I recently completed a discussion paper on Consumer eHealth for a client. In my research, I found that the rapid adoption of social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter by the general public has not gone unnoticed by healthcare organizations and providers. Ed Bennett, a hospital web manager, tracks U.S. hospital use of social networking tools. According to Mr. Bennett’s blog, 473 U.S. hospitals are currently using YouTube, Facebook, twitter, or a blog (up from 410 when I completed the report six weeks ago).
An article in the Telemedicine and e-Health Journal listed offers some thoughts on how Twitter might be employed by healthcare organizations:
- Disaster alerting and response
- Diabetes management (blood glucose tracking)
- Drug safety alerts from the Food and Drug Administration
- Biomedical device data capture and reporting
- Shift-bidding for nurses and other healthcare professionals
- Diagnostic brainstorming
- Rare diseases tracking and resource connection
- Providing smoking cessation assistance
- Broadcasting infant care tips to new parents
- Post-discharge patient consultations and follow-up care
I noticed this morning that the Ontario Hospital Association is hosting a workshop on social media entitled “Social Media Demystified: Best Practices and Setting Strategy with Confidence” on 21 January 2010. Clearly there is interest in the Ontario health sector and I look forward to seeing how Ontario healthcare organizations embrace social media.
 “Twittering Healthcare: Social Media and Medicine”, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, Vol 15, No. 6, July/August 2009,