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Social Media: A “Complete Waste of Time” for Most Doctors?

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

It seems that our recent post, If We Trust Doctors with Sharp Instruments, We Can Trust Them with Social Media, ignited some lively discussions among healthcare marketing professionals on LinkedIn.

As a bit of background, the big idea behind our “If We Trust Doctors” post is that social media has taken a leadership role in healthcare marketing, and while some doctors remain distant to the idea, other doctors have embraced it. The post names 10 healthcare providers who actively use social media and, we think, represent role models for other practitioners.

Our “good guy” list isn’t exhaustive, of course. There are many other outstanding examples, including our previous spotlight of professionals that we cited in: Best Practices: Doctor Role Models (for Other Docs) in a Social Media World.

Social media is a complete waste of time for most doctors…

LinkedIn readers offered some “Likes” and brief comments, but the LinkedIn Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) professional notes were particularly interesting. Dike Drummond, MD, (Seattle) was clear:

I believe that social media is a complete waste of time for most doctors. Bottom line: 
If you make your money seeing patients who are covered by insurance, you are probably wasting your time learning Twitter.
Dike Drummond MD

In our experience (and that of many doctors), Twitter benefits healthcare practices and professionals. But to be clear about our blog posts, a Twitter account is not the same as a well-considered marketing plan. For that matter, Twitter or other social media may not be useful in every practice situation.

Above all, the Internet, and social media in particular, benefit patients and the patient-provider relationship. A Seattle area pediatrician, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, was interviewed about her life with social media in this article. Among her comments, she wrote:

“Doctors can contribute to social media by simply joining networks, following on Twitter, or starting a blog. Lending opinion, transparently sharing expertise, and disseminating science will change the social media landscape. I believe, through social media, physicians can improve the health of communities.

“Social media gives and gives and gives. Physicians can use it to keep up to date. And understand diverse (divergent?) perspectives. Social media provides a stream of information, updates, and opinions that can both educate docs in real time and keep them abreast of research, expertise, and resources. Physicians can network, connect, and work more effectively in the fight against global illness and suffering.”

A complete waste of time? Well, not so for everyone. What do you think? Your comments and experience with social media are welcome below.

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