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A Physician's Perspective: Meaningful Use of Health Technology

Aug 16 2012   8:47PM GMT

Mobile medical apps are making doctors more social online



Posted by: DrJosephKim
Mobile devices, social media

I don’t mean to suggest that doctors in general are anti-social. Most doctors are actually very social because they have to constantly chat with patients and their family members all the time. Because doctors are so busy these days, they don’t get much time to socialize with other doctors outside of their immediate practice. However, those using mobile medical apps are actually becoming more social online. Here’s why: Doctors are sharing information about challenging or interesting patients using secure mobile medical apps that are designed for this type of collaboration. Examples include Doximity, QuantiaMD, and Sermo. Physicians can take a photo of a rash and share that image with colleagues to get input. They can also use these apps to teach each other about an interesting clinical scenario. Physicians are naturally very curious people, so when you introduce a challenging photo, they tend to jump right in to see if they can figure it out. Mobile medical apps are also leveraging standard social networking websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to draw physicians into open conversations about certain products and services. As an example, some of the EHR Facebook pages have a lot of activity where physicians are posting comments, questions, praises, or complaints about certain features (or lack of) and they are chatting with other colleagues. Physicians are also joining forums and discussing how they are using certain mobile medical apps to improve their clinical workflow. Patients who are using certain mobile medical or health apps are engaging their doctors with interesting data. They may be recording their blood sugars if they have diabetes. Those with migraines are logging their headaches and presenting this data to their doctors. The communication is turning digital and doctors are being forced to get more social with these patients online. Docs who are into using the latest mobile medical apps are now learning about these novel apps through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. They’re getting more engaged with social media as they get drawn to these useful apps that are helping them care for their patients. These docs are also asking many questions regarding these apps and they are leaning on forums and other social networking platforms to get their questions answered. Like everyone else, doctors are using their mobile devices to stay connected like never before. In the past, doctors would have a difficult time keeping up with their emails. Now, they can check their messages during breaks, between patients, during lunch, etc. It’s exciting to see how the mobile health ecosystem is maturing and reaching new levels every year. As new mobile devices enter the marketplace, we’re sure to see even greater utilization and adoption among a wide range of doctors who will need to become more social as they use these mobile medical apps.

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