My post Doctors Can Improve Interaction With Patients Through Social Media explains why patients are looking online for information and why doctors should embrace Social Media. Patients should not be demanding with doctors to do tests basis their knowledge gained from online sources and social media. Doctors should not discourage patients not to get empowered by way of learning more about their ailments. Doctors should think positive about it and also educate patients on the same. For doctors, the best way to do that is to connect with patients through Social Media, provide information and keep them engaged.

Tom Ferguson, MD, coined the term “e-patients” to describe individuals who are equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged in their health and health care decisions. He envisioned health care as an equal partnership between e-patients and health professionals and systems that support them.

Unfortunately Tom Ferguson is not with us today but he lives here.

Wikipedia has an interesting definition on e-patients : read here

What do you mean, “e-patient”? is a good read on this.

While e-patients can be equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged, What they should not do is to consider themselves an EXPERT(caps intended). Why so? Read this from a Doctor here : “Are e-patients expert in their own diseases?”. It is true verbatim. To quote, how the e-patient movement should evolve,

The success of the e-Patient movement will depend on partnering with doctors, preferably e-Doctors, and developing systems around technology that benefit both parties and enhance medical care.

My opinion in my last post and in this post subscribes to the above quote. While e-patients are emerging, doctors should take the lead and involve themselves more through Social Media to achieve the objective of Healthier and Happier patients.

Tom’s whitepaper “e-patients : how they can help us heal healthcare” is here.  Read the Charles Safran quote in the 4th page. It simply describes how e-patients will lead to Healthier and Happier patients. For the e-patient phenomenon(or whatever we call them) to happen successfully, engagement through Social Media can play a very important role.

Let us be part of the online healthcare revolution. Stay tuned for more posts on Social Media and Healthcare. Read the posts in your Email Inbox easily.

Please feel free to post your comments or buzz me here for more discussions.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com
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