Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Does your doctor Twitter?

Does your doctor use Twitter? Does he/she even know what Twitter is? American Medical News has a story titled, "Twitter: What's the use? Early physician adopters say the social media site can help you promote your practice and communicate with colleagues." The story quotes a "Dr. Kim" but that's not me - it's Peter Beck Kim, MD (@doccottle), a family physician in Costa Mesa, Calif. I'm @DrJosephKim on Twitter.

Can Twitter actually promote your medical practice? How many doctors are using Twitter to communicate with their patients and to market their website? Twitter is a very powerful social media tool because it provides instant results. You can't say that about most blogs. The American Medical News story quotes data that the Nielsen Co. released in April which found that only about 40% of users were active a month after creating an account. Physicians are busy enough that most don't want to bother with social media unless some type of monetary incentive is provided (like market research surveys).

Among physicians, you have the early adopters who love technology and they are actively engaged in Web 2.0 technologies (ranging from blogs, RSS feeds, forums, wikis, and social networking tools like Twitter). If you're looking for such early adopters, look on Sermo and on Medpedia. That's where you're likely to find people who even understand the basics of social networking. Of course, you'll also find many physicians who work in the business side of healthcare - consulting, pharma, managed care, medical communications, and so on. These individuals appreciate the importance of networking for both personal and professional purposes.

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