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Posts from the ‘Community Site’ Category

Social Media in Clinical Practice: Chapter 4, Community Sites: Facebook, Google+ and Medical Social Networks

When I realized Springer made the individual chapters of my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, available, I thought it would be useful for future readers to get some insights about each chapter one by one.

Here is the short summary of what you can read about and an excerpt of the fourth chapter, Community Sites: Facebook, Google+ and Medical Social Networks:

Practicing medicine is teamwork. While 86 % of medical professionals use the Internet to access health information, 92 % of them access it from their office [1]; and 71 % of them use community sites [2]. One of the main reasons for using a community sites is that the person with the right answer for our question is not always present in the clinical setting therefore turning to the online world is a fast and potentially accurate alternative.

Topics covered:

  • Practicing medicine is teamwork
  • Potential advantages and disadvantages of using community sites in medicine
  • Differences between medical and non-medical community sites
  • Non-medical Community Sites: Using Facebook as a Medical Professional
  • Privacy settings of posts published on Facebook
  • What if a Patient Sends a Friendship Request to His/Her Doctor on Facebook?
  • Using Google+ for Medical Purposes
  • Creating a Google+ community
  • Using LinkedIn for Maintaining Professional Relationships
  • Using Groups on Friendfeed for Archived Communication
  • Medical Community Sites


Chapters that have already been covered:

Introducing Smart Patients

Roni Zeiger, ex-leader of Google Health, and Gilles Friedman, founder of ACOR, teamed up to create Smart Patients and giving a chance to cancer patients to take matters into their own hands.

Smart Patients is an online community where cancer patients and caregivers learn from each other about treatments, clinical trials, the latest science, and how it all fits into the context of their experience.

Figure 1: The Flickr of Healthcare Professionals

There are more and more ways for crowdsourcing clinical questions, and the newest addition to the family of web tools and services is Figure 1, a photo sharing site for healthcare professionals. Registered physicians can share images, learn from others and bookmark useful cases.

I’m not sure this is what the medical community requires right now, but I’m always curious about further developments.

According to the co-founder, Joshua Landy, MD:

“I developed Figure 1 because I wanted a safe way to share medical images with the medical community, while protecting patients’ privacy.”


CureTogether acquired by 23andMe: An Obvious Step

I’ve written about several times (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) since 2008 and it was quite an obvious step that 23andMe, the Google sponsored genomic company acquired them this week. It was obvious because Curetogether has a pro-active community while 23andMe wants to connect genomic changes to different phenotypes or even lifestyles. What About Microsoft’s New Community Site?

It seems we are having more and more community sites these days. Google+ (which can be quite useful in healthcare anyway), then Pinterest and now, the community site of Microsoft. I liked the name (even if they had to register a domain name of Chile for that), but I’m wondering whether it could be used in medical communication at all.

Now it looks like a playground for the search engine, but nothing more. According to Technorati:

Microsoft’s, pronounced “Social” is a product of Microsoft’s research lab Fuselabs. The site offers enhanced features such as Explore, Feed, Post, Video Parties and the ability to share any web content.

It looks like Microsoft has indeed created its own social network to compete with the likes of Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. The timing of the launch is perfect, since Microsoft silently launched two days after Facebook became a public company.

Do you think it has a momentum in the healthcare space?

From Labguru to Medify: New Services Around

I’ve recently found some new and interesting services. Here they are:

Labguru: Plan experiments, track progress, get results. It’s time to make health care social.

Medify: “Our goal is simple: to help you and your family more easily navigate, stay current, and manage the often complex process of finding answers, while empowering you to get help from those you trust most.”

Find The Best: Data driven comparisons of many healthcare-related devices and services such as electronic medical records.


What about HealthTap?

I guess you have heard about HealthTap, I even saw Ron Gutman’s talk at Stanford a few months ago. I’ve never thought that letting patients ask questions and letting physicians answer these questions without providing clear credentials, without knowing or seeing the patient in person is a good idea. To be clear, I think it’s a very dangerous idea, because people will probably use the service and while this Q&A approach would work in all areas, medicine is an exception. Practicing medicine happens in person, through real doctor visits, or even when online communication between doctor and patient is encouraged, a first real meeting is required (remember the model of Jay Parkinson,MD?).

I just found a great article covering this issue. An excerpt:

[U]sers post questions and doctors post brief answers. The service is free, and the doctors aren’t paid. Instead, they engage in gamelike competitions, earning points and climbing numbered levels. They can also receive nonmonetary awards — many of them whimsically named, like the “It’s Not Brain Surgery” prize, earned for answering 21 questions at the site.

So far, so good. But there’s more. The professional credentials of the physician answering your question, such as a board-certified specialty, are not available on the site. Instead, you get a crowdsourced “reputation level” built up by accumulating HealthTap awards, by  clicks of approval from other doctors and by other measurable activities at the site.

The advice itself is limited to 400 characters, a length the Times worries is “hardly well-suited for providing nuanced answers to some medical questions.”

I would love to hear what you think!

Enormous Chinese Medical Community: Which pharma company can succeed in China?

More than a year ago, I presented in details, a Chinese medical community site that has over 1.5 million registered users. After that entry, Stanley Li (Li Tian Tian), the founder of, gave me an interview about his idea and the service. Stanley will also attend the upcoming event of the year, Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris. recently conducted a large-scale, online survey of physicians (with 2218 physicians participating) to assess their recognition of the academic marketing approaches implemented by major international pharmaceutical companies. See the results below. An excerpt from the announcement:

International pharmaceutical companies have led the revolution in marketing models and tools. Since the entry of major international pharmaceutical companies into China, the academic style of marketing has gained rapid acceptance throughout the country. However, this “exotic” style of marketing needs to be adjusted to reflect both the unique culture and medical practice approach favored by Chinese physicians. Not all pharmaceutical companies are capable of succeeding at this. Physician perception of seemingly identical “academic marketing” strategies varies significantly. recently conducted a large-scale, online survey of physicians to assess their recognition of the academic marketing approaches implemented by major international pharmaceutical companies.

Click on the image for a much larger version.

Talkswell, Whichdoc and Peer Reviewing the Internet

A few websites I’ve recently come across.


Using your social network, WhichDoc brings together doctor referrals from people you actually know and trust — your friends. The more friends you have using WhichDoc the more referrals you’ll have to help you make these tough choices. Three simple steps create a highly customized list of physicians who matched the criteria you’ve set.


Everyone should be a part of the health and wellness conversation, but not everyone has access to a platform that helps them share their wisdom or learn from others. Until now.

A new site,, aims to be a peer-review system for the Internet. It will be a distributed, open-source platform for the collaborative evaluation of information and will allow us to parse and critique words across the internet at the sentence-level through community peer-review. (Hat tip: Sciencebase)

Mayo Connect: That’s how you launch an online community site

As a member of the external advisory board of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media I was happy to see the Mayo Connect community site from the first moments and I knew it was something special. Now The Online Community Guide posted a case study about this and had the same feelings:

It’s a good community concept. The Mayo Clinic has a clear target audience who have a motivation to interact with each other. There is plenty of room for improvement, however. If they were a client, here is what we would recommend:

1) Optimize the journey

2) Confirmation e-mail

3) Platform design

4) Discussion area

5) Social aspects.

Mayo Connect is one of the better online communities launched in recent months. It has a great concept and a good chance of success. Like most communities, however, it leaves plenty of room for both technical and social improvements.


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