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Top Medical Social Media Stories of 2011: Month by Month

2011 was a very intense and exciting year regarding the developments and new insights of the relationship between medicine/healthcare and social media. Here are my favourite stories from 2011 selected and featured month by month.


I had the honour to be included in the Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media; I wrote about how a Samsung Galaxy Tab changed totally my online activities, how Google Translate can be used in medicine and featured HealCam, a medical alternative of ChatRoulette.


Facebook diagnosis by surgeon saved a friend; there was a lively discussion whether pharma companies can edit Wikipedia entries about their own products, it turned out Wikipedia can be a key tool for global public health promotion; and Scienceroll won the Best Medical Technology/Informatics Blog category for the third time in a row in the Medgadget’s Weblog Awards.


The new semester of the Internet in Medicine social media university course was launched, pregnant women could text their due date for free weekly advice during pregnancy on Push, Baby Push;  Webicina was featured by the Kairos Society on Wall Street,  UCSF Medical Center installed a robotic pharmacy in order to remove medication errors from the system; and here is my video message for Stanford about the importance of digital literacy in medical education.


Jay Parkinson summarized his story of being the first online doc, the Webicina iPhone app won the 2011 Medical App Awards; Al Jazeera called me Dr. Twitter after I described how Twitter can be used for medical crowdsourcing, and in the fight against AIDS a time lapse video of a woman with HIV/AIDS was published.


Blogger announced own death after battle with cancer which shocked people, then a woman managed to find a kidney donor through Twitter, The Social Life of Health Information Pew Internet report was released, and top doctors described how a medical professional should start using social media.


I co-authored a medical textbook about medical communication in social media; Google Health was announced to be closed, a cancer patient who blogged about his hospital treatment was threatened with legal action by an NHS trust; Doctors 2.0 and You was the event of the year; and here are some disasters in social media and what we should learn from them.


ePatient Dave rocked TED; Mayo Clinic launched an online community in a perfect way, Pfizer’s Facebook page got hacked and they reacted badly, I listed the reasons why I like Google+ even in medicine; mobile apps got regulated by the FDA; and it turned out iPhones can be used for obtaining ECG.


I published a story about how Twitter can be used to predict epidemics; even waiting rooms can be redesigned to improve healthcare; I described why I’m happy that patients use the web; started managing the social media presence of a huge medical portal; I stated what you write only is forever; and pharma had hard days because of comments on Facebook.


Using hashtags is crucial in medical communication on Twitter;  I talked about the future of health 2.0 in Europe; organized a virtual medical consultation in the virtual world on World Heart Day; this is how creativity can be used in healthcare; and I presented the best apps of a physician at the Doctors 2.0 and You conference.


Nobel winner died days before award announced; I shared a social media love story about a bone marrow donor; an app let us run figures on maps; Google+ was used for case presentations; and Mayo Clinic launched the Know Your Numbers campaign.


I published the 7 Features of the New Generation of Physicians; my open access success story; a summary about the Games for Health conference; hardcore campaigns about men’s health; and revealed why the most viewed medical video on Youtube got millions of hits.


Winners of the Webicina social media story contest were announced; WHO featured Webicina; the launch of a global medial social media course was announced; I described my time management tools and tips in medicine; the open access set of social media guidelines for and about pharma was published; and finally found the cutest story of 2011, parents got insulin-pump tattoos to support diabetic child.

I’m going to post my predictions for 2012 tomorrow and I hope you will stay with next year as well!

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carolyn Thomas #

    Great list, Dr. M! When I saw the screen shot of cardiologist Dr. Sharonne Hayes here (running on the treadmill in October’s “Know Your Numbers” parody), I was hoping you’d add another Mayo event that was also launched through social media.

    It all began when two survivors of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (a rare, usually fatal, cardiac diagnosis that usually affects young, healthy women with few if any risk factors) “met” online in’s ‘WomenHeart’ patient support community. At first, Katherine Leon and Laura Haywood-Cory were just two strangers, both desperate to learn more about their shared condition from other survivors of SCAD – a condition so rare and so deadly that most physicians won’t encounter a single survivor during their careers.

    They had no idea they’d one day be meeting in person when both of them were accepted to attend the annual ‘WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women With Heart Disease’ at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. While at Mayo, Dr. Sharonne Hayes was asked by Katherine Leon what kind of SCAD research the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic was doing. “Well, nothing. Yet!” was Dr. Hayes’ reply.

    A big factor in their ultimately successful pitch to convince her to embrace their research idea was the fact that they already had a membership of 80+ other SCAD survivors from their online support group to form a solid starter base of participants for a future research study.

    Dr. Hayes at Mayo has now launched two new studies on this deadly condition – and it all started on social media.

    More on this (including excerpts from the Wall Street Journal coverage of this amazing story in September) at “All The SCAD Ladies, Put Your Hands Up!” at

    Happy New Year to you!
    Carolyn Thomas

    December 31, 2011
  2. Sven #

    Great summary Berci, I believe 2012 is going to be a vintage year for medical social media ;-)
    Thanks in part to great posts like this!

    January 5, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Healthcare Social Media Week in Review: December 31, 2011
  2. Should I really be doing this? « TheLastGeneralCardiologist
  3. [Report] Mobile Social and Fun Games for Health – Summary with Links to Examples of Games « Health and Medical News and Resources
  4. Some Of The Best 2011 Pharma Blogs: Marketing – Social Media – ePatients | AdvanceMarketWoRx
  5. Top Medical Social Media Stories of 2012: Month by Month « ScienceRoll

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