t lie!
As per a survey, 76% of the 153 Dutch physicians were found using Twitter to reach out to colleagues and 71% used the social networking sites to update colleagues about their work. Pathologists are greatly found to share images with patients, colleagues and with general public. Then there are professional medical organizations that utilize social media to promote specialty and educate patients. American College for Chest Physicians is one such example.
So, in short, it should be noted that doctors do have a lot of online avenues to extend their reach – irrespective of whether they are looking to educate patients or forge professional relations with them.