Updated: Jan 8, 2020
We were taught bedside manners at medical school and its all about effective communication. Today, our patients spend more time researching their condition and treatment options on social media than they spend in our office.
We speak on different channels
It is estimated that in the United States, 67% of all Internet users utilize social media(1), and searching for online health information has become one of the most popular online activities(2).
Today doctors communicate with healthcare stakeholders on pubmed, medical journal editorials, conferences. Our patients are rarely there. They are on Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok(3). They struggle to find answers in a sea of anecdotal patient experiences, healthcare promotions, ambiguous science and fake medical news.
It is our responsibility to guide them, comfort them and assure them that we do the best medical science offers. Your patients will be thrilled to see their own treating doctor has a social media voice. If bedside manners are about communication, the bedside space has now been extended to social media and we ought to be there.
Brenner J. Pew Internet: Social Networking, http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/March/Pew-Internet-Social-Networking-full-detail.aspx
Eckler P, Worsowicz G, and Rayburn JW. Social media and health care: An overview. PM & R: the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation 2010; 2(11): 1046–1050
Neil Mehta, Amar Gupta, Michael Nissan. All I Have Learned, I Have Learned from Google: Why Today's Facial Rejuvenation Patients are Prone to Misinformation, and the Steps We can take to Contend with Unreliable Information Facial plast Surg 2019; 35(04): 387-392, DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1693033