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to match up the right tool, whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, a professional network like iMedExhange, or something else.
Clearly, there’s a lot of work to do. Of the 2,000 or so physicians in the network, I wondered how many doctors are really buying into the potential of social media. Right now, it might be about 100, Lewis says.
The key barrier there is time, or a lack of it. But Lewis says there are plenty of people who are curious to learn more. Many doctors have personal Facebook accounts for their families and friends, and have had to think about what to do when a patient tries to “friend” them.
With an estimated 500 million people on Facebook, many of them Baby Boomers with health issues, that sort of trend isn’t going away. How much of the curiosity among doctors will translate into commitment and consistency? And how much will it change the always delicate relationship between doctor and patient?
That’s the sort of question that nobody can really answer just yet.
“Doctors want to talk to their patients, but don’t want to diagnose somebody on Facebook, just like they wouldn’t diagnose somebody by e-mail,” Lewis says. “They need to think about how they present themselves, and how they set their limits.” But she adds: “Our goal is to become a very social hospital.”
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