Health Care and Social Media #hcsm #hcr A Breakdown from *the trenches*. Part II

We were busy tonight… after seeing patients we were tabulating poll results and looking deeper into the agism concept that older individuals will not utilize Soc Med with the same zest as younger generations. 

Social Media Update:

Yesterday two patients received notification of an article pertinent to their condition through twitter… I posted the article and emailed them about tweet.  I do not think we can specifically address an article to a patient on twitter without revealing their diagnosis….

Today… One patient showed up with MY LIST I had on this blog a few weeks ago about how to prepare for first appointment with an orthopedist!


Today. 42 ppl answered a poll…. avg age was 41.  Range 15-81….

  1. would you use email to communicate with my office36/42=yes
  2. have you used email to communicate with a physician 8/42=yes
  3. would you use twitter or facebook to communicate with a physician 12/42-= yes
  4. have you used twitter or FB to communicate with physician 1/42=yes
  5. Can Social Media *change* the way medicine is practiced24/42=yes  (seems like an outlier)
  6. Have you used social media specifically (not google search for article) to research a health care topic. 28/42=yes (including an 80 yr old)

Concerns about Soc Media/Email communication: (answers written in, only 25 gave me responses.)

  1. Not sure how to use social media to reach out.
  2. WILL YOU REALLY ANSWER MY EMAILS !!  (they don’t trust that docs will adopt these technologies) — by far, the most interesting answer!
  3. Privacy (a distant third) eg. who else can read my email?  Will you be the one reading/answering my email?  

Email Breakdown

We pulled nearly 100 recent emails:

  • all were *appropriate* for email communication—short concise, easy to answer issues, questions. 
  • One complaint…
  • many used to reschedule appointments, surgery dates.
  • nearly 1/3 used for clarification of discussion we had about disease, procedure, risks, expectations, etc.
  • 12 ppl offered links to articles they thought I might find interesting!!!  Great stuff
  • One programmer editted my website— some nice subtle changes… love it!
  • My secretary believes emails—and my replies— saved her well over 3-4 hours of *work* 
  • Average age was 48…  range 16-80+
  • Patients under 35 interested in return to sports, driving, etc.
  • Patients over 35 concerned with return to work, pain, “any questions I forgot to ask”.  
  • No one person sent more than 3 emails… I have only had one person *abuse* the **priviledge** of email communication. 

Bottom line… social media and email communication in health care is here to stay.  This is only the tippy top of the iceberg.  Who cares if I don’t get paid to answer the email.  In a timely manner I was easily able to address *important* open issues, put patients at ease, offload some of my secretaries incredible workload and allow her to concentrate on activities that drive ROI…. scheduling new patient visits, surgeries, studies, etc.  

Agism— the *elderly* are clearly adopting these technologies and using them wisely.  Do not ignore them if you are considering a soc med campaign!!!  

Lot’s of *work* accomplished today….  



About hjluks

A busy Academic Orthopedic Surgeon, Digital Strategist, Chief Medical Officer and father... intently and efficiently navigating the intersection of Social Media and Health Care.
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2 Responses to Health Care and Social Media #hcsm #hcr A Breakdown from *the trenches*. Part II

  1. OrthoOnc says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your positive review of electronic communication with patients. Your survey mirrors my experience. In five years, I have had only one patient email me inappropriately. Yes, we don’t get paid for email but it sure beats wasted phone time.

  2. Howard Luks says:

    Thanks for the comments. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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