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Using Social Media in Oncology

Using Social Media in Oncology | Digital Health | Scoop.it

The increasing popularity and use of social media in medicine offers great opportunities for healthcare professionals and their institutions to interact with patients and colleagues at a pace that has never before been possible. For oncologists, the variety of web-based and mobile technologies that make up social media allow for patient education and authoritative health messaging. Professional development and knowledge sharing, as well as increased direct patient interaction, are other attributes of these technologies. However, while social media offers great potential in healthcare, oncologists must be aware of the possible legal and privacy issues that come along with its use.

The Value of Social Media

According to Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, the immediate past-chair and member of the Integrated Media and Technology Committee from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), social media lends itself specifically to oncology for the very reason that the field appears to be evolving quickly. “Determining the social media outlets that present the most benefit to oncologists depends on each practitioner’s needs,” he says (Table 1).

Twitter appears to hold significant value for oncologists, explains Dr. Dizon, who was also the lead author of an article published in the Journal of Oncology Practice that provides clinicians with guidance on using social media in oncology. “This is primarily because users have the ability to preselect individuals to follow to suit their own specific needs,” he says. “Users can also create lists to further streamline tweeted content. I have separate lists for people who tweet about their experiences with cancer, cancer centers, news disseminators, and colleagues.” Dr. Dizon adds that one of the best uses of Twitter is for following breaking news and plenary presentations from medical conferences by utilizing specialized Twitter feeds. These feeds consist of followers attending the conference who provide their own take on study abstracts.

 

Dr. Dizon says that blogging is another useful way to engage with colleagues. “The feedback provided from other professionals is useful in receiving another point of view on a given topic,” he says. “Those bloggers who write well or cover hard-hitting topics can also be picked up by wider-circulated platforms, providing them with great exposure and further feedback on certain topics.”

Issues of Concern When Using Social Media

When using social media, all healthcare providers should be cautious of HIPAA regulations, says Dr. Dizon. “It’s important to understand that once something is posted online, it can’t necessarily be taken back. Therefore, all posts should be kept as general as possible, especially if they involve clinical scenarios. In addition, anything posted to a social media site is potentially discoverable, even with the highest level privacy protection settings. Depending on the nature of the content, posts have the potential to hurt a provider’s professional reputation.”

After reviewing the social media policies and guidelines of 35 professional medical entities, including the American Medical Association, Dr. Dizon and colleagues from ASCO discovered several common, important concepts in the application of social media (Table 2). “Oncologists should be clear about who owns the activity seen in their social media posts,” Dr. Dizon explains. “For example, when posting to an institution’s blog, it’s important to note whether you’re speaking for the institution or expressing your own viewpoint.” To that point, he feels it is critical to not merge professional and personal social media accounts or blogs. “There’s a risk that the boundary between doctors and patients becomes blurry. Furthermore, it increases risks for encountering HIPAA compliance issues.”

Disclosing relationships and conflicts of interest is important for putting social media postings into context, especially when sharing study results. Dr. Dizon says providing a medical opinion should be done with caution, particularly if it involves engaging with out-of-state patients, which state and professional licensure requirements may not allow. Also, it is vital to know what the clinician’s institution is willing to cover in the event that he or she is accused of breaking patient confidentiality laws.

The Bottom Line: Sharing Medical Knowledge

“It is in our best interests as oncologists to be aware of, if not actively engage in, social media to improve how we care for patients,” says Dr. Dizon. “The technology can increase how medical knowledge is shared with the rest of the world. At the same time, it’s critical to be careful. Social media users must respect privacy laws, keep professional and personal activities separate, and be cognizant of their organization’s social media policies to protect what can be a great asset to us.”


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7 social networking rules for doctors

7 social networking rules for doctors | Digital Health | Scoop.it

Most doctors frequently use social media for both personal and professional purposes. That’s creating new risks for hospitals. 

Using social networking sites can have many benefits for healthcare providers. For example, many hospitals and doctors are using Facebook, Twitter and other sites to:

market their services and attract new patientspromote general health and wellness, andrecruit employees.

On top of those business uses, doctors, nurses and other healthcare employees do a lot of personal social networking, just like people in any other industry. But in healthcare, social media comes with a unique set of risks.

For instance, employees may post information online that violates patient privacy. Even doctors, who should know better, can be careless when it comes to social networking activity — 6% of Twitter posts made by physicians could constitute a breach of patient privacy, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.

Guidelines for docs

To avoid those problems, it’s important that doctors and others know some guidelines for positive social networking. Apparently, issues are becoming common enough that state agencies are now creating rules on social media for doctors.

For example, Rhode Island’s medical licensing board recently approved a set of guidelines for theappropriate use of social media in medical practices.

The nuts and bolts of the rules: Doctors will be held accountable for what they post to social media sites.

These are some of the specific guidelines, which are good to follow for medical professionals in all states:

Doctors should have separate personal and professional accounts.Doctors should avoid interacting with current or previous patients using a personal account, and those interactions should only directly relate to the person’s care.Photos of patients should never be posted.Medical professionals should never post any information about a specific patient that could in any way be traced back to the person.Information about the organization should be accurate and up to date.General medical information should be accurate and not ambigious or able to be taken out of context.Doctors should behave in a professional manner at all times, even when they aren’t discussing actual work.

Examples of social media mistakes

While appropriate social networking may seem like it should be common sense for doctors and other medical professionals, the report from the Rhode Island medical board points out some examples of mistakes clinicians might make:

As part of a marketing effort, a hospital posts a video including clips of real patients being treated. If any patients’ faces are visible, that would constitute a violation of privacy.A doctor vents frustrations about patients who fail to take medication or take other steps, using disparaging language about one patient in particular. Even if the person isn’t identified, the patient could find the post and know who is being discussed.A physician frequently discusses “partying” on a personal Facebook page. A patients sees the posts and becomes worried about whether the doctor will be sober during office visits.

What gets doctors in trouble

As social networking use becomes more frequent and the risks become more apparent, more states are cracking down on inappropriate social media use by healthcare providers, according a study from researchers at the University of California San Francisco published earlier this year.

Researchers surveyed members of 48 state medical boards and asked them about 10 hypothetical situations and whether they would be likely to warrant an investigation for unprofessional conduct.

This is how the board members ranked the potential social media mistakes:

Making misleading claims about treatment outcomes (81% said that would spark an investigation)Inappropriately contacting patients or using their photos (79%)Using an online dating site to interact with a patient (77%)Posting photos or status updates depicting alcohol intoxication (73%)Misrepresenting credentials (71%)Violating patient confidentiality (65%)Posting discriminatory speech (60%)Posting derogatory speech about a patient (46%)Depicting alcohol consumption without clear signs of intoxication (40%)Discussing clinical work without violating patient confidentiality (16%)
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The Ultimate QuantifiedSelf Device Already Exists: A Defibrillator

The Ultimate QuantifiedSelf Device Already Exists: A Defibrillator | Digital Health | Scoop.it
Heart patients already have the holy grail of the quantified-self movement running inside of them. If only they had access to the data.

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When Social Media Isn't Enough - Business 2 Community

When Social Media Isn't Enough - Business 2 Community | Digital Health | Scoop.it

Social media has multiplied the reach of brands everywhere, but data shows that this is not the best place to build deep relationships with customers. Although exposure is great, customers want a brand they can trust and this trust is gained when customers are so satisfied that they want to tell the world. Social media is a great starting place for customers to discover a brand, but there is more work to be done after this point. In this infographic by Get Satisfaction, data shows that 46% of customers vent their frustration with a company online. On the bright side, 97% of these disputes can transform unhappy customers into advocates for the company when customer service is proactive. Check out more valuable data below, where you will learn more ways to spread the word about your brand’s content. Learn how to turn customers into advocates who will turn onlookers into more customers. Read more at http://www.business2community.com/infographics/social-media-isnt-enough-0673167#BOTtdH0PvBPhczje.99


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