Have you ever Googled a medical symptom? Posted in an online forum before visiting your general practitioner? Used social media to voice an opinion about a healthcare provider or speak about your personal experiences? For many people, turning to the Internet (especially social media) has become a natural way to seek quick answers and discuss medical matters, and the increasing reliance on “Dr. Google” has altered the way that people engage with clinicians.
In addition to changes in Internet usage and communication patterns within patient groups, a large number of clinicians have developed their own digital cultures and communities. In fact, medical communities are extremely active, and tend to make use of a large variety of communication channels. Through personal blogs, Twitter chats (e.g., MD Chat and #hcsm), and professional social media networks likeBMJ’s doc2doc, clinicians are increasingly talking online.