Monday, August 31, 2009

Tweet this: patient consultations?

Can – and should – doctors, hospitals, and medical institutions use Twitter for more than networking with others in the field?

It seems many docs on Twitter are keeping their 140-character updates to interesting links, day-to-day minutia, and thoughts completely unrelated to medicine. Others have said it helps build community among physicians or even help bring in new patients.

But when it comes to Twitter and medicine, the micro-blogging tool may have more uses. How about clinical data and alerts?
Read more

Now some doctors, hospitals, and health agencies are disseminating medical data via tweet, according to a USA Today story that details a report in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.

The journal lists 10 medical uses for Twitter:

1. Disaster alerting and response
2. Diabetes management (blood glucose tracking)
3. Drug safety alerts from the Food and Drug Administration
4. Biomedical device data capture and reporting
5. Shift-bidding for nurses and other healthcare professionals
6. Diagnostic brainstorming
7. Rare diseases tracking and resource connection
8. Providing smoking cessation assistance
9. Broadcasting infant care tips to new parents
10. Post-discharge patient consultations and follow-up care

Do you think some of these medical uses are possible? Would you be willing to communicate such information to staff and patients via Twitter? Any risks here?

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