(ED: Great blog post by a Social Media specialist from Oregon, Dan Himnon ( @hivedan).      He covers what we feel is a very important point, that social media for docs is not so much a promotional tool for the practice, but an educational tool for the patient.  Like in the following story, the patient can be educated about their health situation, so that the efficiency of the  visit time is maximized, and the doc can answered questions about their particular health situation, rather than having to explain the health topic.  This is the key.  The same principle is now being used in  Medical Education Program, pioneered by Warren Wiechman MD of UC at Irvine, where the med ed is iPad based, and the med students come to class only to personally interact with the professor, about topics they already studied on their iPad before class)

Posted: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 20:15:23 +0000

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about Dr. Jeff Livingston, an OB/GYN who got hooked on social media when his teenage daughter suggested he launch a My Space page to reach out to high school students who had questions about pregnancy and STDs.


MacArthur OB/GYN is an Irving, TX, medical practice that uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, 4Square, Pinterest and HealthTap to engage with patients.

Most providers ask, “How can they possibly have time to include all that social media in their practice?”

The six-week post-partum visit: What are my options?

Dr. Jeff Livingston, OB/GYN, answers with a specific example:

When a teenage mom comes in for her six-week post-partum visit, a doctor or midwife’s main goal is to determine a birth control plan. That visit may last only 8-10 minutes.

The doctor asks the question, “What do you want to do for birth control?” If she knows nothing, she will say, “What are my options?” Then the provider spends the next eight minutes describing the options.

Your social media and internet strategy pays off

“But what if you use your social media and internet strategy to educate her about birth control the past nine months?” Livingston asks. “Now, if you say, ‘What do you want to do?’ she’ll tell you, ‘I want to do this.’ Then our eight minutes is not spent listing the options. It’s spent answering detailed, high-end questions.

“My life as a doctor got easier, and the care I provided her got better, because she was engaged.

“We’re doing that with urban, teen, pregnant women. That is not an easy demographic to turn into educated health care consumers. But we do it every day, and we’ve been doing it for years now.”

It starts with the early adopters

So why are doctors so reluctant to embrace social media? “It’s true of any technology,” Livingston explains. “You have early adopters who see the future and then you have the masses who understand it once it’s been proven.

“Most people in life understand the concept of investing a small amount of time in some activity that then allows you to reap the rewards over the long term. Doctors just haven’t made the jump that it applies here.”

Watch for our next blogpost: What is HealthTap, anyway? 


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