Targeted Marketing Therapy

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

3 Reasons Social Media Is a Must for Oncology Professionals (Part 2 of 3)

Welcome to part two of my three-part series on reasons you need to become involved in social media.

Check out my last post below for a refresher on how social media is now a home for the core patient groups and consumers of cancer care services.  Users age 55 and above are not only flocking to social, but they’re actively using the web to research all kinds of health information.

The fact that all age groups are now thoroughly entrenched in social leads us to the second reason why you need to embrace it yourself.

2.   It’s not hard to find and learn from other oncologists and experts.

The “graying” of social media reflected in this Pew Research study means many of your older patients now use social media – yet it also means a great deal of your seasoned colleagues use social too.  All across social networking, there are meaningful conversations between oncology clinicians on everything from new research and medications to health care reform and EMRs, FDA regulations to changes in reimbursements and standards of care.  All you have to do is look.

·         There’s an ever-growing list of physician-bloggers across therapeutic areas.  Some of them, like Kevin Pho of the blog KevinMD have become quite prominent with huge followings and dozens of mainstream media appearances and quotes to their credit.  In addition to reading the blog itself, read the comment sections on posts to see responses, comments, and questions from other clinicians and identify social influencers.

·    Look to physician communities like Sermo to find hundreds of running conversations on various topics specific to cancer care, complete with pictures, polls, case-related challenges, and rich comment sections and back-and-forth discussion between clinicians.

·    Twitter alone has a robust list of oncology experts.  You can easily find ASCO board members (@rsm2800), senior ACS staff (@DrLen), physician-leaders from large cancer centers (@teamoncology), national experts in specific therapeutic areas (@DrAnasYounes), international oncologists (@drsteventucker),  radiologists (@krupali), oncology policy experts (@TedOkonCOA), news from academic medical centers (@MassGeneral News, @MDAndersonNews), oncology media (@OncologyTimes), international causes (@LIVESTRONG), and patient advocates (@heidisa).  Find out their positions on important issues, ask questions, uncover different perspectives.

·    Hundreds of hospitals and health care systems have official social media outposts -- scroll through this list to find ones in your region and  across the country.

In my last post I described a few simple ways you can use the information you learn.  When you’re learning from your peers, it’s even easier to leverage what you glean from social.  I’ve heard about new studies the day they were released, found links to great articles shared by experts, and learned about events for patient-related causes. 

It’s real-time feedback from the front lines of cancer care delivery and policy.

I know from experience that oncologists are much more involved in social than peers in some other therapeutic areas.  All you need to do is look and you’ll find conversation and information that helps you stay informed and make the best decisions for your patients and your practice.