The Other Socialized Medicine

November 10, 2015  |  Category: Physicians

A report published last week suggested that many patients would be willing to give their doctors access to their social media accounts in the hope that some of the content may give physicians more insight into what makes patients sick.

Hold the emoji. Patients may be willing, but are doctors really interested?

Frankly it’s hard to believe that providers would find it beneficial to have access to social media information as part of the patient’s electronic health record.  We hear over and over that “interoperability” initiatives have not yet yielded improvements to actual patient care.  For example, most providers have found Continuity of Care Documents (CCD) delivered across EHR systems to be inefficient and ineffective. Indeed CCDs often reduce productivity because the provider must now scroll through screens of CCD-based data in hopes of gleaning something relevant to the patient’s current condition and possible course of treatment.  Social media content feels like it falls into the same category, only more so; it’s stuff that providers do not have the time nor desire to peruse as part of their patient care activities.

There may well come a day when value can be mined from health information exchange (HIE) and social media content – once systems are able to apply natural language processing to the data and proactively harvest truly meaningful information from these sources to serve up to the provider.

Until then, patients would be well advised to “friend” their physician only if they’re friends.

Cathy Donohue
Vice President, Product Management & QA
Cathy has more than 15 years of experience managing healthcare technology products and projects for healthcare providers and technology vendors. Prior to PatientKeeper, she held product leadership and management roles at AMICAS Inc. (now Merge Healthcare), HealthGate Data Corp., Partners Healthcare, and HealthCare Microsystems.