How can physicians most effectively use social media to advance their careers, establish thought leadership and engage patients . . . all while steering clear of HIPAA violations and personal privacy issues?
To answer that loaded question, Albert Einstein College of Medicine turned to two seasoned social media professionals and physicians—pathologist Kent Bottles, M.D., and internist Katherine Chretien, M.D. At a professional development seminar for Einstein faculty members and those connected with our seven clinical affiliates, they discussed best practices and notable cautions.
Before a spillover crowd of 102 Einstein faculty members, Drs. Bottles and Chretien examined what could go right—and wrong—when physicians and other medical professionals engage strangers, patients and each other online.
Dr. Bottles—a fixture on Twitter who goes by the handle @kentbottles—frequently speaks and writes about social media. He told the audience that what he finds most useful about social media is the ability to tap the knowledge of others to help him research, think and write. He explained with delight how he used crowdsourcing to prepare his Einstein presentation—sending out an “SOS” to his 6,000+ highly informed Twitter followers. Within hours he had more than 30 replies with advice, resources and guidance. All this from a man who is a seasoned social media pro. His takeaway: no matter how bright you are, you’re always better informed by reaching out for help. While he cautioned against falling for social media “hype,” he explained that doctors should become familiar with social media because of these resources’ ability to engage, inform and galvanize.