Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rock-Solid Case for Social Media in Medicine: Behavior Modification

In a minute 40 seconds, I present one unbeatable answer to the need for social media in medicine.

I would love to be a family doc with a list of my obese patients who follow me on Twitter as I encourage them to maintain the diet and exercise plan I have them on, as well as share their progress with each other.

I would have my patients that are trying to kick smoking talking to each other and me, and I would facilitate sharing of tips and traps among my patients with diabetes.

Check out more about behavior modification from the American Academy of Family Physicians and see for yourself how amenable these goals are to social media.


Anne Marie said...

Hello again! Great to see you continue the series. I am here to challenge as usual. Perhaps the reason people fail at behaviour change isn't because they aren't getting tweets from their doctor(or any other kind of contact) but because an individual model of behavioural change ignores the wider impact of our friends, families, work, culture, on what we do. Here is an interesting model of 'whole person recovery'from the addictions field- where MI also emerged from.
How might social media work to increase capital in this model?

astupple said...

Anne Marie,

I LOVE it! Wow, what a great resource- I'm passing this along to my friend who has a great interest in addiction psychiatry within family medicine (I'm assuming there's a parallel to family medicine in the UK?...)

I am a devotee of these integral, holistic approaches (are you familiar with the work of philosopher Ken Wilber, by chance?).

Interestingly, I think this reinforces my point. An effective doctor needs to add his/her voice to the patient during very many decision points as they confront their friends, families, work etc, rather than just be this voice they here when they go for a checkup.

It's not just the doctor, it's connecting the patient to all these other patients who are attempting behavior modification as well, so social media is invaluable because it works on the social part of the patient instead of just the part that sees their doc occasionally.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to comment!


conrad said...

The notion of quick, easy interaction with one's physician is difficult to comprehend. Doctors seem so busy now. If we can mechanize some of the simpler treatments (a la your "2 cents in 90 seconds" post), then perhaps this is feasible. But given an outlet to one's physician via a tool such as Instant Messenger (I'm not sure where Twitter makes an appearance in ANY of this), I think that doctors would quickly become consumed with people that find it quite convenient to shoot little messages over. Frankly, the required activation energy for seeking advice would be too low and too many people would actually take part in this behavior and doctor's busy-ness would increase exponentially.