Improving outcomes by engaging in social media

March 24, 2015

Cardiologists should get involved with social media and set the standard for the medical industry, said Kevin R. Campbell, MD, at the 2015 ACC conference.

“The time to get involved in social media is now,” said Kevin R. Campbell, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC speaking at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting. “We must take ownership of our own cyber footprint and utilize social media as a powerful tool to influence opinion, educate patients, and improve outcomes.”

Speaking to cardiologists and other healthcare professionals during a session entitled “Using Social Media in Medicine to Improve Outcomes,” Campbell urged participants to get involved with using social media and setting the standard for the medical industry.

He spoke on various social media applications and the use of social media as a tool for physicians and patients to improve outcomes of care. Citing Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and You Tube as successful social media that reach a wide audience, Campbell described ways that social media can be applied in medicine. For providers and healthcare systems, social media can be used for market development and outreach, public relations and advertising, to establish national recognition, and to become a recognized source for press opportunities.

Social media can also be used to provide support to and share experiences among patients and physicians. For example, Twitter chats can provide a forum for disease-specific support groups as well as a way to recommend specific treatments and physicians to patients. Blogs by patients describing their experience can be used by physicians to learn from their patients.

“Social media is all about the patient,” he said. “It is all about making connections and developing relationships. An engaged patient is a patient who will experience a much better outcome.”

Campbell also talked about emerging applications of social media, including use of social media in clinical trials for recruitment, rapid reporting of adverse events, facilitating communication among investigators, and resolving deviations in protocols.

However, emphasizing that regulatory agencies have strict guidelines on advertising of clinical trials, he said that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on use of social media for advertising for clinical trials is still in development.