The Role of Social Media in Medicine

Tweets, posts, blogs, snaps. Social media is pervasive in today’s culture, and medicine is no exception. Common uses of social media by physicians include connecting with patients, growing a professional network, and disseminating information. What do you think the role of social media in healthcare is?

There are a multitude of beneficial applications for social media in healthcare, however there are also some significant concerns including issues of privacy, professionalism, and maintaining the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.

One such issue is documented in a recent study that looked at social media use among physicians from a different perspective: Are physicians who use social media skewed by payments from pharmaceutical companies? The study team found that 72% of hematologist-oncologists who were active on Twitter also received payments from drug companies. Despite the limitations this study, it questions whether physicians should be required to report conflicts of interest when using social media. 

Do you think physicians using social media should be required to disclose conflicts of interest? How do you think physician use of social media should be regulated? How do you use social media and what are the impacts (both good and bad)?