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Social Media Increases Health Care’s Sphere of Influence

Who doesn’t have an account on a social media networking site like Twitter or Facebook? Okay, I don’t, but I look over my husband’s shoulder and can see all that I’m missing (and it confirms why I don’t want an account.) Yesterday I wrote about telemedicine and how it is changing the future of health care. Today I found another article on this subject that I couldn’t pass up commenting on. If you are a student earning an ADN degree, you may be interested in this new use of technology.

On Bakersfield.com staff writer Kellie Schmitt interviewed doctor Dr. Milan Shah, who specializes in aesthetic and laser medicine, to find out how Dr. Shah uses social media and the concerns he has about it. “Shah and other health care workers are increasingly promoting their offerings, educating consumers and forming online communities through social media. That’s especially important as one in five Americans is using social media sites such as Facebook as a source of health care information, according to a 2011 National Research Corp. Ticker survey.”

There are some legal precautions that need to be paid special attention to. As with any area of medicine, patient privacy needs to be upheld. Schmitt writes “The goal for health care workers is to ensure their online presence matches their offline attention to federal privacy laws, such as not mentioning or photographing patients without their consent, experts say. It’s also important for practitioners not to give specific medical advice online.

“The pharmaceutical industry faces additional regulations that govern fairness and balance, said Bob Brown, a partner of BryantBROWN Healthcare, a L.A.-based marketing firm. ‘If they tout the benefits of a drug on their Facebook page, they need to give equal space to its risk — even if they’re not the ones posting the comment. The industry is looking to the FDA to publish more definite guidelines’, Brown added.”

These sites are also directed more towards elective surgery or aesthetic procedures since they are paid for out of pocket and not from insurance. “Sometimes, the Facebook sites even turn into impromptu support groups, with new patients expressing their apprehension, and more seasoned ones responding.”

This makes me wonder how nurses will be impacted by this change in practice. Will they spend more time on the internet treating patients and less time face to face? Will Facebook become part of the job such as charting is? How will bedside manner change and how will accountability be monitored? Those in a nursing program in the Bay Area have a lot to look forward to….

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

1 reply
  1. Tinnitus
    Tinnitus says:

    There is no doubt that social media will present a whole host of challenges, some we can’t even imagine yet. On the other hand, I’m sure that it will bring many benefits too to the medical profession and, more importantly, to the patient.

    Really insightful and interesting post, by the way!

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