Improving doctor-patient communication via social media and lower costs

May 14, 2012

Hospital social media accounts (credit: Peter D. DeVries/International Journal of Electronic Finance)

A new social media platform geared towards healthcare might enable patients to share information with other patients and gain knowledge — and enable physicians to share and learn from their peers more readily, says a study in the International Journal of Electronic Finance.

The meshing of these two threads could also make improve doctor-patient communication, and healthcare industry as a whole,by reducing inefficiencies and making healthcare provision and advice more immediate and engaging at lower cost.

Peter DeVries of the Department of Finance, Accounting, and CIS, at the University of Houston – Downtown, suggests that from the perspective of healthcare providers social media might also open up new revenue streams that could bolster an industry currently in economic turmoil.

DeVries says there is likely to be a 124,000 shortfall of full-time physicians in the USA by 2025, while there will be a need for almost 140,000 family physicians by 2020 if Americans are to have adequate access to primary healthcare.

The projected shortage of physicians demands innovation in the healthcare industry, says DeVries. “Doctors and hospitals must find ways to provide healthcare in more productive and efficient ways,” he adds. “If a growing number of patients are finding themselves as users of Web 2.0, then Web 2.0 might be the answer to alleviate the forecasted overcrowding.”

Ref.: Peter D. DeVries, Electronic social media in the healthcare industry, International Journal of Electronic Finance, 2012, DOI: 10.1504/IJEF.2012.046593