As you can tell, one of the popular themes in this blog is me being an evangelist for social media. It’s not just that I think it’s cool or cutting-edge, so I want you to join to be in the “in” crowd. I’ve seen first-hand its value to the greater oncology world in terms of sharing information, and I know the personal value to professionals throughout medicine, academia and education.
Want some proof of that? Well here it comes.
I asked a few prominent health care, oncology, and education thought-leaders to provide an answer to this question: What was your initial “I get it” moment for social media?
In other words, what caused them to realize that social media changed the game for healthcare professionals in terms of allowing them to share information, dialogue with peers, empower patients with knowledge, and build a strong network.
I think these insights are important for anyone who hasn’t yet embraced social media. Everyone needs that moment when they first realize its value, when they first realize the broad scope of experts and intelligence you can find.
Kevin Pho, MD, KevinMd.com, @KevinMD, Contributor to USA Today, CNN.com, New York Times: “When Vioxx was recalled in 2004, doctors couldn't keep up with the changing recommendations that were prompted by the drug recall, and patients wanted to know immediately how the recall affected their arthritis treatment. I realized then that blogging, and social media in general, is a uniquely powerful platform where doctors can dynamically provide necessary physician context that can keep up with the pace of breaking medical news.”
Brian S. McGowan, PhD, @cmeadvocate, Director, Medical Education Group, Oncology, Pfizer, Inc.; Chair of Emerging Technologies in Education Committee for the Alliance of CME: “For years I have been asking health care providers two questions: What do you like best about national conferences and medical meetings in general? and, Where do you turn when you have a question in practice? The most popular answers to the first question are: the hallway conversations, peer feedback, and networking. The most popular answers to the latter question are: ask a colleague or call a peer.
"The common theme is that, whether they realize it or not, healthcare providers rely heavily on social learning. With the myriad of social media channels available, it seems that health care providers will eventually recognize the learning value in these technologies -- the question is, can we afford to wait for serendipity? I think not.”
Anas Younes, MD, @DrAnasYounes, Professor of Cancer Medicine and Director of Clinical and Translational Research for Lymphoma/Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “I felt that using social media was necessary to communicate directly with patients, caregivers, and doctors to provide them with timely updates on our high-priority clinical trials and to provide them with a credible source of information on lymphoma and cancer.”
Lawrence Sherman, FACME, CCMEP, @meducate, Senior Vice President, Educational Strategy, Prova Education: “I realized that social media was integrally important to CME when I was able to engage various educational stakeholders: learners, patients, and even potential commercial supporters, appropriately and quickly through social media.
"What solidified this was using social media tools throughout the development, implementation, and evaluation of CME activities. And this was further supplemented by the continued growth of the LinkedIn CME Group that continues to grow and be a platform for CME professionals to discuss and debate topics related to CME using a social media platform.”
Bertalan Meskó, MD, @Berci, Managing Director, Webicina.com; External Advisor, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media: “It was when I first saw a doctor's case who used social media resources and more and more patients started to find him through these. When I first saw how easy it is to keep myself up-to-date with crowdsourcing. When I first realized the potential of medical communities through education and meetings in the virtual worlds.”
I invite you to follow the conversation online now --search Twitter for the hastag #hcsm to learn a ton about what’s taking place in healthcare and social media, and search #SoMeCME to engage with dynamic individuals who are discussing the future of social media and continuing medical education.