Getting social: How to engage patients through Twitter and Facebook

Social media Web sites such as Twitter and Facebook are popular worldwide. Thanks to mobile phone applications, or “apps,” users access these sites throughout the day to share updates about their lives with their friends, family, and other contacts.

Aniruddha Malpani, MD “These are great new channels that allow doctors to communicate with patients. They also allow doctors to learn what their patients want. After all, doctor-patient communication is a two-way street.”
-Aniruddha Malpani, MD, medical director of Malpani Infertility Clinic in Mumbai, India, and author of a physician and patient education blog

If you’re not familiar with these sites, Facebook allows members to set up a personal page where they can share information about themselves and their interests. Members can post text and photo updates about daily activities, share opinions, and post interesting articles and videos. These posts appear on a member’s Facebook “Wall,” which creates a running “Timeline” of updates and events.

Friends, family and colleagues can view a member’s Wall by being accepted as “Friends.” Once an account is established, members can limit the amount of information shared with the public with the site’s privacy settings. For example,...

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