Social media can seem like a daunting addition to a busy professional life, but for medical professionals, it also offers fantastic opportunities for collaboration, networking and learning. Here’s the case for why you should get involved in social media and how it can connect to your work.
Are you a researcher? If so, social media can help you share your work with new audiences, getting it in front of people who might otherwise have never seen it. In fact, there’s a whole site, ResearchGate, created specifically for scientists and researchers in health care to collaborate and promote their work. (Look out for more on ResearchGate in our next article.) Of course, on just about any network you’ll find fellow researchers you can connect with, and you can use social media to track the latest news. For instance, when there’s an industry event or a conference you can’t attend in person, you can follow along remotely through the profiles and hashtags of the event organizers and presenters.
Are you a clinician or medical associate? You can use social media to find and share tips on the latest treatment practices, new discoveries and emerging norms. In fact, 60 percent of doctors in one survey said that social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. Doximity is one of the top social sites for clinicians, with as many as 70% of US doctors using it. (We’ll have more on Doximity in our next article, too.) Social media is a great place to develop a crowdsourced picture of best practices and to get community support. You might also be able to discover networking events in your area.
And if you work with patients, know that most of them have come to expect that they’ll be able to learn about you and your practice online. Social media is a big part of that. As Hawkins et al. have noted in their research, if you Google your name or your practice’s name, you’ll likely find that third-party rating sites like healthgrades.com dominate the first page of results. (By the way, we’re hosting a webinar about reviewing and managing your Google results on May 16. Sign up here.) Active social media profiles can displace some of those results and help you take control of how you’re perceived online. One survey found that 60 percent of social media users are more likely to trust social media posts by doctors over any other group. Patients equipped with more knowledge about you and your work will feel more confident and secure under your care.
For health care professionals of all stripes, remember: Since all kinds of people are on social media, just about anyone can find a community there. And community matters! Research has proven over and over again that communities help people thrive. In a community, you’re sharing and gathering wisdom and insights from your peers and you’re making new connections in your profession. Ultimately, that helps you broaden your horizons, expand your empathy, and uncover new insights into your work.
Plus, providing your voice to social media helps you ensure that your friends, family and followers have access to trusted, science-based information. You can be the reliable source that makes complicated medical information accessible and guides the people in your life to make informed, empowered decisions about their health.
One more note on what’s coming in the future: AASLD is working with Higher Logic to create robust online communities for AASLD members. We’ll have more to announce about that as we get closer to The Liver Meeting® 2018. And remember, we also provide opportunities for members to collaborate when they join Special Interest Groups.
Social media is a valuable tool for all types of medical professionals, providing everything from new networking opportunities to the latest research news. In our next article, we’ll offer guidance on where to find health care professionals like yourself on social media, so you can start connecting with your community in a whole new way.
AASLD News will continue to feature articles designed to encourage AASLD members to become familiar with and engage in social media.
Learn more about AASLD’s Social Media Essentials Project and start socializing today.