Best Practices: Doctor Role Models (for Other Docs) in a Social Media World

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Red social media crossword blocksDoctors and patients are, like most of America, deeply immersed in the use of the Internet as an immediate connection between themselves and just about anything they want to know. Unfortunately, it's often a one-way street.

Most physicians recognize the online healthcare marketing opportunities, but some still steer clear of online interaction with the public, especially patients or prospective patients. (For more on that, see our earlier post, The Frightening Social Media Gap in Doctor Marketing.)

The public embrace…

On the public side, consumers have embraced online healthcare info. In fact, they like the idea, they use it…and they want more, according to the folks at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Among the findings, the comprehensive PwC report tells us:

  • One third of consumers now use social media sites for health-related activities;
  • 40% of consumers have sought out reviews of treatments, physicians, and other patient experiences;
  • 45% of consumers say information from social media sources would affect their decisions;
  • 73% would welcome social media-based tools like make an appointment, or ask a question – but expect a quick response;
  • 54% are comfortable with their doctors using online physician communities for advice related to their health situation; and
  • Consumers are significantly more likely to trust social media information from their doctors or hospital, and less likely to trust insurers or drug companies.

Five Role Model Doctors You’ll Find Online…

We can’t think of a more compelling case example for online healthcare interaction and patient engagement than to spotlight doctors who are role models for their professional peers. Our list is by no means exhaustive—there are many others—but these doctors are some of the best we’ve seen via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Dr. Wes Musings in the life of an internist, cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC [@doctorwes] is a board certified internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. He entered the blog-o-sphere in November, 2005.

Seattle Mama Doc A mom, a pediatrician, and her insights about keeping your kids healthy.

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE [@SeattleMamaDoc] A practicing pediatrician and the mother of two young boys, Dr. Swanson sees patients at The Everett Clinic in Mill Creek, WA, and is on the medical staff at Seattle Children’s. She is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Howard J. Luks, 2.0 Digital Strategist, Chief Medical Officer

Howard Luks is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with offices in Westchester and Dutchess Counties, NY.  At New York Medical College he is an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery. At University Orthopedics and Westchester Medical Center he is the Chief of Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy.

Ves Dimov, MD 

Dr. Dimov, Chicago, IL, [@DrVes] is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Chicago, Allergist/Immunologist and Internist. He is a former NEJM Advisory Panel Member, and has written about how doctors can use social media as an extension of their communication skills to provide valuable information to patients.

33 charts medicine. health. (social) media

Bryan Vartabedian, MD, FAAP, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and an attending physician at Texas Children’s Hospital. His bio reads in part, [Since 2006] “I’ve been an active witness to the social health revolution and its influence on doctors and patients.  I write about the intersection of medicine, social media and technology here.”

The Internet and social media are tools for patient and provider interaction…and often, where continuing relationships begin. Our list is growing, and we welcome your nomination of other doctor role models. Let us know who you would recommend and we'll plan a followup post with more examples of excellence from a social media (medical) world.

And for more on this topic, read Our 3 Top Reasons Why Doctors Need to Keep an Open Mind About Social Media.

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