What is a Doctor 2.0?

Bryan Vartabedian asked this question early on and painted a picture of a highly connected doctor, able to consult quickly and easily with colleagues around the world using a Yammer-style network, combined with a patient platform to help answer questions online and save on consultation time.

There was a fascinating panel of speakers* comprised of doctors from Spain, the US and Greece who debated the pros and cons of online patient communities and the fact that many of the best communities are hidden. They don’t rank highly on Google and rarely use social networks – examples include breast cancer forums and communities for MS patients.

Should these communities continue as they are, which risks excluding other patients who might be benefit? The panel was split on this, with one half claiming that, based on their conversations with patients, the appeal of these communities is that they are not high profile.

I was particularly fascinated to hear from @pharmaguy about corporate social media policies, particularly relating to pharma companies. Of course, the same issues apply to any large organisations.

Some members of the audience continued to feel that social media is excluded from the rules and regulations of health and drug promotion, which, to be honest, was quite a shock. The vast majority of the participants in this workshop agreed that obviously there needs to be policies in place, but that these documents need to be kept as simple as possible.
Naturally I plugged the Department of Health participation guidelines and code of conduct for social media ; )

Social media policies doesn’t sound that interesting, but I think the discussions yesterday support the point I want to make today: that until health organisations around the world get these policies and understanding right, we can’t hope to inspire and motivate doctors to use social media.

Keep following the updates today using the hashtag #doctors20

*catching names and job titles was very tricky yesterday. I’ll add details as and when I confirm them.