While visiting Dr. Justin Bartos, this year’s TAFP Physician of the Year, we convinced the North Richland Hills doc to join the family medicine revolution (#FMRevolution) and create a Twitter handle (@jbartos3). We are proud to say that our very own TAFP President, Troy Fiesinger, M.D., maintains his own blog (http://texasfamilydoc.wordpress.com) and is very active on Twitter (@TroyTxFamilyDoc). The Academy, of course, is also lively across multiple social media platforms including Twitter (@TXFamilyDocs), Facebook, and LinkedIn.
While it may seem as though I’m speaking in code, it’s actually just the language of the technologically advanced 21st century. Get used to these hashtags, handles, links, and profiles, because they are here for the long haul. But what can social media do for health care and doctors like yourself, you ask? Simply put, it makes things that you already do easier, digitally. In fact, Medscape reports that one in four physicians already uses social media on a daily basis.
Websites like the aforementioned ones allow you to network with other physicians, connect with patients, follow medical organizations, and stay up to date on just about any kind of news. The Medscape study also found that primary care physicians are usually motivated to use social media as a way to connect with peers and be influenced by them. The Academy uses social media to spread news to our members, keep in contact with similar organizations and people relevant to health care and the state of Texas, and network with like-minded people.
Choosing a site to join is more personal preference than anything. Twitter updates, called “tweets,” are limited to 140 characters, so must be quick and to the point, and are usually something like an article, video, or blog we think our “followers” will find interesting. Facebook posts allow for more text, so this is where we go into more detail on topics. Companies use Facebook to put a face to their brand, which is similar to how we use it as the Academy. LinkedIn is a more professional site, allowing users to join groups like ours to network with people in similar fields.
We would like to encourage our members to embrace new forms of communication, including these social media outlets. Just as technology has always changed the way we approach health care, so will social media. If you are already signed up with these sites and don't already, follow TAFP on Twitter here, Facebook here, and LinkedIn here. If you have questions about social media, want help setting up your own accounts, or would like to submit things for us to post on social media, email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to help!