Social Media Engagement: What is the motivation?

Yesterday, I was invited to talk about social media and healthcare/medicine for a very diverse group of students (economics, marketing and political science) and they had great questions from different perspectives. Once they asked me how we could motivate doctors to be a bit more web-savvy.

First I told them I think doctors don’t have to become web-savvy, but they should know about internet-related issues as their patients will have more and more questions about this area.

Second, patients have a huge motivation behind using social media and internet itself. This motivation is the condition they have to cope with which means they need information and in many cases the easiest solution is to turn to the internet.

For doctors, the motivation is not that clear for everyone, but I’m pretty certain the growing number of e-patients will be the real motivation for them. When a GP has 40 patients a day and 30 of them have internet related questions, well, that will probably persuade them to at least know about this issues.

Then I just came across this article: Docs slow to engage patients with IT

A new study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions indicates physicians are not using IT broadly to engage patients. No more than 20 percent of doctors are providing online scheduling or test results for their patients and just 6 percent are using social media to communicate with them, according to Deloitte.

And also: Giving technology tips to older doctors should be done delicately

Andrew Ritcheson, PhD, is a senior program manager and consulting psychologist for Dynamic Research Corp., a business consulting group that has provided support to both the Defense Dept. and the Dept of Veterans Affairs in implementing a range of health care initiatives. He said that although many physicians are open to receiving help from younger colleagues, there is a fine line between helping and insulting. There are ways to keep everyone’s focus on a goal of improved care, rather than worrying about if someone crossed that line, Ritcheson said. Everyone must know they can reach that goal as a team, with each member contributing his or her own strengths and acknowledging that each has something to learn from the other.