Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Medicine: Using Social Media to Connect, Learn and Teach

It just sort of started.  Facebook, MySpace, YouTube suddenly showed up in conversation and then on my monitor. I don't remember the moment or the person who inspired me to take the plunge, but here I am using social media all over the place and there's still more. I added Twitter in late 2009 a few months after LinkedIn, which I actually signed into in 2008 when a nephew emailed me to connect with him on LinkedIn.  It's tough to find my user ID and password sometimes because there are so many sites. Worse if I haven't used one in a while like MySpace where my cousin, Sara has some great songs recorded.

The blog as Dr Synonymous started in April, 2010, followed by BlogTalk Radio in June.  Now they feed each other.  I blog the show outline and links so people can tell what might be on the podcast of the show before they listen.
The superphone happened in May, connecting me to the Internet and SM everywhere, even at the in-laws farm in Farmersville, OH (which is, to say the least, out in the country).

The people are the amazing part of SM use.  So many and so interesting and so many who share my interests, especially in family medicine and helping others.
Now I have about 175 friends on Facebook representing family, friends, family medicine, and West Point friends.  I look twice daily to peruse how folks are doing. I post my new blog posts and announce my blogtalk radio show on my Facebook page.  I wish relatives happy birthday and comment on posts of close relatives when big events occur. I may prod a grand-niece or grand-nephew about the time of day if they are hanging out on FB late into the nite (midnight to 1 AM).

Twitter is dynamite for bits of information screened per unit of time. I follow less than 100 people and entities, perusing them for info about health care, diseases, health care policy, etc. A weird one is asteroids, showing near misses of objects in space with earth.  I tweet all of my blog posts and my Dr Synonymous blogtalk radio shows so followers can just click on the link and see or hear the particular Dr Synonymous information.

LinkedIn is useful for professional connections with people in groups I joined, including professional organizations like the AMA, AAFP, etc. and past experiences such as Ranger, Airborne, Service Academy Graduates, Ohio State University, etc.  Others are future oriented such as Health 2.0, Innovation, Personalized Medicine, Patient Centered Medical Home, etc. I link my blog and blogtalk radio show into LinkedIn when appropriate for groups that may have an interest in the content.  The Dr Synonymous blog can always be reached from my Home page on LinkedIn.

I peruse lots of potential information daily and open a lot less info for in depth review. The useful info I tweet back for my followers on Twitter and/or email important articles to colleagues as indicated.

The weekly commitment to the Dr Synonymous Show on BlogTalk Radio every Tuesday night from 8-9 PM ET drives the rhythm of my sustained use of Social Media.  Family Medicine is dependent on patients for our existence, so I honor patients on each show, usually by reviewing a patient blog or two.  Their stories are great reminders about how illness and disease impact peoples lives and about how resilient people are.
I also discuss a physician blog or two and some medical information (the new flu shots, what vitamins may be helpful for health, etc.)  then some information sources that may help patients.

An interview with an educator, thought leader, physician leader or family medicine supporter is part of the show every two or three weeks. It takes a couple hours weekly to organize and support the show.  All of the shows are saved as podcasts that can be downloaded or listened to 24/7 by anyone.

Other SM people are very helpful citizens of the SM community.  Friends such as fellow family doctors Doctor Anonymous (the medical wizard of SM who does it all) and Jill of All Trades, patient bloggers such as  WarmSocks, SeaSpray, ThatsWhatSheSaid helped to promote my SM sites.

The wildest SM activity so far is the tweet chat on Sunday nights with #HCSM  (Healthcare Communication and Social Media) which includes forty to 80 of a possible 190 group members tweeting for one hour in response to two or three questions posed by a moderator.  It's like "drinking from a firehose" of tweets and information.

So, I'm an accidental social media citizen, hoping to learn and help others, especially seeking to help the cause of family medicine which serves so many.  As the need to "go viral" to bypass the sludge of the Medical Industrial Complex increases, the SM is a great way to get it done for the good of all.  Hi Tech, Hi Touch.  We need to make more time for the Hi Touch, paradoxically the Hi Tech becomes one way to make it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment