Understanding necessary services: Social media becomes another outlet for physicians and their practices to determine what services work best for their patients. The article provides examples of physicians who use trending social media and online content to interact with their patients. Through these interactions, physicians address the 61 percent of patients who say that they trust information posted by physicians on social media. Providing facts directly to your patients also is more effective than patients getting information from other sources that may be inaccurate.
Developing better customer relations: With the virtual world becoming more popular, it is easier for patients to comment on the services provided by a medical practice. Through social media and other online tools, these comments, whether they are good or bad, can spread quickly. Having a virtual presence allows medical practices to respond accordingly and control what is being said about their practice.
Obtaining feedback on medicine and other procedures: Since the majority of patients are using social media it is easy to detect when they are widely receptive to a certain procedure or medication. The article recommends monitoring a certain drug or therapy on social media (for example, follow what is trending on Twitter) to see how patients are reacting to them. Through this interaction, social networking becomes a great source for patients and a resourceful tool for physicians to gain information about alternative and new methods of care. Sending out surveys via social media also has been helpful in providing patient feedback to physicians.
Improving quality of care: Social networking is such a large community that it is easy for medical practices to compare with and learn from other practices. This is useful for practices that are just beginning to use social media. The article reinforces that even though patient interaction is key to a successful social networking experience, it is vital that medical practices maintain patient privacy.
In addition, the article provides survey results that measure the attitude of medical students, resident physicians, and practicing physicians in regards to social media implementation. The article is available on AMA’s website.