What happened in the last 10 years?
Take just the briefest moment to think about how social media has completely changed the way we interact with one another on a daily basis.
If you find it hard to comprehend, perhaps consider the typical communication tasks of a person in a similar occupation to you, say 10 years ago. It may be that your current occupation did not even exist at that time. Twitter certainly did not exist. Facebook had only just been launched. YouTube was only a ‘twinkle in the eye.’ Gmail and Google maps had been recently released to the world yet were far from well known.
Nonetheless we all quickly saw the benefits of technology such as the Google search engine, perhaps had some photos we thought were worth sharing on Flickr, or may have been curious to explore social networking platforms such as Facebook to find school friends.
Social media in clinical practice
Despite this, I cannot honestly say that I was able to foresee the practical application of these social networks and digital tools in the professional lives of doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, and other health care practitioners.
Did you know that there are now more than 50 peer-networking communities for healthcare professionals online?
Healthcare professionals have also embraced public social media channels for medical knowledge sharing, using platforms including Twitter, slideshare, YouTube and others.
Indeed in early 2015, we even saw a remarkable heart transplant operation broadcast in real-time via social media. Communication among healthcare professionals has changed dramatically!
Over the past decade, the early adopters within the medical profession have explored and tested meaningful ways of bringing such social media tools into clinical practice. More importantly, those who found purposeful applications of social media are now also recognizing that they can pass on this best practice to help increase the effective uptake of communication that may ultimately help health care delivery.
Celebrating and learning from the pioneers and mentors
Therefore, for the benefit of the hcpdols.com community, I wanted to celebrate a few of the individuals that I have found to be advancing the cause of social media in clinical practice.
What follows are just ten of the exemplary digital opinion leaders (DOLs) creating social media training resources that have been highly shared by other healthcare professionals in the past year. Do you agree with my selection? Please add your suggestions to this list, and I invite you to further enhance this resource through your own opinions and experience.
In any case, if you are simply seeking to understand how social media is relevant to the healthcare professional, you can do little better than learning from these fine examples: