Targeted Marketing Therapy

The prescription to help oncologists understand and use marketing, social media and more.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Questions that Need – and Get – Answers; Getting Started with Quora

You spend a great deal of your time answering questions.


Questions on treatment recommendations, diagnoses, research, palliative care, prognoses, medications, and countless other topics.


Several of my recent posts have focused on sharing information and answering questions in social media to enrich the physician-patient dialogue and even facilitate conversation on difficult topics.  We all know that empowered patients do their homework online nowadays, and it’s far easier for people to become educated behind a veil of anonymity rather than have a difficult conversation directly from the start.


However, in some cases, open conversation is also a therapeutic remedy.  For example, have you used Quora yet?


Quora has been somewhat of a hot topic over the last few months, as the site’s post-a-question-get-multiple-answers format has fueled both intrigue and interest across the globe.  It’s literally that simple – you post a question, and anyone on the site can post an answer.  You can also search for the answer to a question you have that may have already been answered, or you can post answers to questions yourself. 


Because of that unique format, Quora is a little different from other social sites in various ways.

·    It offers a slightly more complete user profile than Twitter, for those that take advantage of it (here’s mine, for example) – this lets other users more easily assess your qualifications and knowledge.

·    It offers a rich and robust type-to-search functionality, which makes it easy to filter down content to the most relevant information.

·    It has a high number of professional and business users, and the answers to posted questions tend to come from mostly high-qualified individuals (depending on your own criteria, of course).


Quora is certainly worth your time to check out, as the site holds a treasure-trove of information for all stakeholders in the oncology care continuum.  Other social sites connect oncology professionals in meaningful ways – read how and why here – yet Quora allows users to easily exchange a far greater depth of content.  It’s more LinkedIn Groups or Sermo than it is Twitter.


And that adds up to a powerful array of information for everyone – patients, analysts, researchers, administrators, and insurers.  And of course, it allows for powerful interactions between clinicians.


Just check out the dynamic information exchange that takes place in the answers posted to the following questions.


·    Should the empowered patient be considered an expert in their own disease?

·    What are some ways to help somebody deal with breast cancer?

·    How important is a primary care physician?


There are responses from patients, physicians, and others alike.  Like anything else nowadays, it requires you to apply a personal filter to what you read.  And certainly you can find deep information elsewhere online, not to mention notably quicker in many cases.  Yet Quora adds a personal and customized aspect to the information you get, and that’s quite valuable.


Post a question.  Post a response.  Check it out.