Facebook study reveals deeper penetration of social media into healthcare than most would have predicted.
Patients seem more willing to adopt social media platforms that healthcare professionals.
It seems that patients will classify certain health related problems according to social acceptability, fears of retribution by friends, or employers or merely embarrassment.
STDs appear to be highest on the list followed by cancer, neurologic problems such as aging, dementia, or mild strokes and/or memory loss. Some parents do not want their children to know about serious or potentially fatal illnesses..
During my own social media contact with people (not my own patients) they will often inquire about their illnesses and express a desire to contact their physicians office for an initial encounter, even before a telephone contact.
Their may be several factors operating.
1. It offers bypassing clerical personnel, either by shortcutting a wait on the telephone, via telephone triage. It also offers after hours communications.
2. It depersonalizes the initial contact with a non-medical person, who they do not want to know about a personal problem.
3. Some have expressed a brief social media contact with the doctor would alleviate anxiety while waiting for an appointment.
4. Some perceive a professional social media contact as an act of caring and would offer a means of expressing anxiety, which might facilitate an earlier office visit.
5. The acceptance of these forms of communication have been limited by the feds. Ethics have been replaced with law.
6..Google + hangouts it turns out is not a secure platform, nor would an application on top of it be secure.