Social media can protect patients

Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media director Lee Aase, in Sydney last week to address a Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration forum, said failing to embrace the social media trend meant foregoing “an unprecedented opportunity for achieving health benefits”.

“Choosing not to be involved leaves the field to those who may not have the patients’ interests at heart,” Mr Aase told MO.

 “It is the way patients are accessing health information these days. Patients will go online when faced with a health condition, and we need to be there too.”

Mr Aase said social media like Twitter was often misunderstood, but it was “inevitable” GPs and other health professionals would be involved in it.

“People will be talking about you online… and if you have a blog, or Facebook profile, or Twitter account, then you’re much more likely to be engaged in the conversation