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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Oct 30 2012   6:55AM GMT

Personalized health care through social media

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Social media

There continues to be significant challenges in communication and staying in touch between physician and patients, as today’s physicians see an increasing number of patients with chronic disease and are required to create personalized treatment plans that may require the collaboration and coordination with other specialists.   This is one of the areas in which many see the value of adding life coaches or clinical case managers to assist patients outside of the exam rooms and provide a support system that continuously stays in touch and provides patients with feedback.

There are clearly some real challenges that we face when it comes to effectively staying in touch and communicating with health providers. Unfortunately, though smart phones hold the potential of enabling improved communication, and would help patients and caregivers communicate near real time, there is still gap. Physicians are required to review their patient’s chart and active medication in order for them to be able to effectively respond to a patient’s requests. This means that it would be far more complicated to expect physicians to respond and communicate with patients and provide them with medical advice via text without prior review of that patient’s clinical information.

But if we begin to think of what a platform such as Facebook provides (photos, likes, dislikes, status, historical data, and other individual information), a health care flavored Facebook with patients, where primary care physicians and specialists can collaborate and communicate can possibly unlock the door that would enable a physician and caregiver to know more about their patients. It would also give patients a better understanding of their condition and allow them to take an active role in their care.

A platform such as the one listed above would also provide some of the online retailers and health organizations authorization to access the patient’s diagnosis (similar to how Facebook authorizes outside applications to access basic info of the profile). Sites such as webMD and other online resources can present the site visitors who may suffer from diabetes or specific allergies with patient education as well as ads that may be related to the results of some of the new drugs.

As patients, we will continuously seek to understand our conditions and manage any symptoms that maybe associated with our condition. And in many cases we want to get the personalized care from the caregivers without having to schedule an appointment for a later time. Online platforms such as Facebook and others will be the vehicle in which many of the collaborations and sharing of information will happen.

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