What do patients want from social media? And what should they want?

HealthcareIT News summarizes six points from a talk by Jessie Gruman, president of the Center of Advancing Health. Gruman’s had cancer four times, so has ample personal expertise on the topic.

I agree with many but not all of her points, and would add one or two more. Her six objectives are:

  1. To find information quickly –specific answers on specific topics
  2. To have information streamlined –to make it easy to find and understand
  3. A clear understanding of the aging population –such as that not all seniors have adult children who can help them with social media
  4. To be engaged –since most patients don’t really keep up to date
  5. To help with the practical parts of care –such as payment and paperwork
  6. To help with the healing process –to help patients take care of themselves

One minor quibble: it seems to me all these points could be made about the Internet in general and are not very specific to social media. With that said, I’d like to see more of the following:

  • Online communications between doctors and patients
  • Real-time responses to queries
  • Suggestions of what questions to ask next, not just the ability to find answers to questions I already have
  • An opportunity to find people in similar circumstances
  • “Prosumer” resources that go beyond the easy-to-read to delve into difficult topics where questions are ambiguous
  • Integration with the medical record, giving the patient control over how much information to release and to whom
May 29, 2012

One thought on “What do patients want from social media? And what should they want?”

  1. I think the whole point of having an online health community is to connect with people who are going through similar issues.

    It would be great to have an online community, maybe hosted by a Dr. or a hospital were people discuss what worked for them and as you said discuss what questions they should be asking.

    It would make payments and “paperwork” much easier if the whole system were cloud based.

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