Using Social Media (and the DOC) to Gain Clinical Insight

I was invited by Harriot Hopf, anesthesiologist at the University of Utah to speak about how I use social media as a clinician. This presentation was given at the University of Utah “Social Media and Your Career” Mentoring for U workshop on 03/06/12. The featured guest at this workshop was Lee Aase, social media expert from the Mayo Clinic. A copy of the presentation can be accessed here (my first Prezi!), below is an overview of what I had to say.

Social media can be complex and cumbersome. However, if used effectively, healthcare providers can become more educated, and perhaps more compassionate clinicians.  There are two ways in which I have been able to use Medicine 2.0 applications to gain clinical insight: tracking research and information generated by other health care professionals, and reading about the healthcare experience from the patient perspective.

There are lots of great social media sites to access the knowledge base of other health professionals. From a research perspective, Mendeley and ResearchGate provide me with the ability to access original research and connect with other researchers on topics that interest me. Mendeley is a free, open source reference manager and academic social network that can helps to organize research articles. Others can access the PDF or link to the articles you like, and collaborate with you should they feel there is common ground. ResearchGate is a free social networking site for researchers. This site is a great way to generate discussions with others who are interested in similar research topics. You are notified if there are any new articles posted in the interest areas you select, allowing you to be up to date on the latest research.

Clinically speaking, there are numerous Medicine 2.0 applications that can be helpful to clinicians. As a diabetes specialist, I focus my efforts on areas that will help me be a better healthcare provider. From a general healthcare perspective, there are useful blogs that I access (KevinMD, ScienceRoll, while I’m not focused on pediatrics Seattle Mama Doc is good example). On Twitter I access information from professional organizations, major healthcare centers, other professionals involved with diabetes care, and individuals who actually have diabetes to stay up to date on the latest in diabetes care. While not always actively participating, I learn invaluable nuggets of information, just by reading what others have to say.

Following individuals who have diabetes provides me with perspective that cannot be obtained through other means. Sure I know how to carbohydrate count, test a blood sugar on various devices, inject insulin using a pen or syringe, and have worn all of the insulin pump and sensors. However, I have never personally experienced diabetes, I don’t have it. Sure I have friends and family who have/had diabetes, but I don’t see those individuals every day. Through individuals personally connected to diabetes who share tweets, blogs, vlogs, and discussion board postings, I better learn the day-to-day nuances, frustrations , and victories related to having diabetes. This is a side of diabetes I never saw in the clinical setting. Having this knowledge, provided me with a different level of compassion and understanding for what it is like to live with diabetes every day. Additionally, it helped me become more effective in my visits with patients in the clinic. Finally, it’s become a place where I can ask questions. What are the most useful diabetes mobile applications? What have been some frustrations with being diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with LADA? While there are a number of individuals I credit to unknowingly teaching me about life with diabetes, here are a few that I have been following since the beginning:

I was able to share with the audience information about Tony Rose who tweeted about his experience with getting a new continuous glucose monitoring system, how Mike Lawson’s Diabetes Police video has informed the way I practice and talk to patients about those who police their diabetes, and the rich information that can be learned from Diabetes Mine, including Kim Vlasnik’s contribution to the Sunday Funnies. Finally, I was able to share the diabetes related hashtags (#diabetes, #dsma, #bgnow, #CGM to name a few) I follow. These hashtags provide me additional insight about what is going on in diabetes care. I especially find the #dsma tweetchats rewarding and invaluable.

Through social media, I am able to gain clinical insight from many perspectives of healthcare. Particularly valuable is the insight I have gained from learning from patients. I strongly feel that I am a better healthcare provider for it. I encourage other healthcare providers to seek out social media applications to see if they feel they are benefiting as much as I do!


6 thoughts on “Using Social Media (and the DOC) to Gain Clinical Insight

  1. Sounds like a fantastic talk, and I loved the presentation too (nicely done for your first Prezi!).

    I’m glad you had an opportunity to meet Lee – he’s an incredible person and is doing fantastic things for social media in health care. I feel lucky to have him here in my home state (though the Mayo Clinic is a couple hours away).

  2. What a great presentation! I wonder how it went and what the reaction was from the audience.

    I really wish more experts were involved in social media because it gives an uncut view into real-living with diabetes. If you ever want to talk or have questions, I’d love to chat. Thanks Michelle!

    • Tony, Thank you for being part of my presentation! I feel that it was very well received. It is important to note that this was a HCP crowd interested in social media enough to attend a workshop. It would be interesting to see the reaction of other audiences.

      I would love to chat, Thank you for offering! I will contact you via Twitter this weekend.

  3. Pingback: Twitcidents and Pros of being a Wikipedian « ScienceRoll

  4. Pingback: Using Social Media (and the DOC) to Gain Clinical Insight | Technically Business

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