I just came across an interesting article about how Japan considers using social networks in disaster situations.
Emergency services are embracing technology as new ways to investigate, send alerts and receivereports of crises. And now, the Japanese are looking at social networks to support communication in disaster scenarios, especially when traditional services fail. The local Fire and Disaster Management Agency put together a panel discussion on just that topic, with representatives attending from the likes of Twitter, Yahoo, Mixi and NHN Japan, as well as various government and emergency bodies.
How could it happen? I believe it happened because Japanese authorities accepted the fact that the majority of Japanese people are using social networking sites and other social media tools. I’m wondering when this acceptance would happen in the minds of health authorities dealing with the fact that a lot of patients use online services in their health management and many doctors are getting on the social media train as well as they understand how it can save them time and efforts.
By the time authorities realize the importance of adding social media to the arsenal of communication tools in medicine, we will have our own solutions and this is not going to facilitate the transition.
Solution? The sooner it happens, the better for the stakeholders of healthcare.