Danny Lieberman frames the question of healthcare and social in a different way – and there might even be a delicious cake recipe in the post that is not too fattening!

There is a tremendous swell of interest in using social media for healthcare. Just look at all the blogs, tweets and “thought leadership” reports from consultants.

One is almost  tempted to think that social media is a panacea for everything from fitness awareness  to Parkinsons support groups to  mindfulness training and physician burnout.

But thats nonsense.

Social media shines as a medium for fashion, advertising and entertainment.

And why pray tell, should you a busy physician and graduate of a first-class medical school should be doing fashion, advertising and entertainment when your core business is medicine?

Let’s frame the “How to get ROI from social media” problem like this:

  1. Clearly recognize the stated/presented problem (Beat physician burnout)
  2. Formulate a clear interpretation (If I could spend more time with people I love and still be a good doctor, that would be a good thing)
  3. Don’t hold to a preconceived solution (I should use social media because everyone is doing it)
  4. Use your own common-sense about the problem (I have a nickel in my pocket, why should I spend it on Twitter?)
  5. Consider views of others (other physicians, not just the social media marketing and management consultants)
  6. Formulate the problem in solution free terms (How can I achieve easier and faster decision making and spend less time fighting fires with patients)
  7. State the criteria a good solution should meet (Cheap, productive, intuitive and easy to use)
  8. Determine if these criteria are endorsed by your stakeholders (Can your patients use the solution with no special training?)

When we reframe the problem as “How can I use modern digital tools to spend more time with people I love and still be a good doctor”? we can see that the solution is not a tool that soaks up even more of your time.

The solution must enable you to connect with your patients  easier and faster.

I submit that the solution is to take the good stuff from social media: the highly effective communications tools and leave the entertainment, fashion and marketing to someone else.

That leaves us with a model of  private social networking for healthcare that provides  fast and easy connectivity with your patients.

OK, I buy that private social networking for healthcare is cool, but What Is In It For Me?

  • Private social networking for healthcare offers private messaging between doctor and patient without the privacy exposure and time consuming distraction and different interfaces of email and Facebook. This saves time
  • Private content sharing makes it fast and easy to distribute guidance directly and discreetly to patient and care givers. This also saves time
  • Profile status updates make it easy for your patients and caregivers to update you with relevant data on a timeline such as: blood pressure, pulse, dizziness, general feeling, appetite, clarity of speech.
  • Patient-mediated data before the office visit makes it easier and faster for you to make decisions and helps you improve patient outcomes.

There is ROI in this model because it provides benefits on the supply side (you – the doctor) and on the demand side (your patients/caregivers).

Its good for you – the physician

  • You save time collecting and guessing at data since you can use data received directly from patient in-between office visits. Better data means easier and faster decisions.
  • Better data helps achieve earlier and more consistent diagnosis and reduce the cost of taking the wrong path of treatment.
  • Easier and faster decisions means that you can treat more patients without sacrificing quality of care and responsiveness.

Its good for your patients

  • Helps them better understand their condition and your plan.
  • Better understanding means better execution
  • Better execution increases their confidence in you

So you can have your cake and eat it too – save time, spend more time with people you love and be a better doctor for your patients.

And that my friend is killer ROI



Danny Lieberman is the authority in applying threat analysis to Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in healthcare. He is a sought-after speaker, prolific blogger on healthcare technology, and advisor on software security and privacy compliance issues to healthcare and medical device vendors. He is passionate about Pathcare: the private social network for a doctor and her patients. Danny is a solid-state physicist by training, professional programmer by vocation and avid amateur saxophonist and biker.

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