Social media and healthcare : an overview

Eckler, Petya and Worsowicz, Gregory and Rayburn, J. Wesley (2010) Social media and healthcare : an overview. PM&R, 2 (11). pp. 1046-1050.

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Abstract

In our “e-society,” social media are pervasive, rapidly evolving, and increasingly influencing the health care landscape. In fact, it is becoming more important that all health care providers understand the basic function of social media processes including what they are, who uses them, what they can be used for, and how they might affect one's practice. Social media are now integrated in many individuals' daily routines, and there is no question that social media are changing the way patients communicate with each other. For example, patients compare notes on support groups, new investigations, treatments, and even physicians and thus continue to take an active role in their health care [1]. With the continued growth of social media, physicians in practice and health care delivery organizations must understand this phenomenon and how it may be used in a positive way to connect with patients. It is beyond the scope of this article to explore in detail the types, uses, and impact of social media, but the authors will present a brief overview that covers the basics of how social media are being used in health care and beyond.